Moira longs to prove to her father, a famous magician, that she has what it takes to carry on in the family tradition. The real problem? Moira’s dad doesn’t want her anywhere near magic. An invitation to audition for the Cirque American falls into Moira’s hands, and she leaps at the chance to make her own destiny. During her audition, Moira’s routine goes awry when she accidentally performs real magic. Suddenly Moira finds herself surrounded with questions about her impossible abilities and a secret society of similarly the similarly talented. Her absent mother seems to be the only one who can answer them, but finding her mother opens Moira to more danger than she could ever imagine. Her newfound Cirque family may be filled with as many enemies as allies.
My one regret in reading this book is that I didn’t read Girl on a Wire first, as the stories are pretty closely linked and feature some of the same characters. Also, Girl in the Shadows includes a bit of plot recap which reveals some key moments in Girl on a Wire. Honestly, I’d still read Girl on a Wire anyway, even though some of the surprises are spoiled.
I liked Moira. She’s fun and silly and has a lot of heart. It’s her heart which often makes her vulnerable to others, and I spent many pages biting my nails hoping for the characters in whom she places her trust to turn out deserving of it.
The descriptions of Moira’s performances make for cool elements. Often Moira connects her illusions to great female magicians. It made an interesting way to include some real historical information in an organic, unusual way. Her use of Dez as her assistant was another fun twist – sort of a feminist spin on the typical gender roles of magician and assistant.
Overall, I enjoyed reading this book. If you haven’t read Girl on a Wire, I do recommend you read that one first because Girl in the Shadows has some spoilers. See below for additional content information.
Moira and Dez become romantically involved, and they engage in quite a bit of kissing. They spend several nights together, but other than a hint from Moira that the two did enough, though not everything, those moments remain private. At one point Moira makes it clear she’d like to have sex with him and it appears they do. Again, no description, but rather suggested that kissing moves to touching and on from there.
Moira learns of a missing coin that promises luck and power to its bearer. A secret society of people with magical abilities desperately want the coin for its power. Moira describes her power as a cup filled with magic. As she expends energy to perform magic, the volume in the cup lowers. She’s told that if she empties her cup, she’ll die.
Moira meets a creepy guy hanging around playing poker with some of the circus members. At one point he beats up one of the performers. In another instance, she witnesses him smash a boy’s hand with a hammer as punishment when he fails to complete a task on time.
Eighteen year-old Moira drinks champagne to celebrate her success.