I’ve been meaning to write a blog review of this book for ages. Now seems a good time, as the sequel is newly available so you can finally get hold of both parts at once!
Pantomime, by Laura Lam, is a wondrous book. I mean that in the most literal sense of the word, as its pages frequently inspire wonder. Wonder at the rich, complex world of Ellada, wonder at the sights, sounds, and experience of circus life, and wonder at the plight of Micah Grey, the book’s inspiring and unusual protagonist. This is a Young Adult book, but I was as hooked now as I would have been had it been around in my teens. Micah is a highly relatable teenager, adrift in the world and trying desperately to find his place, whilst feeling betrayed at the revelation that his foundations are not as reliable and innocent as his childhood led him to believe. He’s also struggling with his identity at a fundamental level, and leaves the safety and opulence of his family home to explore who he really is, away from control and prejudice and societal norms.
As if running away to join the circus wasn’t a cool enough premise for a story, Laura Lam takes it a step further, using magic and ancient, little-understood technology to make Micah’s new world truly fantastic. He makes friends and gains acrobatic skills while struggling to contain his demons and hide his devastating secret. All the while, his family are searching for him, determined to put him back into the box he’s freed himself from.
Pantomime is a rollercoaster of a read, with highs, lows, horror, suspense, and awe. Highly recommended.
Pick it up here: Amazon
(The sequel, Shadowplay, is high on my to-read list. I’m really looking forward to delving back into that rich, colourful world and following Micah’s story into new places.)