Monday, March 11, 2013

Mini Reviews: Pantomime by Laura Lam and Bruised by Sarah Skilton

From Goodreads: R. H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic is the greatest circus of Ellada. Nestled among the glowing blue Penglass- remnants of a mysterious civilization 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. 

My Rating: 3.5 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: Laura Lam’s Pantomime wasn’t at all like what I was expecting based off the synopsis! I thought I’d be reading about two characters slowly falling love at a circus a la The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Instead, the main characters in Pantomime have a surprising secret that leads the reader to think about gender identity and sexual orientation. I was also expecting Pantomime to be a standalone and so wasn’t prepared for the cliffhanger ending. Overall, although I really enjoyed the circus setting and the world of Ellada, I always felt somewhat disconnected from the characters and found the flashbacks in the latter half of the story to be distracting.                                

Pantomime was released in February 2013 by Strange Chemistry. 

In exchange for an honest review, this book was received from the publisher (Angry Robot) for free via NetGalley. 

From Goodreads: When Imogen, a sixteen-year-old black belt in Tae Kwon Do, freezes during a holdup at a local diner, the gunman is shot and killed by the police, and she blames herself for his death. Before the shooting, she believed that her black belt made her stronger than everyone else - more responsible, more capable. But now her sense of self has been challenged and she must rebuild her life, a process that includes redefining her relationship with her family and navigating first love with the boy who was at the diner with her during the shootout.  

My Rating: 3 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: Bruised by Sarah Skilton was a book I struggled to finish. It’s not that I didn’t like it, but I just couldn’t care about Imogen for some reason. By extension therefore, I didn’t care about Imogen’s family problems, the fact that she was suffering from PTSD, or her bland romance. While reading Bruised, I couldn’t understand why Imogen felt guilty about freezing up and hiding when someone came in the local diner with a gun. I don’t think there’s any shame in that kind of reaction – even if you know tae kwan do. 

Bruised was released by Amulet on March 5, 2013.

In exchange for an honest review, this book was received from the publisher (ABRAMS) for free via NetGalley.  


  1. Yeah, the synopsis for Pantomime isn't the best... but I guess they didn't want to spoil anything so they couldn't say what it was really about? I really liked the circus setting, too - which makes me a bit worried if I'll still like the sequel when it won't be taking place in a circus. At least this time I'll be going into the sequel knowing what to expect, unlike with Pantomime!

    Too bad about Bruised. I have seen a number of positive reviews for it, but if you can't personally identify with the main character, then there's nothing much you can do about it. Bummer!

    As always, thanks for the reviews, Z!!

  2. I'm in the minority in that I didn't care for Night Circus at all. I thought the book was too heavy on description and light on plot, which is why I didn't bother requesting Pantomime. From your review, it doesn't look like I missed much.

    As for Bruised, for some reason the synopsis and cover didn't get my attention but I've been reading mixed reviews about this one. Not sure if I'll pick it up or not.

    Really hoping we get better reads soon, Z!

  3. Even though I really adored Bruised, I felt the need to point out several times in my review that she's a very unlikable character. I suppose it's safe to say that I liked her despite herself. I knew not everyone would feel like I did.
    I don't know what to think about Pantomime. I guess I WILL read it at some point.
    Great reviews.

  4. Every time I read the synopsis for Bruised, I have to wonder why Imogen would feel guilty about it. I thought the book would make that more evident, so it's a shame to hear that's not quite the case. I had mixed feelings about Pantomime, though I did like the originality, overall. I'm not entirely sure yet if I want to read the sequel, though. Great reviews, Z!

  5. I've read a myriad of really positive reviews for Bruised, so it's interesting to read your thoughts on it Z! I have it on my shelf and I'm excited to give it a try just because it's something different from what I typically read, but I'm hoping I'm able to connect with Imogen a bit more more than you were. Still, as always, I love getting your opinion!

  6. I'm really getting fed up with cliffhangers, why do all authors seem to feel the need for them now. And I'm like that too when I can't take to a character, then I just don't care about any to do with the book. Lovely reviews Z :)


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