Wednesday, February 13, 2013

{Review} Pantomime by Laura Lam

Title: Pantomime
Author: Laura Lam
Format: NetGalley e-book ARC
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Release date: February 5, 2013
Date Read: February 5, 2013
Rating: ✭✭✭✭
R. H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic is the greatest circus of Ellada. Nestled among the glowing blue Penglass—remnants of a mysterious civilisation long gone—are wonders beyond the wildest imagination. It’s a place where anything seems possible, where if you close your eyes you can believe that the magic and knowledge of the vanished Chimaera is still there. It’s a place where anyone can hide.

Iphigenia Laurus, or Gene, the daughter of a noble family, is uncomfortable in corsets and crinoline, and prefers climbing trees to debutante balls. Micah Grey, a runaway living on the streets, joins the circus as an aerialist’s apprentice and soon becomes the circus’s rising star.

But Gene and Micah have balancing acts of their own to perform, and a secret in their blood that could unlock the mysteries of Ellada


This review will hold spoilers but none that you won't find in any of the other "spoiler" reviews for this book. If you do not want to know about what the big twist is (which is actually revealed around 25 - 30% in), I suggest you skip this review as the spoilers for that will not be marked. The spoilers begin in the next paragraph. 

Personally, I feel like this "twist" should have been stated in the actual description. I would have been 100x more excited for this book, if I knew about the twist. In the description, it says:

Iphigenia Laurus, or Gene, the daughter of a noble family, is uncomfortable in corsets and crinoline, and prefers climbing trees to debutante balls. Micah Grey, a runaway living on the streets, joins the circus as an aerialist’s apprentice and soon becomes the circus’s rising star.

When I, like many other reviewers, first read this, I saw one thing: Gene x Micah. But the truth is, even though there is romance, it is not between Gene and Micah since they're, um, the same person. The protagonist is intersex. I really think that if this was in the description, it would be more popular because I'm sure there are others out there who wanted to read a YA book with an intersex protagonist.

I honestly do not understand why this is a secret since anyone who is paying a little bit of attention to the book would be able to realize this. Gene has not only similar physical qualities but the two "POVs" are pretty much the same. 

For a more in-depth assessment on why this "twist" should have been in the description read Experiment BL626's insightful review on why he thinks the same. Though I do not agree with every point, I do agree with many of them!



PANTOMIME is a book that I've wanted to read ever since I first saw it on Cuddlebuggery. I got an ARC a long time ago but for some reason I could never get into it. It didn't help that I got the ARC during a bad time where I didn't - couldn't - read anything. 

But, when I finally got into a few days ago and finished it in a few hours like I always do in these stories.

PANTOMIME isn't the best book I've ever read. Something was missing throughout but I still enjoyed it very much. The best part of the novel, personally, is Micah, the main character. His troubles with his sexuality and identity were definitely my favourite part of the book.


Micah Grey, or Gene I suppose, is the intersex protagonist. Micah Grey is strong, smart, and just all-around amazing. I absolutely love him. The main focus of the novel is around Micah and his struggles with who he is. 

At times, the book could go very deep and get very depressing for a YA fantasy read. The only deepness I've seen in most YA fantasy is well... nothing. YA seems to save all the deep reads for contemp. reads. I felt really connected to Micah in this book, something that doesn't happen often - in any genre.
The supporting characters, Drystan and Aenea, were Micah's best friends also doubling as LIs. Though the romance is not the main focus of the book, there is a lot since the book revolves around sexuality and love, to a lesser but still prominent extent. Personally, I didn't mind this love triangle because it was barely portrayed as a love triangle, and by that I mean, Micah was not internally debating who he loved. *cough* Team Drystan *cough*

My favorite character, excluding the obvious Micah, was probably this one little side character who only had a few lines and pages. It was the little shopkeeper or stall keeper who took Micah in after he had run away. I don't know why I liked him, I just did.

Plot and Writing 


PANTOMIME is a very character based book, as YA books are slowly starting to do. The plot isn't very big. Micah isn't some mystical person, no one has supernatural powers, and there isn't a war. It's kind of hard to imagine but it's true.

There are a few hints of some more prominent plot in the second book, probably going to be about this ancient extinct race of Chimaera, who have a great magical power and this Vestige thing. *weird geeky reference warning* They sort of reminded me of the Dwemer from the TES series - in a good way of course.

The setting sort of reminded me of NIGHT CIRCUS but it was much less magical. PANTOMIME didn't have that mystical, magical feeling to it where it felt like Les Cirque des Rêves could be right outside your door.


It wasn't the most lyrical writing ever but for the book, it fit. It was emotional and expressed Micah's thoughts very clearly and well. I don't really have much to say on the writing since it was fairly average but not bad. No, the writing was very nice just I'm sure there could be... more.

Likes and Dislikes


- Micah

- Characterization

- LGBTQIA aspect


- It was still missing that part

In conclusion

Beautifully created, PANTOMIME is a masterpiece, which I full heartedly adore. The only thing keeping me from giving it a nice shiny five star rating is that I felt PANTOMIME was missing something. I'm not exactly sure what it is but it sure wasn't there. Still, I recommend this book to everyone and anyone.

Lisbeth is an American teenager who enjoys blowing shit up in videogames and discussing decapitation in great detail. She's also obsessed with Oceana, but you're not supposed to know that.

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