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Pantomime: Micah Grey, Book 1 (Strange Chemistry) Paperback – February 5, 2013

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Pantomime: Micah Grey, Book 1 (Strange Chemistry) + Shadowplay: Micah Grey, Book 2 (Strange Chemistry) + The Assassin's Curse (Strange Chemistry)
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Michael Vey 4
Featured New Release in Teen Science Fiction & Fantasy

Product Details

  • Series: Strange Chemistry
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Strange Chemistry (February 5, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 190884437X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1908844378
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #115,515 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

At around page 90 in Lam’s impressive debut fantasy novel, there’s a reveal so stunning that it makes it difficult to discuss without spoilers. Still, difficult hardly means impossible, especially as Lam’s memorable characters and rich world building stand tall in their own rights. Using a flashback structure to show both why noble-born Iphigenia Laurus runs away and joins the circus and how she changes her identity to become trapeze-artist Micah Grey, Pantomime does feature standard YA elements such as parental estrangement and problematic romance—yet marvelously transfigures them. Even as Micah must constantly work to avoid discovery, “he” begins to wonder whether he might be a latter-day incarnation of a mythological being. However, when he eventually shares his secret with love interest and fellow aerialist Aenea, the scene’s emotional power doesn’t seem worthy of its complex and deeply felt buildup. That said, Lam has more in store for us, as a hair-raising climax follows that recalls a classic Lon Chaney flick in terms of the operatic satisfaction it delivers. Grades 9-12. --Peter Gutierrez


"Pantomime by Laura Lam took me to an exotic and detailed world, peopled by characters that I'd love to be friends with...and some I'd never want to cross paths with."
-Robin Hobb, author of the Farseer Trilogy

“Set in a vividly imagined world with wonderful steampunk touches, Pantomimeis a fable-like story as beautifully unique as its main character.”
Malinda Lo, author of Ash, Huntress, and Adaptation

“Micah is the most wonderful, complex, brave and contemporary teenage hero I’ve read, facing issues of identity and responsibility that will resound with any reader who has felt like an outsider. Pantomime is loving in its detail but hints at so much scope to come, it feels like the set up for an epic sequel. I raced through this book, desperate to know what happens next. ‘Look out behind you’ Robin Hobb…”
- Bryony Pearce, author of Angel’s Fury and winner of the 2012 Leeds Book Award

“Welcome to a world of shills and showmen, fading tech and circus freaks, where nothing and no-one is what it appears. An absorbing, accomplished debut.”
- Elspeth Cooper, author of the Wild Hunt series

“Who hasn’t dreamed off running off and joining the circus? Laura Lam’s Micah does just that, discovering a world of clowns and acrobats, con men and tricksters, corruption and incompetent doctors, and maybe more about himself. I look forward to more from this author.”
- Brian Katcher, author of Almost Perfect and winner of the 2011 Stonewall Children’s and Young Adult Literature Award

“In PANTOMIME, Laura Lam has created a world which will take your breath away, and characters you will never want to leave. Enchanting.”
 - Lou Morgan, author of Blood and Feathers

“A lyrical, stunningly written debut novel, which set my heart racing with every lift of the trapeze. In Micah we have one of the most original – and likeable – protagonists I’ve read in a long time. An author to watch, without a doubt.”
Amy McCulloch, author of The Oathbreaker’s Shadow 

Nominated for the 2014 ALA Rainbow list.

More About the Author

Laura Lam was 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 of the lines, and consider the library a second home. This led to an overabundance of daydreams.

She relocated to Scotland to be with her husband, whom she met on the internet when he insulted her taste in books. She almost blocked him but is glad she didn't. At times she misses the sunshine. She is the author of False Hearts, a near-future thriller coming from Tor/Macmillan in 2016, the award-winning Micah Grey series (Pantomime, Shadowplay), and the self-published Vestigial Tales (The Snake Charm, The Fisherman's Net, The Tarot Reader, The Card Sharp).

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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See all 63 customer reviews
Even though the plot was thin and the pace slow, I enjoyed Pantomime.
Rachel @ Paper Cuts blog
The fantasy world of Ellada is not much different from our own, and in that we find a piece of ourselves in the story.
Shawn DeMille
Gene and Micah are likeable characters, and the supporting characters are very well done also.
Christina (Ensconced in Lit)

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Christina (Ensconced in Lit) TOP 1000 REVIEWER on February 6, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I am completely emotionally exhausted after this book. I was given this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Pantomime by Laura Lam is about Micah Grey, a performer in a circus troupe and also Gene, the daughter of a wealthy noble. They both have secrets to hide, ones that put them in grave danger. I don't want to give away big secrets in the novel, so that's where I'll have to stop. It's too bad because I'd love to explain why I am so drained and what an experience this book was. I will say this-- this is the most painfully honest depiction of a coming of age story that I have seen in a long time.

This is a gorgeously told story, and we get intimate details of living in a circus troupe. I felt like I was there. Gene and Micah are likeable characters, and the supporting characters are very well done also. SPOILER ALERT BUT ALSO A WARNING: I recently had a bad experience with another reviewer who said that every book should state clearly in the synopsis that there are gay characters so that readers could avoid them, so I just want to mention that if you have big issues with depictions of homosexuality or transgender characters, you must look elsewhere. It's too bad, because I think this book rises above those simple labels.

Overall, I felt this novel was thought provoking, intricately described, with fascinating characters and an intriguing protagonist. I'll be definitely picking up the next installment.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Marie A. Parsons on February 5, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Forget all you think you know about the circus.

Pantomime refers to a "play" which takes place within a performance of a remarkably ordinary (but not really so ordinary) travelling circus. This circus tours in a strange, alien land called Ellada. Ellada, which has colonized or conquered some of the outer lands, has an ancient history, involving Chimaera, and alien Alder.

Iphigenia Laurus comes from a fairly noble mercantile family. At 16 years of age, she has a secret, known initially only to her parents and her brother. But some secrets mask other secrets. Who is she really, and what is she meant to be?

Into the circus comes Micah Grey, a teen-aged runaway harboring a secret that may make people shun Micah, or worse. While helping to feed the animals and do other chores, Micah also trains with Arik and Aenea to be an aeralist. Micah befriends Drystan the clown while trying to survive the initial days of not-so-kindly hazing by the troupe. And always, there is Micah's fear of the discovery of the secret that could change everything. The Pantomime provides the final key that once again alters Micah's life.

One of the strengths of this story is its depiction of the behind-the-scenes lives and interactions in a circus troupe. Iphigenia and Micah are characters to whom readers can relate, in all their anguish, fear, hopes and needs. A circus, consisting of those who live in some part outside society, should be the safest place to be accepted. But everyone, no matter who they are or from whence they come, has needs, fears, hopes, and secrets.

Where will Iphigenia and Mhcah find their safe haven? Will either be able to find contentment in who and what they are?

One little reservation (which does not really spoil the magic of the story) is that its ending seems so much to beg for a sequel. The conclusion feels too unfinished.

Highly recommended, and not just for fans of science fiction.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Robin Hobb on April 18, 2014
Format: Paperback
That's not a bad plan, when you are not accepted or acceptable in your genteel social circle.
It's very hard to write a review of this tale without far too many spoilers. And that would be a shame. Because you really need to have this tale unfold for you.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By W.M.M. van der Salm-Pallada on February 5, 2013
Format: Paperback
When I read the synopsis for Pantomime I was intrigued and when I saw the cover I was sold. And then I read the book and I fell in love. What an absolutely gorgeous book. It's tough to talk about Pantomime without giving spoilers. Pantomime has a secret and it's a big one and once it's revealed the scope of the entire narrative changes. It's a powerful narrative, filled with fabulous characters and a great plot.

The characters inhabiting Pantomime are amazing. Both its protagonists, Gene and Micah, are trying to figure out who they are and what they want out of life. Lam explores their desires, uncertainties and secrets in depth and with a deftness that exposes both their fragility and their strength in equal measure. I loved the characters Micah encounters at the circus, from his aerialist teacher Aenea to the kind clown Drystan - and yes, thank god not all clowns in this book were scary, otherwise I couldn't have gone on. The first few minutes of It scarred me for life at age nine - sad Frit and the interesting collection of freaks who turn out to be more human in most cases than normal humans. The interactions between the various circus people are funny and lovely and sad. The way they treated Micah when he arrived, the tricks and the hazing, was perhaps rather cruel and cold, but it also seemed a form of self-protection; if Micah could be scared off by their hazing, then he'd not hurt them by leaving once they'd come to care for him and made them part of their `family'. In this manner there are layers upon layers in everyone's actions and behaviour, which get more exposed at each twist in the narrative.

If I can't really talk about the characters in detail without giving the game away, then let me talk about the setting, because it was luscious.
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