Thursday 9 January 2014

Shadowplay Blog Tour: From The Circus Tent to the Magician’s Stage by Laura Lam

I absolutely LOVED Laura Lam's debut novel Pantomime when I read it last year (you can read my review here) so I'm thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for the sequel Shadowplay. If you've already read Pantomime you are going to enjoy Shadowplay even more, I'll be posting my full review later today but trust me this is a series you don't want to miss. I'm going to be handing over to Laura in a minute so she can talk about changing the setting for the second book but first let me give you a bit more information about Shadowplay. I've also included the cover and blurb for Pantomime just in case you've not read that book yet.

R. H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic is the greatest circus of Ellada. Nestled among the glowing blue Penglass —remnants of a mysterious civilisation long gone—are wonders beyond the wildest imagination. It’s a place where anything seems possible, where if you close your eyes you can believe that the magic and knowledge of the vanished Chimaera is still there. It’s a place where anyone can hide.

Iphigenia Laurus, or Gene, the daughter of a noble family, is uncomfortable in corsets and crinoline, and prefers climbing trees to debutante balls. Micah Grey, a runaway living on the streets, joins the circus as an aerialist’s apprentice and soon becomes the circus’s rising star.

But Gene and Micah have balancing acts of their own to perform, and a secret in their blood that could unlock the mysteries of Ellada.


The circus lies behind Micah Grey in dust and ashes.

He and the white clown, Drystan, take refuge with the once-great magician, Jasper Maske. When Maske agrees to teach them his trade, his embittered rival challenges them to a duel which could decide all of their fates. People also hunt both Micah and the person he was before the circus—the runaway daughter of a noble family. And Micah discovers there is magic and power in the world, far beyond the card tricks and illusions he's perfecting . . .

A tale of phantom wings, a clockwork hand, and the delicate unfurling of new love, Shadowplay continues Micah Grey’s extraordinary journey.

Micha Grey Series:

Visit Laura Lam's website for more information.

Laura Lam

Author Bio:
Laura Lam was raised near San Francisco, California, by two former Haight-Ashbury hippies. Both of them encouraged her to finger-paint to her heart’s desire, colour outside of the lines, and consider the library a second home. This led to an overabundance of daydreams.

She relocated to Scotland to be with her husband, whom she met on the internet when he insulted her taste in books. She almost blocked him but is glad she didn’t. At times she misses the sunshine.

Pantomime was released February 2013 through Strange Chemistry, the YA imprint of Angry Robot Books. The sequel, Shadowplay, will follow in January 2014.

Pantomime page:
Shadowplay page:
Twitter: @LR_Lam


From The Circus Tent to the Magician’s Stage – On Changing Settings
by Laura Lam

In retrospect, it was risky to change settings between one book and the next, but that’s what happened with this series. In Pantomime, most of the book is set in R.H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic, the most magical circus in Ellada – or so it claims to be. Rising from seedy beginnings, it’s become one of the biggest traveling circuses in the country. My main character, Micah Grey, joins the circus after eavesdropping on the performers and works his way up from the lowest rung of the ladder—basically cleaning up after the elephants and nearly having his hand chewed off by the big cats—to one of the circus’s rising stars. But, for reasons I won’t go into for then we go into spoiler territory, Micah Grey leaves the circus. The second book, Shadowplay, is set in the Kymri Theatre, a grand, dilapidated building which is home to one shamed magician unable to practice his craft: Jasper Maske.

Aenea & Micah on the trapeze
Image linked from Laura Lam's Pinterest page, CLICK HERE to see more of her circus pictures

Changing settings was tricky. In the theatre, there’s a much smaller cast of characters than all the secondary characters in the circus which brought the book alive and at times brought some much-needed comic relief. There’s not as much of a contrast between the stage performances and personas and life on the back lot. The aspects of performance were different, moving away from the physical feats of trick equestrian riding, fire eating, and the trapeze to the more delicate machinations of sleight of hand, séances, and grand stage illusion.

Yet at the same time, I liked the change, too. It was a fresh setting and form of theatre for Micah to explore. He’s changed in this book from how he was in the circus. Wiser, a little more cautious. Older. And there’s so much that’s exciting about magic. I touch on both illusion and aspects of spiritualism, contrasting what people get out of both types of performance. The empty theatre is creepier, and the themes of pulling the strings behind the scenes works perfectly for the main themes of Shadowplay.

Magician - could this be Jasper?
Image linked from Laura Lam's Pinterest page, CLICK HERE to see more of her magic pictures

Obviously, there’s the chance that people might be disappointed. They perhaps picked up Pantomime because they love circuses, and then the sequel only mentions them in passing. But at the same time, there’s so much to love about stage magic as well, so I hope that people are as enchanted with the magician’s stage as they were with the circus ring.


Thanks for a fabulous guest post Laura! As much as I loved the circus in Pantomime I really enjoyed visiting the theatre in Shadowplay. It was great to see Micha trying to fit into a different setting and learning new skills & I can't wait to see where the story takes us next!

Have you read Pantomime and / or Shadowplay yet? What did you think of the change of settings? If you enjoyed spending time at the circus in the first book are you looking forward to learning about magic at the theatre in the second one?

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