Shadowplay Blog Tour: Laura Lam’s Top 5 Favourite Ya Fantasy Novels

As part of the Shadowplay blog tour, I’m excited to, once again welcome Laura Lam to my blog today. For those who don’t know, or haven’t heard about Laura Lam’s books before, Shadowplay is the sequel to her debut YA fantasy novel, Pantomime.

I’ve been fortunate enough to be part of her blog tour for the first book (you can check out my review here), and am super thrilled to be part of the tour for Shadowplay.

During the Pantomime blog tour, Laura stopped by an introduced us to the world within her book, complete with complete picture tour. If you’ve checked out her books on Goodreads, you’ll see that not only has she’s posted a visual representation of what the world within Pantomime is like (a similar post was featured on my blog), but she’s also done one for Shadowplay.

I’d suggest you visit Goodreads and check out them out and add it to your TBR pile:

In the meantime, before I hand over to Laura, here’s some info on Shadowplay:

(Note: If you haven’t read Pantomime yet, you may want to skip the summery) 

About Shadowplay:

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

Over to Laura – welcome and thanks again for visiting my blog!

Top 5 YA fantasy novels

I’ve tried to come up with a spread of both recent reads I loved and ones I fell in love with as a teen. I’ve listed them from most recently read. 

1. Shadows on the Moon – Zoe Marriott.

I read this last year and absolutely loved it. It’s a retelling of Cinderella in a pseudo-Medieval Japan-type world. Beautifully written, atmospheric, and evocative, I definitely recommend it.

Suzume is a shadow-weaver. She can create mantles of darkness and light, walk unseen in the middle of the day, change her face. She can be anyone she wants to be. Except herself.

Suzume died officially the day the Prince's men accused her father of treason. Now even she is no longer sure of her true identity.

Is she the girl of noble birth living under the tyranny of her mother’s new husband, Lord Terayama? A lowly drudge scraping a living in the ashes of Terayama’s kitchens? Or Yue, the most beautiful courtesan in the Moonlit Lands?

Everyone knows Yue is destined to capture the heart of a prince. Only she knows that she is determined to use his power to destroy Terayama.

And nothing will stop her. Not even love.

Add it to your Goodreads TBR pile. 

2. Seraphina – Rachel Hartman.

This is another book I read last year and absolutely adored. It started out a bit slow for me, and I almost even put it down about 50 pages in.

I’m so glad I stuck with it, though, because I ended up staying up until 3.30 in the morning to read it, and I NEVER do that. I love my sleep.

I can’t wait for the sequel!

Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd.

Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers.

As the treaty's anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.

Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion.

Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen's Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs.

While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

In her exquisitely written fantasy debut, Rachel Hartman creates a rich, complex, and utterly original world. Seraphina's tortuous journey to self-acceptance is one readers will remember long after they've turned the final page.

Add it to your Goodreads TBR pile.

3. His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman.

I’m counting all three as one book. I remember reading this series when

I was just thinking about writing YA and thinking “Yes! I want to write something clever and beautiful, with a fully-realised world.” Also, I want a daemon. And that ending :’(

In "The Golden Compass," readers meet 11-year-old Lyra Belacqua, a precocious orphan growing up within the precincts of Jordan College in Oxford, England. It quickly becomes clear that Lyra's Oxford is not precisely like our own--nor is her world.

In Lyra's world, everyone has a personal daemon, a lifelong animal familiar. This is a world in which science, theology and magic are closely intertwined.

"The Subtle Knife" is the second part of the trilogy that began with "The Golden Compass." That first book was set in a world like ours, but different. This book begins in our own world.

In "The Subtle Knife," readers are introduced to Will Parry, a young boy living in modern-day Oxford, England. Will is only twelve years old, but he bears the responsibilities of an adult.

Following the disappearance of his explorer-father, John Parry, during an expedition in the North, Will became parent, provider and protector to his frail, confused mother.

And it's in protecting her that he becomes a murderer, too: he accidentally kills a man who breaks into their home to steal valuable letters written by John Parry. After placing his mother in the care of a kind friend, Will takes those letters and sets off to discover the truth about his father.

"The Amber Spyglass" brings the intrigue of "The Golden Compass" and "The Subtle Knife "to a heartstopping close, marking the third and final volume as the most powerful of the trilogy.

Add it to your Goodreads TBR pile.

4. Immortals Quartet – Tamora Pierce.

I went through a period where I basically only read Tamora Pierce, Anne McCaffrey, and Mercedes Lackey.

I remember spending Christmas gift vouchers on them, or huddling in the corner of the store to read them, or getting them from the library.

I liked that many of them had strong female characters, and I remember in particular loving this story which featured a girl with a kinship with animals.

Cover copy of Wild Magic, the first book in the series:

Young Daine's knack with horses gets her a job helping the royal horsemistress drive a herd of ponies to Tortall.

Soon it becomes clear that Daine's talent, as much as she struggles to hide it, is downright magical.

Horses and other animals not only obey, but listen to her words. Daine, though, will have to learn to trust humans before she can come to terms with her powers, her past, and herself.

Add it to your Goodreads TBR pile. 

5. The Lost Years of Merlin – T.A. Barron.

This was another series I loved. I got the first one as a Christmas present and read all of them.

I loved the idea of learning about young Merlin.

I haven’t read these in about 12 years, so wondering how it’d hold up on a re-read (sometimes I’m afraid to do that and discover I don’t like them as much as an adult, nostalgia non-withstanding)

This American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults is a brilliant epic adventure dealing with the literary wizard.

A young boy who has no identity nor memory of his past washes ashore on the coast of Wales and finds his true name after a series of fantastic adventures.

Add it to your Goodreads TBR pile.

Thanks for sharing your top 5 with us Laura!

About Laura: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.

Where you can find Laura online:


Pantomime page (including ordering links)
Shadowplay page (including ordering links)
Twitter: @LR_Lam