Eighteen-year-old Moira Mitchell grew up in the
shadows of Vegas’s stage lights while her father’s career as a magician soared. More
than anything, Moira wants to be a magician too, but her father is dead set against her
When an invitation to join the Cirque American mistakenly falls into Moira’s
possession, she takes action. Instead of giving the highly coveted invitation to its
intended recipient, Raleigh, her father’s handsome and worldly former apprentice, Moira
takes off to join the Cirque. If she can perform alongside its world-famous acts, she
knows she’ll be able to convince her dad that magic is her future.
But when Moira arrives, things take on an intensity she can’t control as her stage
magic suddenly feels like…real magic. To further distract her, Raleigh shows up none
too pleased at Moira’s presence, all while the Cirque’s cocky and intriguing knife
thrower, Dez, seems to have it out for her. As tensions mount and Moira’s abilities come
into question, she must decide what’s real and what’s an illusion. If she doesn’t sort it
out in time, she may forever remain a girl in the shadows.
Gwenda Bond is the author of the young adult novels Lois Lane: Fallout and Girl on
a Wire, among others. Lois Lane: Double Down and Girl in the Shadows, a companion
novel to Girl on a Wire set in the Cirque American, are next up in 2016. She’s also hard
at work on some secret projects you don’t know about yet.
Her nonfiction writing has appeared in Publishers Weekly, Locus Magazine, the Los
Angeles Times, and many other publications. She has an MFA in writing from the
Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lives in a hundred-year-old house in Lexington,
Kentucky, with her husband, author Christopher Rowe. There are rumors she escaped
from a screwball comedy, and she might have a journalism degree because of her
childhood love of Lois Lane. Visit her online at http://www.gwendabond.com or @gwenda on
Quick Reasons: magical realism!; a stubborn, head-strong woman finds a way into her own; the snark and sass is spot-on; mystery, drama, and a flair for poetic prose; cute, realistic romance; a nod to female magicians through history; entertaining, quirky, and enthralling
HUGE thanks to Gwenda Bond, Skyscape Publishing, and Xpresso Book Tours for granting me early access to this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way changed my read of or opinions on this book.
So, first things first: I LOVE anything to do with the circus. I blame this entirely upon The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern–she kicked up an obsession I didn’t realize was lurking in the shadows, and I’ve been on a downward spiral ever since. So when I learned that Girl on a Wire was, in fact, NOT a standalone novel… I think I heard the book angels singing. There was a definite roaring in my ears. I rejoiced, screamed aloud, squealed a bit in the husband’s ear…and then immediately fell into despair, because I NEEDED book two and I NEEDED it right that second. Imagine my delight when I discovered a book tour for said book. Imagine my sheer MANIA when I found out I’d been accepted to be part of said book tour! I might have broken the husband’s eardrums a little bit more than they already were. Oops?
And this book? Brought the magic to life for me. I mean, obviously, it’s set in the midst of a traveling circus. Jules and Remy, our pair from book one, make some pretty low-key appearances, which I adored. But the biggest thing? There’s MORE magical realism than in book one, and that really helped to sway me to this book’s side immediately. I was drawn into a world of shadows, mystery, drama and magical flair…and kept captivated, much like the audience of an illusion, until the very end.
Moira is a headstrong, stubborn, and sometimes foolish slip of a girl. She strikes out on her own to prove a point…and finds herself caught up in a fight for freedom, her life, and the love of a boy who doesn’t seem to care about anything. And where Moira is impulsive, reckless, and still calmly poised… Dez is a ticking bombshell of witty humor and sharp edges. The girl who always runs away…and the boy who gives up too easily. It’s an endearing, dangerous pairing–and I LOVED them together from the get-go. Of course, the rest of the characters easily stand on their own–and each has a role, even if minuscule.
The plot is, perhaps, just a smidge bit lacking in the dramatic flair department. There is a HUGE amount of focus dedicated to the world-building, the magical realism, and the nod to women magicians throughout the history of magic…but there are only a few truly “nail-biting” worthy moments. This is a soft sort of drama–a small blip here, a jump or two farther up the plot mountain there, before the final, HUGE moment. It is a quiet sort of action…but the prose is so poetic and gorgeous, I was captivated regardless.
I really enjoyed this…continuation? Companion novel? Whatever it is–the journey was subtle, but full of magic. I love how much growth we see in Moira, her father, and Dez. I LOVE the “flowery” prose, the moments where wisdom was imparted, the fact that I had about ten different highlighted quotes to choose from for this review… Mostly, I love how much more magical realism played a part in this novel, in comparison with Girl on a Wire. I cannot WAIT to see what the rest of this series (if there is a rest of this series?! Or is it just a duology? Inquiring minds MUST know!) holds in store for us! I definitely recommend to lovers of all things circus, magical realism, and opposites-attract romances. Also, snark–because there’s a LOT of it in this book!