In a land of lost wonders, the past is stirring once 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 abilitieslast seen in mysterious beings from an almostforgotten age Matters escalate further when her parents plan a devastating betrayal, so she flees home, dressed as a boyThe 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? OH MY GOD!When you get this book, you must follow my instructions.exactly!First: SIT DOWN IN A CHAIR (it doesn't matter where).Second: OPEN THE BOOKTHIRD: (Optional) Smell the scent of dark, edgy sucess!Four: Strap on your seat beltBecause 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 the spoiler awayand then even when you know the spoiler, STILL, you must read this book! One can not truly spoil this character's journey, and it is a journey The character is learning about its own identity, and as the character learn, we learn We grow with the character.And the circus.OH GOD!It craps all over Night Circus and other fake books about circus performances and life This book draws you in.I believe that I can place acrobat performer on my resume now!I enjoyed this story so much I lost sleep devouring it In fact, I am no longer a hot and sexy black woman.I now know what I was meant to be.I am this guy.and I'm joining the circus!!!!!!!!! I am Micah Grey and Gene if your nasty! 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 nonlinear 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 and I honestly don't even have an inkling of how the story is going to go, and that gets me so excited.The only thing, my only small peeve was that there was no map at the beginning of the book I wish that there had been a map of Ellada or the Archipelago so I could have better pictured the world and where everything was, because I needed that extra sense of scale Laura Lam definitely created a massive world, but I wanted to truly see it Unfortunately such a map is also not present in Shadowplay, I just saw, but I hope we'll get to see it one day.If you're looking for a high fantasy LGBT YA book? Look no further Trust me. 4.5 starsA circus, an intersex main character, an alternate world with bits of Victorian and steampunk, and extremely catchy writing.Concept: ★★★★★Main character: ★★★★Pacing: ★★★ (there is a split timeline, and I didn't love that)Pantomime was a book that I randomly added to a Book Outlet haul a few weeks ago because it had a gorgeous cover and was blurbed by Leigh Bardugo Enough said, right? Also, it was about a circus so I was ON IT It's about an intersex main character named Micah Grey who escapes their home one night when their family tries to fix them without their consent Micah doesn't need to be fixed, they are happy with who they are So they run away to the circus This is a tale with found family elements, magical elements, steampunk elements, and the gritty thread of the circus running throughout Micah's adventure to find themselves as a teenager, a person, and an aerialist for the circus was a classic coming of age tale with some obvious twists But, the world itself kept Pantomime from falling into the cracks of other circus stories The world of Pantomime is weirdly Victorian, but also postapocalyptic as there used to be a society of Alders who ruled the land The Alders are long gone, and the only remnants of their society remain as Vestiges, which are mechanical devices that are muchtechnologically advanced than the current society While this book in the trilogy focused on the world though the lens of the circus, it's clear that books two and three will be exploringmagic andof the world—Micah's discovering that they might not be who they thought they wereand it's time to find out why Blog | Instagram 4.75 StarsThis Book is seriously underrated andpeople need to read it! It is honestly one of the best Young Adult books I have ever read! Anyone who knows me, knows that I love circuses and I think this book does an excellent representation of showing the magic and mystery surrounding a fantasy circus I mean what's not to love about bearded women, creepy clowns and contortionists.? However, what really set this book apart from a few other circus books I have read, is that there are Chimaera! I just think that Chimaera fit so neatly into the setting of a circus and really add to the dark, creepy and imaginative atmosphere it should have! Putting my slight circus obsession aside, this was still a highly enjoyable read and had a very intriguing plot throughout I found the pacing to be perfect, as I was never once felt bored, but at the same time no plot points ever felt rushed or glossed over The main character, Gene or Micah, is now one of my favourite YA protagonists! Gene is intersex and therefore both male and female, however she goes by the name of Micah, disguised as a boy for the main course of the novel I have personally never read a book with an intersex main character and I found it so interesting to see the world from this perspective I don't know how accurate the representation of being intersex was, but frankly this is a fantasy book, not a contemporary and I loved how Laura Lam put her own fantasy twist onto this topic Gene is also a runaway (for valid reasons) and ends up at a circus, which is a trope I will never grow tired of! Despite her understandable running away, I appreciated how Laura Lam briefly included the effects this had on Gene's family, which is something that I feel isn't discussed enough with these kind of things I find that the family is often forgotten about and never heard of again, when in reality they have just lost their childI also loved all of the side characters in this book, especially Aenea, who is an aerialist in the circus, but also all of the smaller characters, who each had their own unique roll to play in putting on a show Despite this, I would have preferred it if there wastime dedicated tocircus members and their back stories, but I understand how this could have disrupted the pace of the novel for a lot of people Maybe I'm just being greedy! I never tend to take much notice to the romance in books (especially in YA), however I actually adored the romance in this novel and there was no instalove It waslighthearted and slowly built, which I feel a romance should be at the beginning stages and not confessing your love for each other after two weeks, like some other Young Adult books *eyerolls* I also found Gene to be highly likable in this respect as she was often kind and calculated, but also selfish when she needed to be and put herself first, which is something I personally admire in protagonists Despite all of this, I do have a few little quibbles In the beginning stages of the Novel , I found it very hard to picture the main character, which is never normally a problem for me! It was only half way through, when there was a description of Micah's Auburn hair that I started to get a solid image in my mind I don't know if I missed some earlier description, but it definitely bugged me a little bit I also wish there was slightlyworld building I don't think the world building was bad by any means, but I just wish there was a little ! This could just be a personal preference, as I know not everyone cares for lengthy descriptions of places and lore, but I do :D Also, I understand how this is the first in a trilogy and I hope that a lot of things mentioned will come into play in the later installments Another thing to note is that this book switches between the past and the present a fair bit, which I personally don't like in books, as I prefer a chronological narrative However as I read on I adapted and understood the reasons behind this choice in structure and it actually kinda worked for me by the middle stages.I do think that these issues are very minor and down to my own personal preference and not objective flaws to the story itself and should by no means put you off giving this book a shot! If you love circuses, or just want a fun YA book then look no further! Or if you want to read Caraval then I'd recommend this instead :D I'm not salty over that book I swear ;)Via Original review posted on The Book SmugglersAna’s Take:I will start by simply saying: Pantomime’s cover copy is supremely misleading One would think that this is a runofthemill 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 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.An intersex teen, Iphigenia Laurus, or Gene, raised as the daughter of a noble family, is uncomfortable in corsets and crinoline, and prefers climbing trees to debutante balls Gene’s parents wish to force a decision on which gender Gene will spend the rest of Gene’s life as, so Gene runs away from home, assumes the identity of 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.Now, doesn’t that sound infinitely better? You’re welcome There is a discussion to be had about whether my reworded summary is spoilery or not but since we don’t really think this impacts on the reading of the book AT ALL, we moved this discussion to the Additional Thoughts below.So, Pantomime It’s mostly a very familiar comingofage story set against the backdrop of a Fantastical world that hints to longforgotten magic and knowledge and whose “different” protagonist joins the circus.Of course, what makes it really distinct is the fact that the protagonist is intersex with very particular struggles that sets Micah/Gene apart I absolutely loved Micah/Gene as a character butthan that I absolutely loved and appreciated the care given to Micah/Gene’s storyarc The story alternates between past and present and presents Gene/Micah’s history as a mix of shame and acceptance (specially the brother Cyril), the terrible ordeals with doctors and potential suitors, the need to keep secrets Most of all it portrays sensitively Micah/Gene’s attempts to understand, define and accept not only hir own body but hir own identity How does hir body impact on hir gender identity? Is Micah/Gene, a boy, a girl, both, or neither?Further, I loved how the story makes it very clear that there is an intricate but separate relationship between not only body and gender identity but also between the latter and the roles traditionally attributed to different genders So for example: if Micah/Gene feels she is a girl but doesn’t like “girly” things like sewing and dancing does that make any her less of a girl? Can he identify as a boy if he likes dresses? What if Micah/Gene feels like hir is both? Gender identity is also different from sexual identity and thankfully this is also treated separately here and it seems that Micah might actually be bi, feeling attracted to both male and female And that attraction shows up in the narrative in a very cool, uncomplicated way so for example when sexually aroused Micah/Gene mentions both penile and nipple erections.For me, Micah/Gene’s arc and portrayal is the novel’s main point and its claim to success.That said, I am not so sure about the rest of the novel and the way that Micah/Gene’s personal narrative intersects with that of the Circus as well as with the overall Fantastical background For most of the book, as much as I appreciated Micah/Gene’s arc, I felt that the book was going nowhere There is a world building that seemed interesting – with the longforgotten magic and different mythologies – but barely touched upon to the point where it makes Pantomime read like a prequel, and this feeling becomes stronger upon the novel’s cliffhanger ending There is a question of pacing as well, very slow chapters leading to a monumentally hectic ending.Finally, in spite of the care given to Micah/Gene’s portrayal I am unsure about the “magical” nature that intersex characters might have in the context of the novel’s worldbuilding It is hinted that intersex beings have existed in the past and where considered the epitome of the “complete” human and where worshipped as Gods This is in a way extremely empowering BUT doesn’t underlining differences reinforce otherness? I am curious and intrigued to see how the story proceeds and how the treatment of this mythology is examined in the sequel.As an aside: Pantomime also made me think of Circuses books in general and how interesting it is to see that most books about circuses show them as a haven, a safe place for outsiders and “freaks” when reallife circus – specially the “Freak Shows” – were anything but Coincidentally, just yesterday there was an article online about a woman’s seemingly terrible, harrowing existence as the “ugliest woman on Earth”, whose mummified body was just recently allowed a final resting place.Overall, in spite of any misgivings, I truly enjoyed Pantomime and especially the protagonist’s incredible journey.Thea’s Take:I have to fully, completely, 100% agree with Ana’s assessment The marketing copy for this book frankly bothers me Deeply The copy does sound like this is a story about two struggling runaways that either a) Fall in Love and find each other thanks to a Magical Circus (yes, because all circuses are romantic and magical); or b) Discover they are long lost Magical Siblings, who will together unlock the secret magic of the past We will discuss this at length below, but it bears mentioning again:This is not even remotely what Pantomime is about.So Onto the rest: Pantomime features an intersex protagonist and details Gene/Micah’s arc as both a young noblewoman debutante, and an aspiring trapeze acrobat (aerialist) at Bal’s traveling circus Gene is raised as a girl, put into dresses and ribbons, taught to dance and play music and embroider, while zir mother drags her to physician after physician looking for a “cure.”2 As Micah, Gene reinvents zirself as a boy and makes a daring leap to join the circus as an apprentice Aerialist Here, Micah is hazed as a newcomer and hides zir past – but it is here that Micah feels happier andcomplete than ze ever has before Where Pantomime excels is in Gene/Micah’s character – like Ana says, Laura Lam does a fantastic job of creating a nuanced, relatable character who is struggling with enormous issues of identity and finding zir place in the world, and accepting zirself I love that Gene/Micah is an intersex character that is both male and female, that does not want a sacrifice or a “cure.” And, as Ana mentions, Gene/Micah is attracted to both men and women, loves dancing and music just as much as ze loves climbing trees and racing through the woods The questions of selfperception, selfacceptance, and selfworth are all examined indepth with Pantomime, and I loved ever step of Gene/Micah’s heartbreaking, wonderful arc as a character The other characters are pretty great too – my favorites being Gene’s brother Cyril and the clown Drystan (ok, aerialist Aenea, too).On the plotting side, however, things start to get a littlemuddled The book alternates between Gene (past) and Micah’s (present) storylines – we see Gene as ze struggles with zir societal debut as a marriageable young woman, and we see Micah as ze fights to earn zir place in the Circus I like the alternating style of the book and the way the novel builds to join the two storylines, as we finally learn why Gene runs away from home and becomes Micah It is a horrific, heartbreaking reveal and I think done very well That said…the two storylines drag out a little bit too long (Gene’s in particular), and there is some clunkiness when it comes to the integration of the two, especially where the fantasy elements are concerned Similarly, the frenetic ending of the book after such a long slow overlapping series of alternating chapters feels…abrupt Similarly, the setting of the circus is really well done, but it’s kind of tired – a magical circus, capturing the wonder of all who enter has been done, and done, and done.There is one real concern and problem I have with the book: the fantasy elements While these elements of the book are interesting, they are not particularly well fleshed out (and for the vast majority of the book aren’t even necessary) Pantomime is set in a land called Ellada, where ancient magical ancestors left behind artifacts (Vestige) whose workings are mysteriously shrouded to Ellada’s now human and decidedly nonmagical inhabitants As part of the magical cast of gods that existed to create this land, there are a group of demigods called Kedi – both male and female, and according to the Byssians, believed to be the only creature that is ever complete The Kedi are super strong, with heightened senses, and believed never to be ill, and worshiped alongside the Chimaera (divine humans mixed with animals – mermaids, minotaurs, men with wings).And this is the real, significant problem I have with Pantomime, because this awesome, wonderfully portrayed intersex main character is ultimately made to be something magical and actually compared to mermaids and centaurs Intersex people exist They are real people Making them magical does reinforce otherness, and this deeply bothered me At the same time, I understand that the intentions here are good, and that one could interpret Gene/Micah’s unique magical abilities as a positive and empowering message Personally? It bothers me.Overall, Pantomime is a wonderfully written book, with a fantastic main character and I truly enjoyed reading it…with some reservations Definitely recommended, and I will be around to read the next book in the series.Additional Thoughts:As promised: we wanted to talk about the misleading blurb and the hidden LGBTQ aspect of the novel which from what we gather has been treated as a “spoiler” and a “twist” as a marketing decision.This unfortunately does not sit that well with us First of all, it is slightly disingenuous because there isn’t really a twist at all – it is very clear from the get go that Micah and Gene are the same person so it doesn’t even make sense that blurb leads to believe that they are two different people To try and play this as well as the fact that Micah/Gene is intersex as a secretive plot twist is to expect this news to be shocking and mindblowing To us, this reads at best as exploitative and at worst as playing into the selffulfilling assumption that readers need to be tricked into reading a LGBTQ novel.The “secret” surrounding the intersex character also frustrates us in the way that it makes it difficult for people interested in LGBTQ themes to find this novel and it shouldn’t be Cass, reader/reviewer of mostly LGBTQfocused LitFic and nonfiction at Bounjour,Cass recently wrote a guest post for Smugglivus in which she was bemoaning exactly how difficult it is to find LGBTQ books:For whatever reason (which I would encourage debate on), publishers are still wary of promoting YA (and even mainstream adult titles) by mentioning sexual orientation or gender identity Muddling through , catalogs, Netgalley, and websites that discuss LGBTQ books, I realized how extremely difficult it was going to be to form a list that didn’t involve me writing, “I’m PRETTY sure, based on hints from the blurb and some guessing based on my knowledge of other blurbs from books I know contain LGBTQ characters, that this book features a character.”The other hint [commonly found] is “deepest, darkest secret,” which when it’s not referring to werewolves or vampires generally means “gay” (and, less often, “transgender”).(…)It shouldn’t be that difficult to find books.Micah/Gene’s story is wonderful and it would have been great if the truth of this character had been out and proud in the blurb of the novel. 5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum 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 starcrossed love between a daughter from a noble family and a lowborn circus scalawag, perhaps But no, no, no, that's just all wrong!That's the problem with publisher descriptions, I suppose I understand about wanting to save some surprises for the book I get that, I do But it's another thing when it makes a book sound so average and conventional, when in reality it's anything but! Hiding behind the official synopsis here is a story that's a lotsignificant and extraordinary Yes, I was surprised and I loved this book for being so muchthan its description But on the other hand, had I know earlier what Pantomime is really about, then maybe I wouldn't have shrugged it off as just another YA romance and waited so long to get to it!Having said that, I am now at a dilemma How do I talk about how much I enjoyed this one without giving the story away? After all, I did just criticize the description for misrepresenting the book, and yet here I am being vague At the same time, I was really surprised when revelation about the characters hit me, and spoiler or not, I wouldn't dream of taking that away from anyone else thinking of picking up this book I loved the storyfor it, and it's definitely something you have to read for yourself Or bah, who knows, maybe the secret is actually common knowledge by now Suffice it to say, I'm sure there are many other reviews out there that have divulged it if you're still curious and want to know, but you probably won't be getting the details from me.What I will say though, is how impressed I am with the character development and how this comingofage story deals with matters of sexuality and identity These are issues portrayed with sensitivity and attention, as well as the associated emotions that come along with the characters' struggles to understand what they want versus what society expects of them There's action and drama and romance in Pantomime, but at its heart is a very unique journey of selfdiscovery and selfacceptance, and ultimately it's this aspect that sets this book apart and makes it so special.I'm also a sucker for circuses, especially in fantasy stories What an amazing setting and community Laura Lam has created here, complete with atmosphere and all the cultural dynamics What's incredible is how she so perfectly captures the magical nature of a circus, without actually including much of what we'd think of as traditional magic And yet there are plenty of other fantastical elements, and I find myself intrigued by the rich history of Ellada as well as the mysteries of Vestige Still, nothing quite beats the vivid descriptions of the circus along with the performers and their acts.As Angry Robot's YA imprint, Strange Chemistry has come a long way since its launch I find some of their older titles to be pretty decent, though a few of theirrecent books have been just incredible I've always attributed that to the publisher gradually coming to find its groove over the last year Little did I expect though, that I would find such a gem in Pantomime amongst some of their earliest publications It is simply wonderful. 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, notfullyunderstood magic prevailing And the classic adolescent question, Who am I, really?There is obviouslyto come in this story, but there is still a satisfying arc, and promise for muchof the world to unfold. Comments on this thread are heavily moderated, meaning I am triggerhappy 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 rereleased with a new book description So half of this review doesn't apply any, but I'll just leave it up as it is for record's sake (And no, I did not petition the author or publisher or anything.)How the Description is Offensive (to me)I’m offended that the description for Pantomime misled me into thinking this was a story about starcrossed lovers It is not THIS IS NOT A SPOILER; I repeat, THIS IS NOT A SPOILER! Gene and Micah are the same person This is a story about an intersex protagonist THIS IS NOT A SPOILER!Misleading description is misleading and offensive on two fronts.THIS IS NOT A SPOILER! 1st frontIt deceive readers because you think you're getting a YA romance when in fact it's a YA fantasy Yes, I did assume it's a YA romance, but let me ask you this If the description mentions a boy and a girl character, and the story is YA, and most YA nowadays, as in 99% of them, that mentions a boy and a girl characters are YA romances, can you honestly tell me my assumption is unreasonable?There is a romance subplot in Pantomime, but it's not a romance book The plot focuses on Gene and Micah but they're the same and one person Pantomime is a YA fantasy.To me this is the equivalent of reading a YA dystopian for the dystopian part when in fact the dystopian part is only 5% of the book at the most while 95% of it is ridiculous instalove romance 2nd frontIt smack of homophobia because there's no hint anywhere on the cover or in the description, especially the description, that it's an LGBT book unless you read reviews, “spoilers” reviews Treating something a reader learn about the protagonist at The Very Beginning, especially when the protagonist is LGBT and there is a history of marginalization of LGBT people and whatnot, as a secret is disrespectful to say the least.Not to mention the implication that readers have to be tricked in order to read about an LGBT individual.You know what this is called? Motherfucking straightwashing Well, just straightwashing but I added the motherfucking in to express my rage my 2cents, take it or leave itI do not believe for a second that the author nor the publisher intended the misleading description to be interpreted as so, but interpreted by me it did What I do believe is that it's a very, Very Poor Marketing Decision.I would understand why the description prevaricate the protagonist’s “secret” if it was not for the heavy clues dropped from The Very Beginning: the narrative voice, the red hair, the big brother, and the acrobatic talent Micah and Gene shared And oh yeah, there were also the malelike body parts Gene had and how traditionally male she acted I mean, seriously You would have to be very disengaged from the book to not make the connection At 20% of the book, it was bluntly pointed out that Micah was Gene in a way that suggested if you haven’t realize it you’re dense or very bored and thus very inattentive to the book or couldn’t care less This was in no way some twist revealed at the end like the unmasking of the murderer in a mystery novel.The protagonist was the best part of the book, and I feel strongly that the description should have been upfront about his LGBT trait I understand some readers would not want to read LGBT YA books because there is a belief that such books are usually issue books, dark and depressing, life is a bitch and then you die However, the description could have avoided that by emphasizing the fantasy part of the book because that is what the book was about anyway.I am well aware of the great possibility that I may be the only one who have this interpretation because, let's face it, I'm almost always in the minority opinion when it comes to ratings and reviews Still, it's my 2cents, a very important 2cents, and I'm letting it be known.What The Book Is AboutPantomime is about Micah who runs away from home to the circus only to later end up in big trouble there too He has an unrevealed destiny that could change the world, but he first got to survive circus life The circus is like Hollywood Behind all that fame and glam, bad shit is happening.Pantomime is a dazzling YA fantasy It is not an issue book like, well, anything by Ellen Hopkins.Why I Love MicahBarring the description of the book, not a thing written in the book offended me Pantomime dealt with intersexuality in a respectful and preferably non heavyhearted manner I loved how the book made Micahthan about his intersexuality, that it was in the way of “this is how Micah is different but readers can relate to him anyway even though they don’t share his difference because everyone has something different about them that caused an issue for them.” It was easy for me to relate to Micah.Micah felt real and tangible; he had an all around elegant character development I liked his silent courage and his won’tletshitpullmedownI’llbeokay attitude His kickassness was subtle but no less awesome.What I Didn’t Like the love triangleI liked Aenea and Drystan, but I didn’t like the love triangle I quickly established myself as Team Drystan because Micah had a brighter future with him than with Aenea Micah had many things in common with Drystan, and most importantly they were honest with each other later in the book.Aenea, on the other hand, shared intimate details of her life which Micah did not reciprocate Thus, it was absolutely no surprise that later in a revelation scene she felt betrayed One thing I did not expect was how permanent things were going to be with Aenea.Regardless, It was very predictable how the love triangle was going to be resolved, i.e which romantic interest would win The book would have been better off without the love triangle in the first place I get that one of the reasons it existed was to show how Micah could be attracted to both sexes, that sexual orientation was a large nonissue and apart from Micah’s gender identity I liked that about Micah, his clarity of love and attraction However, passing attractions to strangers would have accomplished the same.Poor girl, as if she had not suffered enough shit Micah should have kept his relationship with Aenea platonic That was one of the few things I did not like about Micah the overextensive flashbacksThe plot alternated between the present and past, when Micah is Micah and when Micah is Gene respectively For the first half of the book, I didn’t mind the flashbacks despite them being the singular reason for the slow pacing I can plainly see the necessity for backstory building and character development.But by the last half of the book, I quickly tired of it I didn’t find the flashbacks to be necessary any, and my patience for the slow pacing reached its limit I wanted the book to focus on the action in the present plot where things were heating up the domestic violenceIt was a background issue I didn’t like how it was kept as a background issue I didn’t like how no one helped the victim except for passing concerns I didn’t like how the issue was later pulled to the front stage for a climactic confrontation where the victim’s fate was revealed like some cheap conflict How it ended bombs, inways than one the cliffhangerThe ending was a cliffhanger Things were finally getting epic, and the book forced me to wait for the sequel to see our heroes’ fate I felt cheated I felt like the book finally gave me pure awesomeness to chew on, but then at the last moment, when it was at my fingertips, ripped it away from my reach Cheated and steamed I was mad to the point where I seriously considered downgrading the book’s star rating a full star level.In ConclusionI rate Pantomime 3stars for I liked it I came to this book hesitantly because it sounded like the YA version of The Night Circus, a book that I hold no interest for, let alone a YA version of it Yet I decided to read Pantomime anyway because of the rave reviews Great writing, vivid world building, and enchanting characters, the book merits the rave.That said, I recommend waiting for the sequel to read the books back to back. I love this cover When I saw it, I was like, Cover lady, you look so great, you can shush me anytime.