I’ve written a short summary of the main events in Pantomime to refresh people’s memory before Shadowplay. I know I have a rotten memory when it comes to books, even if I really enjoy them.
However, the summary is fine, but doesn’t really come alive as much as I’d like. So I was thinking it’d be cool if people would comment with scenes they liked and go into more detail about them. What scene in Pantomime stuck in your head? Please post. I’ll feel so sad if there are no comments! 😉
So, without further ago, the Pantomime summary…it, quite obviously, has lots of spoilers!
HERE BE SPOILERS.
Previously, on Pantomime…
Iphigenia Laurus, or Gene, is the 16-year-old daughter of a prominent noble family, the Lauruses. She’d far rather climb trees with her brother, Cyril, and his best friend, Oswin. Gene’s mother, however, would rather her behaving as a proper young woman about to be debuted into society should. When Gene goes to an afternoon tea and Damien Hornbeam discovers her secret, that she was born both male and female, she wonders if she’ll ever feel comfortable in corsets and crinolines and fit into high society.
Gene quietly rebels by climbing scaffolding in the city. One time she takes her brother, and as they sit on a Penglass dome as the sun sets, Gene discovers that she can make the mysterious blue glass glow beneath her touch. A terrible accident results in Cyril breaking his arm and Gene leaves a streak of light behind her as she slides down Penglass to come to his rescue.
During Gene’s debutante ball, when Damien shuns her, she retreats into herself, but her friend Oswin cheers her up. Yet only a few days later, Gene overhears her parents discussing their plan to let the doctors operate to make her appear entirely female – and they’re not planning on telling her they’re doing it. Gene, with the help of her brother and dressed as a boy, runs away from everything she’s ever known.
Life on the streets of Imachara is not easy. She steals, lives in a hovel, is beaten up, and has her money stolen. A spice merchant named Mister Illari briefly takes her in before she is back on the streets with nowhere to go. There, on the beach, she sees the bright lights of the circus, purchases a ticket, and enters the big top.
Micah sees R.H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic and watches the show, falling under its spell before exploring the carnival and the freak show tents. When eavesdropping on the circus members after the rubes have gone home, the white clown, Drystan, catches him. At first, the ringmaster thinks he’s a spy, but Micah decides to audition and convinces them to let him join. However, he has to work his way up to a performer, and starts out as a lowly worker, hazed by the other circus members. Aenea, one of the aerialists, shows him the ropes, and before long, he begins to fall for her and she for him, while Micah is confused over his feelings for the white clown, Drystan.
As he tries to sort out his emotions and settle into his new life, his past as Iphigenia haunts him. A Shadow, or private investigator, snoops around the circus. Micah also begins to learn more about Ellada and the role he may have in it: a hologram of a Phantom Damselfly speaks to him, calling him a Kedi, the same name of a mythical being the spice merchant Mister Illari told him about.
Micah tries to keep his head down, focusing on the circus, as they move from Sicion to the small town of Cowl to practice for the big show in Imachara, the capital of Ellada. But the ringmaster’s growing rage and instability puts the circus as risk. Soon, some people leave or are thrown out, and eventually, even the ringmaster’s wife goes missing.
Determined to make the circus the best show in Ellada, the ringmaster decides to interweave the pantomime play of Leander & Iona throughout the circus, and Micah is cast as Iona and Drystan as Leander. In Imachara, Micah and Aenea grow closer, even going for a date in the city to the Mechanical Museum of Antiquities and seeing the Vestige artefacts on display, including a clockwork woman who speaks to Micah. Cyril, Gene’s brother, comes to a circus performance and tries to convince Micah to return home, but Micah refuses, not wanting to go back to his old life.
Just as the season is coming to an end, Micah tells Aenea and Drystan about his sex, and Aenea is far more hurt that she lied, whereas Drystan is inscrutable as ever. After the last pantomime performance, Micah is drugged and wakes up in the ringmaster’s cart. The ringmaster has discovered Micah’s true identity and blackmails him for money to save the dying circus.
Micah escapes his bonds and there is a struggle. Drystan and Aenea come to save him, but in the struggle, Aenea is killed and Drystan strikes the ringmaster with his own cane, killing him. Now fugitives, Drystan and Micah flee R.H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic. However, the clowns, angry at their betrayal, follow him. It’s the Penmoon, and as they’re cornered, Micah remembers what the clockwork woman said to him. He rests both hands on Penglass and it glows so brightly it blinds the clowns, and Micah and Drystan escape.
The circus in ruins behind them, grief-stricken Drystan and Micah take to the streets of Imachara and hope that somehow they can make amends for what has happened. Drystan says he knows someone who may be able to take them in: a magician.
Gene Laurus/Micah Grey: Our protagonist.
R.H. Ragona: The ringmaster of the circus: power-hungry, drunk, violent, and prone to gambling. Built the circus from nothing and will stop at nothing to keep it.
Drystan Hornbeam: The White Clown of the circus and leader of the clowns. Also an estranged son of one of the most powerful families in Ellada, the Hornbeams. He left under mysterious circumstances.
Aenea Harper: the aerialist in the circus who helps teach Micah the ropes, and then becomes a love interest.
Arik (real unfortunate name: Regar Bupnik): The older aerialist in the circus, who hopes Micah will take over for him when he retires.
Jive: The red clown, and the main person responsible for Micah’s hazing.
Cyril Laurus: Gene’s brother and staunch supporter.
Oswin Hawthorne: Cyril’s friend