SPOILER ALERT!
— feeling excited
Pantomime - Laura Lam

I have been stoked as hell to read Pantomime for a while now, but had to wait for the new ebook edition before I could purchase it.

 

Circus setting? Check. Nonbinary protagonist? Check. Non-heteronormative protagonist? Check. Intersex protagonist? Check! I can't say I've ever read a confirmed intersex character (where they weren't just there for a punchline) before, so being able to sink my teeth into Micah's story was a pretty major deal.

 

Pantomime was short, as far as my usual novel fare goes, and the only reason it doesn't have a four-star rating from me is because it suffers from what I call 'debut syndrome' - a book can be deeply enjoyable and even well-written, but still feels a little bit loose at the seams. Usually spotted with debut novels, and it's usually burned off in the sequel or subsequent novels by the same author. (Also why I believe you shouldn't necessarily judge an author by their debut work, ever.) Pantomime had a bit of that - great setting, enjoyable characters, engaging and interesting protagonist, but I felt it needed an extra coat of paint to really bring out the story. I am intensely eager to get into the sequel, Shadowplay, because of that.

 

I loved Micah. He was outgoing, engaging, cheeky, even bold as brass at times. Aenea was a sweetheart, witty and playful, and while not understanding in the end, still kind. Drystan was odd and distant, intelligent, charismatic, charming, simultaneously extroverted and subdued depending on the situation he was in (and my favourite after Micah).

 

The reveal that the circus was not quite as wonderful as Micah originally thought, that the core of it was rotten and crumbling apart, was well-paced I thought. We see the layers being stripped from Bil at just the right speed as he falls further and further away from decency and into deprivation - an interesting parallel to how Micah works his ass off at pretty much everything he throws himself into, and refuses to fall. 

 

This is a YA book that I want to get once the new paperbacks are out; I want it sitting on my shelf where I can point it out and lend it to people and nag them into reading it. It's upsetting that there isn't a larger pool of books like this for mogai kids/teens/young adults to pick from, but, well, we've got to start somewhere and somewhen, right?

 

Can't wait to pick up Shadowplay.