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Pantomime (Micah Grey #1)

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  1,916 Ratings  ·  467 Reviews
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,
Paperback, US, 392 pages
Published February 5th 2013 by Strange Chemistry
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(showing 1-30)
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Laura Lam
Hello! This is my book. I'm pretty fond of it and stuff.

It's got an official blurb up above, but I thought I would add a more informal one here with pictures. Credit where credit is due: totally got this idea from Elizabeth May's review of her book The Falconer, though I have decidedly less animated gifs and wit, alas.

Pantomime has a girl, named Gene, who isn't completely content with her lot in life.

A boy named Micah becomes an aerialist:

Gene & Micah have a secret.

Most of the book is set in
Experiment BL626
Comments on this thread are heavily moderated, meaning I am trigger-happy with the delete and block buttons. For a similar but less ranty viewpoint, check out this review by The Book Smugglers.

UPDATE: I am not only the who took issue with the book description. Shoutout to book bloggers The Book Smugglers and LGBT author Malinda Lo.

UPDATE 2: The book has been re-released with a new book description. So half of this review doesn't apply anymore, but I'll just leave it up as it is for record's sak
Man alive, this book was just as wonderful as when I had first devoured it.

I just cannot stress how incredibly unique this book is. I've literally never read anything like it, and possibly never will. The writing was beautiful, the world was enchanting, the characters were lovable, and I adored how the story was told in a non-linear fashion. But I think the thing I love the most above all is that I have no idea what to expect in the future of this series. I'm starting Shadowplay in just a moment
Original review posted on The Book Smugglers

Ana’s Take:

I will start by simply saying: Pantomime’s cover copy is supremely misleading. One would think that this is a run-of-the-mill PNR YA featuring two protagonists that seem to be about to fall in love with each other whilst a secre–zzzz, BORING. I would never had picked up this book based on this blurb had I not known from the get go what it is really about.

Allow me to rephrase the blurb slightly:

R. H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic is the greatest c
Kenya Wright

When you get this book, you must follow my instructions. . .exactly!

First: SIT DOWN IN A CHAIR (it doesn't matter where).


THIRD: (Optional) Smell the scent of dark, edgy sucess!

Four: Strap on your seat belt...

Because this is an emotional roller coaster ride, BABY!

I don't read many books that don't have sex in it. This book doesn't have sex! And I LOOOOOOVVVVVEEEEDDD this book!

You won't read a book that is this amazing again. To describe the main character is to give
Elizabeth May
Jul 29, 2016 Elizabeth May rated it it was amazing
I love this cover. When I saw it, I was like, "Cover lady, you look so great, you can shush me anytime."
Nov 12, 2015 Eilonwy rated it liked it
Recommended to Eilonwy by: Vippi

3-1/2 stars, but rounded down because of the pacing.

I am not sure what I can say about this book without giving away the central twist. And on the one hand, that twist is so unusual that it deserves to come as a surprise rather than given away in reviews (and most of the reviews for this book do give it away, so avoid them if you want to read the story unspoiled. DO NOT read the GR blurb, either). But on the other hand, keeping the twist secret gives the marketing of this book a troublesome ide
Mogsy (MMOGC)
Jan 04, 2014 Mogsy (MMOGC) rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult
5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

Okay, can I first just say how misleading the description of Pantomime is and how blatantly it underrates the value and extent of its content? Honestly, it does not do this book justice! One look at it gives the unsuspecting reader the impression of a Young Adult paranormal romance, featuring a story of star-crossed love between a daughter from a noble family and a low-born circus scalawag, perhaps. But no, no, no, that's
Robin Hobb
Mar 01, 2013 Robin Hobb rated it really liked it
A runaway youth, fleeing the comfort and constrictions of a wealthy home. A circus, with its own society and rules. A peculiar city, with an underlay of an ancient, not-fully-understood magic prevailing. And the classic adolescent question, "Who am I, really?"

There is obviously more to come in this story, but there is still a satisfying arc, and promise for much more of the world to unfold.
Dec 12, 2012 Zuleeza rated it it was amazing
"Byssian music played - brass and nickel instruments, large drums, and twanging strings. It made me think of sunsets and yellow eyes and deep growls in dark jungles."

Ah, such a cruel way to end a book. But Pantomine...PANTOMINE...gee, I'm at lost for words.

Nope, I'm not just throwing a random picture from the internet. This picture gave me the same effect as Pantomine did - it messes with my head in the most wonderful way I could ever imagine.

This is an art.

*Takes a deep breath*

I don't know. I
Kirsty (overflowing library)
I don't really know where to start when it comes to reviewing this little gem apart from saying it's flawless and just WOW!

This review will be short deliberately as I don't really have the words to do it justice and I don't want to spoil the secret of this wonderful for anyone because it is jaw dropping. Believe me when I say this is one of the most unique stories for young adults I have read in a long long while (and this comes from a girl who has currently read about 250 so far this year). It'
Dec 23, 2014 Shandra rated it it was ok
Edit 12/23/14: I'm going through some of my previous reads and adjusting ratings I felt were too generous. This is one. I'm dropping this down to 2.5 stars. I lost interest in this series shortly after finishing this book, and won't be continuing them any further.

A three star read for me. Any spoilers will be clearly marked.

Scratching head photo: Jack Skellington animated head scratching tumblr_inline_mpgu5eub1R1qz4rgp_zps04387663.gif

Well...I can honestly say that this book was very different than anything I've ever read before.

We follow two main characters (with a whole slew of side characters I thor
3.5 stars

I had my eyes on Pantomime for quite a while before I got the chance to read it. Just by looking at it and reading the synopsis, it's easy to see that this is not something you come across very often - a story against the backdrop of a circus. A world that seems almost beyond time itself, where you will find references to the Alder and the Vestige and Penglass, and a more specific setting in the city of Ellada. While Pantomime was by no means perfect, it was enjoyable nonetheless.

It is
The Book Tart
Feb 09, 2013 The Book Tart rated it really liked it
To pantomime is to tell a story with your body and facial expressions, and what a story this Pantomime is.I'm struggling to write a review and not spoil the story... It’s not at all what I expected. I was just imagining a simple tale about a teen running off to the circus in a fantasy world setting. It is so much more. It’s a study in differences, male and female, colorful and dark, normal and abnormal, safe and daring. It’s a fascinating and at times uncomfortable commentary on expectations and ...more
Oct 05, 2015 Vippi rated it really liked it
I picked up this book by chance. The cover and the synopsis really intrigued me and for once, going with my gut, that was enough. And I'm so glad of taking that impulsive choice, because it made me discover a very talented writer and a beautiful, stunningly original story.

I loved the magical, delicate athmosphere created by the Author, the plot full of secrets and twists and how the parallel stories of Gene and Micah entertwined.

I must admit that the description is quite misleading because you s
Oct 21, 2012 Joanne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-fantasy
Originally posted on Once Upon a Bookcase.

First off, this review isn't going to be a full review. There is a big secret within the pages of Pantomime - a very big secret - and both Laura Lam and the publishers, Strange Chemistry, want the secret to stay well under wraps until Pantomime is released. To talk about it would be to spoil a major part of this book, but it's something I want to talk about. So, with Strange Chemistry's permission, I am writing a mini-esque review now (it might not be th
I actively seek out YA that I think will be not just original but weird. The more YA I read, the more I get jaded of its cliches, and the more desperate I get for something new to shake things up. I want books that expand the boundaries of what YA can be, and what it's capable of. And when I find books that are weird in this way, even when they don't work, I tend to give the author at least a little credit, because at least I share their values. At least I want something new and different as muc ...more
Fantasy Review Barn

Can we get one thing out of the way? The main character, described as two people on the cover blurb, is actually an intergender teen called Iphigenia by her family and taking the name Micah when he goes out on his own. This is not a ‘plot twist,’ nor some cheap trick to fool the reader. It is not a gimmick, nor an incidental fact that has no bearing on the story. This is Micah’s story, his gender (I will use ‘he’ as the pronoun due to Micah choosing to present as male for most
A slow-paced but promising series starter. There’s lots to like about Pantomime, but I especially loved Lam’s protagonist, a bisexual intersex teenager whose story is told in two parts: that of Gene, raised as a girl, forced to endure humiliating medical examinations and to hide their condition from the elite society their parents belong to; and Micah, the boy who finally flees their abusive home and joins the circus. I’ve read a lot of diverse contemporary realistic novels this year, but as a w ...more
Jan 26, 2016 Sanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
ohhh this was so cool. i love books set in circuses and this was just another level of uniqueness. i loved how this book made allusions to the greek mythology. it didn't refer to (demi-)gods as you would expect, but this book treated the mythology of hermaphroditus in a interesting, creative way. especially because i currently have a class on body image this book was very intriguing to me.

i would have found it better if the book was set in "our" world, in a historical setting, because this book
Aug 12, 2014 Monica rated it really liked it
I was surprised by what this book was actually about, and it is a much more original novel than I originally thought it would be. This book is full of emotion, and both the characters and the plot are well written. This is definitely not a book for everyone, but I will give too much away if I explain why. I would recommend this book to anyone who is adventurous and open minded, and also anyone who loves stories about misfits and coming of age stories with a twist.

This is definitely not a romance
May 11, 2016 Saphana rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hell_bloody_no
Global warning. This is going to be a rant.

Alright. This is IT. I'm so done with this book. If I can't stand one thing, it's logical fallacies. And these 67% of this book have plenty. Actually, so many, I'm going to drop out for the time being.

Set in another world, in a land called Ellada, we get forest elves. Listen up here: not elves, but forest elves. Distinguished elves. Tolkien elves. Yes, thank you very much.

We also get otters, elephants and other "earthly" animals. But out of the blue, we
I really have to apologize for the lateness of my pretty long overdue review and a huge thanks to Goodreads and Strange Chemistry for an ARC copy of Pantomime which I won in a GR giveaway.

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The circus had been unlike anything I could ever imagine and I could not walk away. I wanted to be a part of the magic, create it and wield it with such skill that it looked effortless. I wanted to fly.

This quote perfectly describes how I felt when I was reading Pantomime. To be honest, I have ne
Micah has a secret. He didn’t run away to join the circus but when he finds himself stood inside the big tent, he knows that’s what he wants to do. He has already left everything he knew behind and cannot go back. On the flip-side, Gene is the daughter of a noble family, destined to be paraded at debutante balls and married off to a deserving suitor. She would much rather be climbing trees with the boys than dancing but her mother is determined for her to be a nice normal girl.

The world encased
Lottie Eve
Dec 27, 2012 Lottie Eve rated it really liked it
Pantomime has two main characters: Iphigenia Laurus and Micah Grey. The Summer chapters(the present) told through the eyes of Micah and the Spring chapters(the past) told through the eyes of Gene. Gene is a girl who is not happy with her current life and Micah is a boy who had just joined the circus which is place he feels like he truly belongs. They have a lot of things in common. One of those things being a big secret.


I thought Gene and Micah are very interesting characters. Their journey to f
Kirsty (Amethyst Bookwyrm)
This and my other reviews can be found at

Thanks to Netgalley and Angry Robot for giving me this book to review.

In Ellada, R. H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic wishes to create the wonder of the mysterious civilization which disappeared leaving only the glowing blue Penglass. Micah Grey is a runaway who wishes to join the circus as an aerialist and he wants to be accepted by the rest of the people in the circus. Gene Laurus is nobleman’s daughter who much prefers
Jan 20, 2013 Kara-karina rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book! I really enjoyed it and read it in one sitting.

First of all, don't read the synopsis - it's completely misleading which you will find out from the first couple of pages.

What you need to know - it's about magic from a forgotten ancient civilisation, it's about a circus with a tyrant of a ringleader and it's about a runaway. Throw in the bin the rest of your preconceptions. *grinning*

The great twist will be known in the first couple of chapters but it doesn't detract from th
I can't think of any part of Pantomime that I didn't like.

The atmosphere of the circus was amazing and realistic, the side characters were very diverse and interesting, and I completely fell in love with the main character. The main story and the backstory/flashbacks were both equally engaging and I was never bored.

The ending was a little dark but I think it suited the story, it definitely raised the stakes for the second book.
Jan 01, 2016 Joseph rated it it was amazing
Shelves: queer
Kari Rhiannon (Moon Magister Reviews)
Review to come. Still trying to finalise my star rating. 4? 4.5? Not sure yet!
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Please contact me via the contact page on my website as opposed to GR mail.

Laura Lam was born in the late eighties and raised near San Francisco, California, by two former Haight-Ashbury hippies. Both of them encouraged her to finger-paint to her heart’s desire, colour outside the lines, and consider the library a second home. This led to an overabundance of daydreams.

After studying literature an
More about Laura Lam...

Other Books in the Series

Micah Grey (3 books)
  • Shadowplay
  • Masquerade (Micah Grey, #3)

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“The circus collects the outsiders like a flame tempts moths.” 18 likes
“The circus had been unlike anything I could ever imagine and I could not walk away. I wanted to be a part of the magic, create it and wield it with such skill that it looked effortless. I wanted to fly.” 15 likes
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