August 18, 2017

REVIEW| Pantomime

Pantomime (Micah Gray #1)
Laura Lam

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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?


The Cover

Pantomime was first released back in 2013 with an entirely different cover (left). But, it didn't fly off the shelves like it should have done. Really. In fact, Laura Lam had a bit of a struggle to get the final book in the series published- "Masquerade".

The new covers definitely blend in with a publishing trend of covers that seem to be hitting the market over the past 5/6 years.  One colour backgrounds with one central image- which I think works? 

Whenever laid out on the table I always spot someone picking it up and read over the synopsis. 
The Content

Pantomime begins with the introduction of Micah Gray, a run away. Quite literally. Micah has run away from a past life, desperate not to get caught he joins a travelling circus. 

We later learn that our protagonist is a gender fluid, intersex, bisexual individual whose birth name is Iphigenia Lauras, or just Gene (not a spoiler). Raised as a female, in a world that values victorian ideology, Pantomime explores ideas of gender in both the constraints of a wealthy society and the outsiders of the circus. 

I have never read a book with a main character that identifies in this way. I had to speak to others who were more knowledgeable on this, who had read this book and most agree that this was good representation. In my own opinion I believe this to be a well done aspect of Lam's narrative, and have not since been made aware of any flaws that others have picked at.

I grew emotionally connected t Gene/Micah. An underlying understanding of knowing what's it like to feel as other, even in your own skin that even the most average reader could identify with within their life time. 
At its core, Pantomime is about someone learning to be comfortable in their own skin. Following two timelines- Micah's life living as a girl in their previous life and Micah living as a boy apprentice aerialist in the present, coming together to reach a point of acceptance both by self-acceptance and by Micah's friends. And it was brilliantly pulled off.

If I were to fit
 this into a subgenre of fantasy, it would be easy to call this a gaslight fantasy. Set in a fairly Victorian-esque world, with a backdrop a deep mythology that I am looking forward to indulging further in Shadowplay and Masquerade

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