Pantomime – Pantomime #1 – Laura Lam
R. H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic is the greatest circus of Ellada. Nestled among the glowing blue Penglass—remnants of a mysterious civilization 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.
‘Pantomime’ was a very refreshing story, like nothing I’ve ever read before. It was original from setting to characters, with an interesting story and topics that you don’t come across that often in SFF books.
The story is told through a series of flashbacks where we meet Gene, a girl that doesn’t really fit in with her rich family and their strict, upstart way of living. In the here and now, we meet Micah, a boy, a runaway who wants to join the circus, but he has a secret too.
The Micah – Gene story was really intriguing and though I knew what the big secret was early on in the story it was still such a fascinating journey to follow. I loved finding out about Gene en Micah’s story step by step throughout the book. We were really eased into the whole background while soaking up the circus atmosphere.
Micah’s interaction with the other members of the circus was a whole journey on its own. He immediately clicks with the trapeze artists, for which he is training, but particularly the clowns are a bit difficult to win over. But between these bullies, Micah might find a surprising, familiar friend.
Micah also gets a really deep connection with the female trapeze artist, which was endearing and really sweet.
Gene also has to deal with a lot, forced in a certain lifestyle by her mother, burdened by a secret she has to keep silent to keep her family’s social standing intact and hurt by how people, even her own parents, react to that secret. The only one that really sticks by her side is her brother, who accepts his sister just how she is. The relationship between the siblings is another real gem in this novel, it really warmed my heart to see them interact and I could literally feel the unconditional love between them.
Pantomime is a book where LGBT is a central theme and I have to admit this was the first book I’d ever read where this subject is such a big part of the storyline. Some books I’ve read have same gender couples or hint at it, but nothing this prominent. Now, I don’t want to make a big deal about this, because I am of the opinion that LGBT is a part of our society now and in my eyes it’s pretty normal. So yes, it was great to read a story that mirrors my thoughts and doesn’t see anything special or abnormal about same gender love or transgender characters. It’s a book about a subject that is a part of our life and that says ‘screw you’ to everyone who doesn’t want to accept that.
Lam ends her book with a rollercoaster of an ending. I totally didn’t expect anything that happened there, it completely took me by surprise. It makes me eager to read Shadowplay!
Certainly a book that I’d recommend to anyone who wants something different, original or with a strong LGBT theme. Go read this book!