Author: Laura Lam
Series Status: 1st book in the Micah Grey Trilogy
# of pages: 386
My rating: 4.5/5 stars
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 abilities – last seen in mysterious beings from an almost-forgotten age. Matters escalate further when her parents plan a devastating betrayal, so she flees home, dressed as a boy.
The 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?
I have finally read this book and I am so happy. When I started making a Diversity Bingo for this year this was probably the book I was most excited for. I’ve never read a book with a gender fluid main character and especially not a fantasy. Anything that involves diversity within a fantasy book is always going to be added to the top of my TBR.
This book was incredible in so many ways. Starting with the main character, who is born Iphigenia Laurus, but is actually an inter-sexual character who prefers to be called Gene. Gene does not know whether or Gene is a boy or girl and this is the set up for the main plot line. This is what I loved about the book. Gene prefers feminine and masculine things in everyday life and since Gene has both reproductive organs is not sure of what gender they fall. I was drawn in by this as the main plot and loved seeing the self discovery that happens to Gene over the course of the story. While Gene may not know their gender, Gene’s mom has decided Gene is in fact female and is trying very hard to forcibly make this so. This causes Gene to run off and join the circus under the alias ‘Micah Grey’ and pretend to be male for the sake of safety.
I also loved that this book was slower in pace and events but did not feel dragging or boring in any way. Instead I found myself enjoying the calming pace and it causing me to get a deeper understanding of Gene/Micah through it.
Probably the only down side I had was that this book hints at magical or supernatural presences and doesn’t flesh them out. I’m hoping with the rest of the series it will be fleshed out but whenever a fantasy hints toward a magical ability but then doesn’t do anything with it, it always disappoints me.
I did however begin to enjoy Lam’s writing style because her world building felt vivid to me. It started off rocky and I wasn’t preferring it but then after twenty or so pages I felt like the writing just clicked and I suddenly was able to be pulled into the world. I don’t know if the style was anything special when it wasn’t world building but I still really enjoyed it.
Overall I loved this book and it is a new favorite because of it’s amazing gender fluidity and intersex main character.