Review: GIRL IN THE SHADOWS by Gwenda Bond

by Gwenda Bond
Published: July 5th 2016 
Publisher: Skyscape
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

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 pursuing magic.

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.

My Thoughts:

The magic business will never fully embrace a woman. It isn't what the audience wants. You can never be a magician, Moira.

Not hard to imagine why Moira feels like she is in her father's shadow...It's also not hard to imagine why she would run away in order to prove herself. So when Moira arrives at the great Cirque American, she's not going to take no for an answer, even if she fumbles her audition thanks to some unexpected magic. 

Girl in the Shadows is set in the same world as Girl on a Wire but is the best of both worlds, as it's a standalone within a the series. I'm obsessed with this style of writing (see Break Me Like a Promise and The Glittering Court) because you do not have to read the previous installment to read this book (though you definitely should, because it's great!). The characters return as secondary characters in Moira's story, helping her to understand what is going on when her magic tricks suddenly feel a bit more real. I definitely need a novella on the famous Roman Garcia! Oh, and the description of Dita's outfit was begging to be recreated (what can I say, I love the vaudeville style).

Your magic is dangerous.

Moira is a risk-taker and will have you concerned for her safety throughout the book (at one point, the Ringmaster ups the insurance policy). I love Gwenda's description of the magic tricks and illusions, giving us a peek behind the curtain. I also love that Moira stumbles along the way as she's learning. I also appreciate Gwenda's spotlight on lesser known female circus acts, as if to throw it back in Moira's dad's face! 

A few amazing female magicians

I was in trouble with this beautiful rogue.

Oh boy, I'm such a sucker for Dez, the damaged, bad-boy knife thrower who instantly sets off Moira. He's sassy and a sweet talker and I fell as hard as Moira did. Their story would not be the same without the twist Gwenda tosses in partway through and I found myself obsessed with finding out what happens next for the two of them. 

Oh, Houdini, if you could see me now. The truly unholdable girl. 
Here goes everything.

If you're not convinced yet, there's also a comic series headed our way featuring the characters and the world. Come back soon for our review on it, too! 


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