Paperback, 392 pages
Age Group: YA
Source: ARC from Publisher
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.
I was completely surprised by Pantomime. After reading the book, I went back and re-read the summary before I wrote my review. I liked the summary of the book even more after the secrets of the story were revealed. I loved how well thought out Pantomime seemed to be. You can really tell all the thought that Laura Lam put into the details and storylines of the story.
While I wouldn't say the big "twist" is super surprising, it is something that I initially had not expected. But as the book goes on, I caught on pretty quickly as to what was going on. Pantomime is another one of those books where the chapters alternate between present and past. I found it easy to follow and I really liked the backstory that it added. The back and forth chapters made it easy for me to see what the balancing act from the summary was going to be. I felt like I really got to know Gene this way.
I'm not going to go into too much detail about each of the individual characters, except Micah, because I don't want to ruin anything for anyone. I thought that the story was organized in a great way, and honestly it is much better if you can experience it for yourself. I will say this- everyone in this book has their own secrets for you to discover. And I do mean everyone.
Micah is tough. He is scrappy and resourceful and just trying to figure out who he is. He joins the circus and I felt so bad for him when a lot of the other performers gave him a hard time. I will say this, I would have liked to establish everyone's age a little bit more clearly. I kind of just had to guess and I would have liked to know how much younger/older the characters were in relation to Micah.
The world of Pantomime is a fantasy world but it was pretty similar to our own world. I kind of pictured the book taking place in in a location like 18th or 19th century London. The every day life was similar to that in my mind. But there was culture and mythology worked in to create the fantasy aspect of the story. I loved that at the start of each chapter there were quotes or passages from various books and myths from their land. It helped create a fuller picture.
Pantomime is an excellently written book. I thought Laura's writing style really shined and I was able to easily connect with the plot and the characters. It was really descriptive, but not over the top. I could picture all of the circus acts in my head. That is a pretty big accomplishment, because circus's are so visual. A few of the secrets were a little out there for me, but it was all really interesting to read about. I wasn't the biggest fan of the cliffhanger ending, because I really wanted to know what was going to happen but I will definitely be eagerly awaiting the next book!
Circus Summer by Kailin Gow
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