Author: Laura Lam
Release Date: February 5th, 2013
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Pages: 392 (Paperback) | 320 (ebook)
Genre: Young Adult | Fantasy | Circus
Series: Pantomime #1
Read: from November 14 to 19, 2012
Source & Shelf: NetGalley | Kobo
ISBN: 9781908844378 (Paperback)
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.
Disclaimer: I received this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
*This review might contain spoilers*
Pantomime is a rich book filled with fantasy, magic, romance and a small taste of steampunk. Within its pages, there’s a circus brought to us by Laura Lam’s amazing writing which grabs us since the beginning till the end. The Victorian flavour it had only makes it even more brilliant.
R.H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic is in town. The description of the circus was amazing. You could visualize everything as if you were inside it. The backstage of the circus was overwhelming. It had so many faces, so many personalities, emotions and colours you felt part of it. It was amazing to see the different characters taking off their mask and be themselves. What they were on stage differs from what they truly are and Lam managed to create so many different personalities to all those different characters it was a breathtaking experience to meet them.
The story starts with Micah Grey, a runaway and poor boy who lived in the streets. He’s caught spying the circus’ players and soon is face to face with the artists he was admiring. Lost within himself and not sure of whom he is, he wished to be part of this big and odd family and proves he belongs there by climbing a ladder and fly. Yes, he becomes an aerialist apprentice. However, Micah as a secret he wants to keep hidden at any cost.
Iphigenia Laurus, or Gene as she keeps telling people to call her, is a rich girl who is not very happy with her life. She has a family, a brother she loves, friends and everything she wishes. But she doesn’t feel comfortable with the luxuries of her life and her tom-boy manner hints us that perhaps she’s not what she seems. Just like Micah, she also has a dark secret she wants to keep hidden.
Magic is scattered around in this fantasy world and goes by the name of Vestige. However, is slowly dwindling. There are Penglasses, reminiscence of an old people, spread throughout the cities, its propose unknown to the inhabitants. The world Lam created had various steampunk elements to it but the world, even though very well developed, wasn’t that much explored and explained and I still have my doubts concerning the Vestige, the Penglasses and Chimaera.
This book started off somewhat confusing to me I have to tell you. I didn’t fully understand what was going on since we have two stories told at different timelines by two different characters. Or so I thought. I didn’t know whether the characters were the same, if they were two distinct ones… yes, I do believe I wasn’t truly focused when I started this book ‘cause as soon as I got the grip of it and understood what was happening, I dived into it and only surfaced when the book ended.
This is not only a fantasy book; it’s also a Young Adult book which explores an issue that people might see as peculiar and repulsive. As for me, I admit being shocked with the surprise but at the same time pleased with the way Lam told it.
The book ends with a huge cliffhanger that made me gasp and search for more pages. I actually thought my digital copy of the book was incomplete. It had me craving for the continuation and to know more about Micah and Gene and their destiny.
The circus can be a funny playground and a creepy place; forbidden subjects might be the life and death of a person; destinies can be the mysteries of a soul. This book is a mind opener. The twists – which I won’t mention despite having hinted them already – are what make this book special. A sinister, realistic and amazing world people should definitely read, discover, adore and be part of.