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.
Girl in the Shadows continues the story in Cirque American, with a new protagonist – the daughter of a famous magician, who herself wants to make her name – Moira Mitchell. From childhood, her father has dissuaded her from pursuing a career as a magician, but that only made her practice harder in secret and run away to join the Cirque, where on auditioning, the real magic within her awakens. Readers who remember the ending of Girl on a Wire, will connect this to the magic coin; that plot line finally gains more importance in this sequel as an object that is being pursued by people around. In this case, it is a secret society *cough*cult*cough* called Prestiagae, that wants it. While at the Cirque she falls in love with this charming smooth knife-thrower Dez, who hides a lot of things in his past.
This sequel definitely was better written than the former, with more attention given to characters and their emotions. Moira’s and Dita’s friendship, Moira and her father’s relationship – all these little details added immensely to the plot. But while it was better written with respect to characters, I could not say the same for the plot. In the first half it was good, when we did not know who the secret society was – there was a lingering tension in the air, the stakes were high. But after the reveal, I was disappointed. There was danger but it felt so thin, I could not bring myself to care enough. The ending was better, of course, but everything in the third quarter felt just rushed together. Overall, I would say this book is good sequel, but on its own, it stands weakly.