Sunday 29 May 2016

Book Review: Pantomime; Laura Lam.

I sure am glad that I ended up on holiday for the last week of May because it gave me a chance to do some much needed catching up with this month's reads. I read a majority of this book on the plane over, and finished it on our relaxation day on Sunday. I am writing these posts after coming back, but I'd still prefer to date them on the days that I actually read them (sorry, it's kind of an OCD thing...).

SOURCE: Bought
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: Pantomime
AUTHOR: Laura Lam
SERIES: Micah Grey (#1)
PAGES: 400
GENRE: Fantasy, Young Adult, LGBT

RATING: 5/5 Stars

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 civilization. They call to her, but she wants freedom, not mysteries. So, reinvented as ‘Micah 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?

What I Liked:
  • The portrayal of an MC Intersex character. In a Fantasy setting. Do I need to go on? I've always shouted loudly and proudly about how much LGBT characters need more attention in YA, and this is a book that does the job beautifully. Gene is very likeable, physically male and female, yet unable to quite identify as either. Quick-thinking, sensitive and feisty, I adored reading from Gene's POV so much and I found it complex, compelling and tumultuous as well as a real learning experience. I really need to read more books from a POV like this one, as it dug deep into the kinds of emotions, situations and social interactions that androgynous people have to deal with every day, despite having a Fantasy setting.
  • The world itself was really nicely woven into the story. I learnt small amounts about the Victorian London-esque Ellada, the Vestige and Penglass, yet not enough for me to build a full picture quite yet. I can't wait to learn more in future books! I loved the circus that most of the book is set in, as well as the various towns and villages it travels to. There were so many interesting places, characters and plot points to be found in this gem of a book!
What I Disliked:
  • I suppose the most disappointing aspect of the story was the ending. While I can see the dramatic climax it provided was also an easy way out of the love triangle situation, I was disappointed that after letting such a huge topic such as domestic violence fade into the background, it then became the climax of the story in a predictable and frustrating fashion. I really hope that this pattern doesn't continue in future books.
Overall Conclusion:
What an amazing, fantastical, enchanting read! This book had it all: a new world to fall in love with and explore, compelling characters with plenty of diversity and interesting, complex emotions and above all, a decent story-line! Th ending was a little weak in comparison to the rest of the book, and I was sad to see the end of some really strong female characters, but all in all I'm ridiculously excited about the potential this series has!

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