This second book in the series picks up right where Pantomime left off. The back cover even spoils a big event that happens at the very end of the first book. But, as much as possible, I’ll try to keep this review spoiler-free. In Shadowplay, Micah and Drystan become apprentices to former magician Jasper Maske, along with a mysterious girl named Cyan who has her own secrets to hide.
I’m not sure why I didn’t love this book. It was good, and I liked the atmosphere and the worldbuilding, but instead of rushing through the book to find out what happened I kept getting distracted and reading other things instead. Part of it is because nothing much happens. Yes, there are some tense scenes, but it felt as if most of the time was spent inside the Kymri Theatre while the kids practised their magic tricks. Given that the film The Prestige is supposed to be one of the book’s sources of inspiration, I expected a few more twists and turns.
The characters are, again, the best part of the book. I liked Micah, and I liked that we got to find out more about Drystan, but Cyan quickly became a new favourite of mine. I think the best thing about her is that she’s not just a sidekick, she’s the protagonist of her own story. I have mixed feelings about the Damselfly and what was revealed about the past of Ellada, but I’m curious to find out more about them. It’s too bad that the book cut off abruptly just as things were getting interesting, but I’m definitely going to be on the lookout for the third book in the series.