Friday, May 10, 2013

4 stars: Pantomime (Pantomime series, #1) by Laura Lam

"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."

Published February 5th 2013 by Strange Chemistry. I received a digital ARC of this story. 

I used to have to see the guidance counselor at school regularly and therapists, and I would say "I'm the weird kid" (in a bad way) and they would say "Now why do you say that?" I had trouble making friends since everyone would tell me how strange I was. Now fast forward to the beginning of 9th grade when I had an assignment to take a piece of paper and decorate it in a way that it reflected myself. It was supposed to have my name and a picture as well. I'm thinking that the teacher did it as a way to remember who the students were since she didn't know our names yet. I'm getting teary thinking about this, but I wrote in big letters "I am a freak of nature." After writing that on the paper, the thing that really stood out to me was that I meant it in a good way. I finally accepted who I was, and I owned it and loved it. Now was I really a freak of nature? Pssh, melodramatic teens.

This is the perfect YA book for young people who feel that they are different or "freaks," because it will make them view themselves as special (in a good way). It will do for them what that 9th grade assignment did for me. Micah has a secret, something that makes him different than most people, and is hard for many to understand. Then he learns just how special and wonderful that makes him.

I felt that the story started off a bit too slow, and by the time it really got going and captured my attention, I noticed that there was no way that the plot could get wrapped up in the limited amount of pages left. I was right. Most of my questions were never answered, which was frustrating, because not much happened for most of the book and then BAM!, all this interesting mythology was thrown my way (out of basically nowhere, it became a fantasy story) and I wanted answers and more, more, more (that commercial describes my thoughts exactly)!

I really liked that this YA story covered controversial/rarely-explored sexual themes that are relevant to some teens. I definitely knew some people who could have benefited from this book in high school; I knew someone who had the same secret as Micah, but regardless of that, this book is what many young "freaks of nature" need.

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