Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Early Review: Pantomime

Laura Lam

Publisher: Strange Chemistry - Published today!

E-Arc courtesy of Netgalley and Strange Chemistry

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

Pantomime is a wonderfully atmospheric story, invoking memories of fairs and circus and making you almost able to smell the sweet toffee apples and frying hotdogs mixed with straw and animal musk that I remember of childhood visits. Micah is a young runaway who stumbles into training as an acrobat at the circus. At first there is disdain and mistrust but as Micah proves himself, he finds the true heart of the circus but has a secret of his own to protect at all costs.

Set in a fantasy world that feels similar to the 19th century with well off Lords and Ladies as well as teaming street markets and homeless urchins – think Charles Dickens crossed with CS Lewis. While the world building is somehow familiar and unique at the same time, it is the history of the world with strange creature long thought lost and the mysterious Penglass structures throughout the cities which intrigue and mystify. The story unfolds slowly, like the buds of spring but once revealed it is worth the wait.

For most of the story, it is warm writing and characters that keep you going as it is all about atmosphere rather than action. However, towards the end that all changes as secrets are revealed and new ones raised. The ending will have to crying out to know more – and I hope the wait for the sequel will not be too long! This is different from any other fantasy YA I’ve ever read and stronger for it. This is a book which is better to know less about going in as the joy of the book is in the discovery. Highly recommended.

Recommended for fans of HG Wells and Marissa Meyer.  8.5 out of 10 


  1. Fab review, Mel! I agree it's the atmosphere that makes this book so different and unusual. Glad you enjoyed it as much as I did! ;)

  2. Excellent review! I loved this book- exactly as you say- it's so different and very atmospheric.
    sequel, sequel, sequel!!

  3. It does sound really really cool :D

  4. Wow! I have to admit I wouldn't have thought it was this good. Now the only question I have is get this now (or when it's published) or wait for the sequel? I am craving something different...

  5. I'm really looking forward to reading this one. It's pretty close to the top of my To Read list, that's for sure!

  6. Great review! :-) I'm really looking forward to reading this one.

  7. The characters and world were so amazing! Glad to see you liked this one too. Apparently, the sequel's in 2014. So yeah, too long XD Who was your favourite character?