Book Reviews

Review: “Magic Under Glass,” Jaclyn Dolamore

March 8, 2011
Review: “Magic Under Glass,” Jaclyn DolamoreMagic Under Glassby Jaclyn Dolamore
Series: Magic Under #1
Published by Bloomsbury on December, 2009
Genres: Faeries, Historical, Steampunk
Pages: 225

Nimira is a music-hall performer forced to dance for pennies to an audience of leering drunks. When wealthy sorcerer Hollin Parry hires her to do a special act – singing accompaniment to an exquisite piano-playing automaton, Nimira believes it is the start of a new life. In Parry’s world, however, buried secrets stir.

Unsettling below-stairs rumours abound about ghosts, a mad woman roaming the halls, and of Parry’s involvement in a gang of ruthless sorcerers who torture fairies for sport. When Nimira discovers the spirit of a dashing young fairy gentleman is trapped inside the automaton’s stiff limbs, waiting for someone to break the curse and set him free, the two fall in love. But it is a love set against a dreadful race against time to save the entire fairy realm, which is in mortal peril.

I first heard about Magic Under Glass when I watched Jaclyn Dolamore’s live question and answer session at the author retreat in Branson. I was instantly intrigued and picked up a copy as soon as I was able to find one! I was pleasantly surprised with what I found inside the pages. Jaclyn Dolamore’s writing is something to be envious of!

Jaclyn Dolamore has such beautiful writing. I even twittered her about it! The way she weaves words and manages to convey a setting in the simplest of ways astounds me. You immediately feel immersed in Nimira’s world.

My favourite parts would have to be the interaction between Nimira and the automaton (and fairy prince!), Erris. I loved the way he’d spell out what he wanted to say on his piano keys and she’d decipher them! Their relationship definitely wasn’t boring in the slightest and I found myself eagerly awaiting their next encounter.

The other characters in this story are quite shady. I didn’t particularly like Hollin, even though he had his good sides. I liked his wife, however, and Linza the maid. I would have liked to explore Hollin’s magic a little more, as well as the history of his family and his father’s dark motives. Though, there is a sequel (yay!) called Magic Under Stone, which comes out next year. So perhaps we’ll delve into that part then, if not we certainly have a lot of adventuring to do with Nimira and Erris in their quest to free him from the evil clutches of a wind-up body!

I class this book as historical, even though the ‘world’ is one of fantasy. I think New Sweeling resembles London a lot, and the fashion, culture and way of talking reminds me of the Victorian era, as well as the way people of high standing treat Nimira and her heritage. We also start off in a shabby theatre hall with a performance troupe before being swept away to a sprawling, gothic mansion.

Thankfully, though there is the existence of fairies, there isn’t a lot of fairy politics in this one, so it’s not really a heavy fae-orientated YA fantasy story. That was a big bonus for me because I’m feeling kind of lethargic after reading numerous YA fae novels lately. Magic Under Glass seems to have a genre of its own.

But, I think, the main draw for this novel (for me) is Jaclyn Dolamore’s way with words. If you haven’t yet checked out Magic Under Glass, you definitely should give it a go. It’s not a long read, so really, there’s nothing to lose!

Recommended to: Anyone wanting a light and entertaining read.

About Jaclyn Dolamore

Jaclyn Dolamore was homeschooled in a hippie sort of way and spent her childhood reading as many books as her skinny nerd-body could lug from the library and playing elaborate pretend games with her sister Kate. She skipped college and spent eight years drudging through retail jobs, developing her thrifty cooking skills and pursuing a lifelong writing dream. She has a passion for history, thrift stores, vintage dresses, David Bowie, drawing, and organic food. She lives with her partner and plot-sounding-board, Dade, and two black tabbies who have ruined her carpeting.

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