[EDIT I've been able to get my excitable paws on an ARC of Pantomime's Sequel Shadowplay which is out in January. My review can be found at [...] but please be aware it contains spoilers for Pantomime]
I'm not Pantomime's audience. I'm in my thirties. That's so old, the closest things we had to YA as teenagers were Sweet Valley High and the Point Horror books. So, with this I expected to read a book which was slightly annoying because when you're 30 odd all YA is to some degree. If it wasn't annoying, it wouldn't be about an authentic 16-18 year-old. Yes, this is my backhanded compliment, YA authors. I wanted to read it though because Laura is a vague internet friend via AbsoluteWrite (and if she's reading this and wondering which one I am over there: naff off Lam, reviews are not for authors), but also (and mainly) because the main character is intersex.
Raised as a girl, Iphigenia Laurus joins the circus as the male Micah Gray. The narrative is split between Summer (as Micah at the circus) and Spring (as Iphigenia, struggling with being a noble's daughter). Not a great deal happens, but the tension in Iphigenia's sections as she prepares for her Débutante ball is well done and engaging, and Micah's parts are studded with the colour of the circus. I'd have criticisms of the language and the lightness (and convenience) with which some of the more logistical aspects are dealt with, but I feel they are down to the genre rather than the writing. I really liked how Micah's gender impacts the obligatory YA love triangle. My biggest criticism is for the plot which I felt lacked any real direction or urgency until the last 20% or so when the pace really picked up.
It's an interesting book, but I felt (at first) it read more like a prequel than the first of a series, especially as it's not as standalone as something like The Hunger Games is. Book 2 - Shadowplay - is out in January. Once there are several books to read and the bigger overall story comes into play, this will likely be a strength.
I am incredibly frustrated with that blurb. It has virtually nothing to do with the plot has very little to do with the book. Imagine the back cover of Harry Potter failing to mention [SPOILER ALERT] Harry is a wizard.
I'm giving this one three stars (with a mental 3.5 stars for that last 20%). It says a lot about that last 20% that I would have gone to check out the sequel straight away if it was already out. If you're not 30 odd, you can probably make that 4 stars.