Writer: Laura Lam
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
This book was sent to me by the publisher. This does not affect my judgement in any way.
“Secrets, once spoken, have a way of running away from you. They cannot be gathered in again.”
First off I’d like to talk about the absolutely beautiful cover. This dark kind of minimalism is right up my alley and I fell in love with it the first time I held it in my hands. Second, I had such a hard time choosing a quote to start my review with. There are honestly so many quotes in this book worth praising. The one I chose felt closest to the book’s premise.
Okay, so, Pantomime. This story is not what I thought it would be after reading the blurb. It was better. So much better. It’s about Iphigenia Laurus, or Gene, who is born in a noble family. She grows up in riches and basically has everything a child growing up could wish for. But Gene has a dark secret. She is both male and female. This secret has haunted her childhood, for she had to constantly visit doctors who would look and poke at her as if she were an animal. When she finds out that her parents make plans to “fix” her for good, Gene runs away from home and joins the circus as Micah Grey, a boy.
Leading a double life in the circus is exhausting and takes its toll on Micah, although he finally feels as though he’s found his place as an aerialist. Soon, it becomes clear that the circus isn’t only fun and games and slowly we see what is really going on behind the scenes. A compelling story that had me in its grip from the first few pages.
This story gave me The Night Circus (which I dnf’ed) vibes, but it was more fast-paced than TNC. What this book handled really well was the switching between the past and present. Slowly you get to know the whole story as the past and present become more and more intertwined. The world-building is beautiful and very high fantasy, with everything from mythical creatures to mysterious far-away lands. Another thing I enjoyed very much was the friendship between Gene and her brother (who is always really supportive and sweet), and between Micah and some of the circus folk. I thought it was very well executed and it gave me happy feels. Friendship often gets overlooked in YA for romance, and although there was romance in this book, it does not cloud the friendship.
Pantomime is the first book in the Micah Grey trilogy, followed by Shadowplay and Masquerade (which came out on the 9th of March this year). All in all I would definitely recommend this beautiful book.