Sunday 17 February 2013

Review: Pantomime - Laura Lam

New UK Cover
In a land of lost wonders, the past is stirring once more.

Gene's life resembles a debutante's dream. Yet she hides a secret that would see her shunned by the nobility. Gene is both male and female. Then she displays unwanted magical abilities - last seen in mysterious beings from an almost-forgotten age. Matters escalate further when her parents plan a devastating betrayal, so she flees home, dressed as a boy.

The city beyond contains glowing glass relics from a lost civilisation. They call to her, but she wants freedom, not mysteries. So, reinvented as 'Micha Grey', Gene joins the circus. As an aerialist, she discovers the joy of flight - but the circus has a dark side. She's also plagued by visions foretelling danger. A storm is howling in from the past, but will she heed its roar?

Micha Grey Series:

Vestigial Tales:
(Series of short stories set in the same world as the Micha Grey series)
The Snake Charm
The Fisherman's Net
The Tarot Reader
The Card Sharp
The Mechanical Minotaur

Visit Laura Lam's website for more information.

It is really difficult to know where to start with this review, I'm going to have to be incredibly careful about what I tell you because there is no way I want to spoil the shocking twist in Pantomime. Honestly, this has to be one of the most unusual YA books I've ever read and it is an incredible debut from Laura Lam. I want to go out and start placing copies of Pantomime in people's hands because I think everyone should be reading this book. In fact, I NEED everyone to read this book and then I need them to contact me so that I can discuss it with them without having to avoid spoilers!

Pantomime is an atmospheric debut that captures the essence of life in the circus and makes you feel like you're right there alongside Micha learning how to perform on the trapeze. Micha is new to the circus, still trying to find his place with the other performers who aren't happy to have a stranger in their midst. All Micha can do is work hard and hope that people will start to accept him and stop playing tricks trying to make him leave. At the same time we are getting to know Micha we are also introduced to Iphigenia (or Gene as she prefers to be called), a young girl who hates the restrictions placed on her by society. She is constantly forced to dress and act like a proper young lady but she'd much rather be climbing trees and having fun with her brother and his friends. Gene and Micha's lives couldn't be more different but their paths cross in a very surprising way that will change everything.

As much as I loved the circus setting for most of the story Pantomime's biggest strength by far is it's characters. I really, really adored Micha right from the start, he was so brave in the way he fought to be accepted in the circus and he never even considered giving up. He's the kind of person you'd want to have in your corner, someone who is loyal to his friends and who desperately needed to have that friendship and loyalty returned. Life has taught him some very difficult lessons but I was happy to see him come to accept himself for who he was. I also really liked Gene, she was a feisty and fearless tom boy who hated the fact that people only saw her as a young lady who should do as she was told, wear pretty dresses and try to find herself a good husband. She wanted more for herself but it seemed like everyone was against her apart from her brother who was incredibly protective and supportive.

The story is a fantasy, set in the fictional land of Ellada and has a very historical feel to it. If it weren't for the mysterious Penglass monuments and talk of an ancient vanished race called the Chimaera I would have thought I was reading a historical novel set in Victorian times. If there is one thing that I was slightly disappointed with it was the fact that I wanted to learn more about the Chimaera and the history of Ellada, we were given some information and I'm sure it will be expanded upon in the next book but I'd have liked to know a little more now. Especially since the story is so focused on world building and introducing the characters and there is very little action until the end. The ending was fantastic edge of your seat stuff though and it left me desperate to find out what happens next. At Pantomime's heart lies a very big secret, one I have to confess I'd guessed well before it was revealed but one that I still absolutely loved. Laura Lam may be a debut author but she isn't afraid to take risks and that is something I really appreciate, I'm definitely adding her to my list of authors to watch out for and I'm predicting big things from her in the future.

Source: Received from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Original UK Cover
Paperback / Kindle:


  1. I've heard nothing but praise for this book - I really need to get my hands on a copy by the looks of it!

  2. You definitely need to read this one Sophie! It's soooooo good :o)

  3. I'm so excited to read this series! Thanks for linking up to the British Books Challenge x

    1. This is a great series to binge on! It's been a looooong wait for the final book but I'm really looking forward to it :-)



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