Pantomime: Micah Grey, Book 1

Paperback | February 5, 2013

byLaura Lam

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2014 Bisexual Book Award Winner for Speculative Fiction
2014 Rainbow List Selection

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 Chimeras 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.

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From the Publisher

2014 Bisexual Book Award Winner for Speculative Fiction2014 Rainbow List SelectionR.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 yo...

Laura Lam was raised near San Francisco, CA by two former Haight-Ashbury hippies. Both of them encouraged her to finger-paint to her heart's desire, color outside of the lines, and consider the library a second home. This led to an overabundance of daydreams.She relocated to Scotland to be with her husband, whom she met on the internet...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:400 pages, 7.74 × 5.11 × 1.09 inPublished:February 5, 2013Publisher:Watkins MediaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:190884437X

ISBN - 13:9781908844378

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from Pantomime: A mysterious and secretive journey Pantomime is a mysterious and secretive journey, draped in shadows and moments. Magic, joy, despair, fear, hope. This book is an exploration of self, an exploration of who we are and who we want to be, who we want to show to the world, but the world is full of hidden things that don't want to stay hidden any longer. Gene craves a place to be herself. She wants to be herself, she wants to shed the debutante dress her mother forces her to wear, the ribbons and laces that polite society tries to weave around her. She has her own wishes and hopes for her future but time is running out. She has an important, and possibly dangerous, decision to make before she's trapped in society's clutches for the rest of her life. Micah is a runaway now breathing the fresh air of freedom. This is his chance at a new life, a life in the circus, a time for him to be himself. But there are secrets in his past, secrets that linger as in his new life he gains a new strength and sense of bravery. There are times when both Gene and Micah feel different, so different from those around them it frightens them. Those feelings haunt them in the darkness, follow them down hallways and streets. They must draw on the power and strength inside them if they are to break free, if they are to be who they want to be. But what are they? Who are they? The city is full of possibilities, as is the circus, but there's a worn away and battered feel to the circus. An extra cobweb or two in the corner of the cart. A new tear in the tent fabric. As rich with magic as the circus is, it also feels old and full of things tucked away in drawers and chests. This is a wonderfully imaginative, unique, curious thing of a book. The exotic and mystical world of the circus is brought to life here, a place where the impossible can exist, a place to be one's true self, a place to live freely and without scorn or ridicule. But what about fate? What if she decides to appear, play a card or two from her hand?
Date published: 2014-06-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fascinating world of the travelling circus I need to start this post out with a note about the back cover copy you see above. Some may consider this a spoiler. I don’t think it is because you find out about it within the first few chapters and I think they do this book a disservice by hiding this bit of information from potential readers. The cover copy makes it seem like Pantomime is about two characters – Gene Laurus and Micah Grey. What it is actually about is one intersex teen. Raised as a girl, Gene, has never felt quite right in high class society. So when she hears her parents discussing an upcoming surgery to solve her “problem” she decided to run away. Out in the real world she begins dressing as a boy and joins the travelling circus that’s in town as a trapeze artist in training. The chapters alternate from Micah’s experience in the circus and Gene’s life leading up to her great escape. It’s pretty obvious right away that these two characters are one in the same and by not mentioning that Micah/Gene is intersex this book is ignoring one of its most important themes – to stay true to oneself. None of this is a reflection on Laura Lam’s writing but I thought this was a point that needed to be made. Now onto the book itself! Pantomime reminded me of The Night Circus or Water for Elephants. There’s just something about circus novels. They’re mysterious and magical and there’s something unknown or forbidden about them. Pantomime is no exception. Pantomime is an incredibly beautiful, atmospheric read. Especially the circus itself. The imagery is so vivid I could genuinely picture the trapeze act, the carnival, the freak show. All of it. In addition to the imagery I also loved Gene and Micah – though for very different reasons. I liked Gene because she’s so head strong and independent. There are things society expects of her, but she just doesn’t conform. She likes to climb trees, and play with the boys. But I also liked Micah because he’s so relataeble. He’s not 100% sure who is and what he wants to be and he is terrified being out on his own. My one complaint about this book is that sometimes the pacing is quite slow. There’s a lot of detail and the revelation could sometimes feel a bit sluggish. Things happen at their own pace and as lovely as the writing is, sometimes you just want to get on with the story. There will be a sequel – Shadowplay – so I’m hoping now that the world and background has been established the story’s pace will pick up. Recommendation: An beautifully written novel that takes you deep into the mysterious world of a travelling circus. The protagonist is sure to steal your heart – both as Micah and Gene. Highly recommended for fans of The Night Circus and similar novels. This and other reviews at More Than Just Magic (
Date published: 2013-08-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Amazing! Pantomime is a difficult novel to speak on, as there are a number of things I could not say without spoiling. When I first read the synopsis for Laura Lam's Debut Pantomime I was intrigued but uncertain if it was truly something I would enjoy. You must understand that I do not particularly like fantasy novels. I often find myself bored with them and they are just not my thing. However, Pantomime drew my interest, partially with the cover (because it is absolutely gorgeous), and the circus aspect really had me curious. While Pantomime was not completely what I was expecting, I did know what was coming. I had read a few spoilers while I was looking into the book (which were disappointing to find out). However, I cannot say that I was incredibly shocked to discover the major twist that makes up this novel. I will say, it is slightly shocking, but you kind of see it coming. It is not an extreme revelation, and after reading the first few pages, you would most likely guess what's to come. While some would describe Pantomime as a fantasy, I am not sure I would describe it as such. While it does have a fantastical feel to it, I would say it was more of a coming of age story. A story about coming to terms with who you are, and accepting it. I think this is the major theme of Pantomime. Both Gene and Micah both find themselves in Pantomime and it was magical. Laura Lam does a wonderful thing with the characters in Pantomime. They are great. Gene and Micah are strong individuals, both with trials of their own. The secondary characters also add to the story. Often these characters can sometimes feel like they are just filling space. I did not get this feeling. Overall, I really enjoyed Pantomime and I am looking forward to future books in this series. Because yes, there will be future books, and I am incredibly excited to read them.
Date published: 2013-03-07

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Editorial Reviews

"Pantomime by Laura Lam took me to an exotic and detailed world, peopled by characters that I'd love to be friends with...and some I'd never want to cross paths with."-Robin Hobb, author of the Farseer Trilogy“Set in a vividly imagined world with wonderful steampunk touches, Pantomimeis a fable-like story as beautifully unique as its main character.” – Malinda Lo, author of Ash, Huntress, and Adaptation“Micah is the most wonderful, complex, brave and contemporary teenage hero I’ve read, facing issues of identity and responsibility that will resound with any reader who has felt like an outsider. Pantomime is loving in its detail but hints at so much scope to come, it feels like the set up for an epic sequel. I raced through this book, desperate to know what happens next. ‘Look out behind you’ Robin Hobb…”- Bryony Pearce, author of Angel’s Fury and winner of the 2012 Leeds Book Award“Welcome to a world of shills and showmen, fading tech and circus freaks, where nothing and no-one is what it appears. An absorbing, accomplished debut.”- Elspeth Cooper, author of the Wild Hunt series“Who hasn’t dreamed off running off and joining the circus? Laura Lam’s Micah does just that, discovering a world of clowns and acrobats, con men and tricksters, corruption and incompetent doctors, and maybe more about himself. I look forward to more from this author.”- Brian Katcher, author of Almost Perfect and winner of the 2011 Stonewall Children’s and Young Adult Literature Award“In PANTOMIME, Laura Lam has created a world which will take your breath away, and characters you will never want to leave. Enchanting.” - Lou Morgan, author of Blood and Feathers“A lyrical, stunningly written debut novel, which set my heart racing with every lift of the trapeze. In Micah we have one of the most original – and likeable – protagonists I’ve read in a long time. An author to watch, without a doubt.”- Amy McCulloch, author of The Oathbreaker’s Shadow Nominated for the 2014 ALA Rainbow list.