"Still, if I had a purpose, surely it must be to save Erris, and even Hollin himself. I had come to Lorinar to seek my fortune, but in four years, I had found nothing like fortune. I might as well have stayed in Tiansher if my life was to be an endless round of seedy halls and pennies for pay, watching the songs of my country lose their potency as they toughed indifferent ears. This was my chance to be something more, my chance to act."
-MAGIC UNDER GLASS by Jaclyn Dolamore
Bloomsbury, December 22nd, 2009
Nimira is a music-hall girl sed to dancing for pennies. So when wealthy sorcerer Hollin Parry hires her to sing accompaniment to a mysterious piano-playing automaton, Nimira believes it will be the start of a better life. In Parry's world, long-burried secrets are about to stir. Unsettling rumors begin to swirl about ghosts, a madwoman roaming the halls, and Parry's involvement with a league of sorcerers who torture fairies for sport. When Nimira discovers that the spirit of a dashing fairy gentleman is trapped within the automaton, she is determined to break the curse. But even as the two fall into a love that seems hopeless, breaking the curse becomes a perilous race against time. Because it's not just the future of these star-crossed lovers that's at stake, but the fate of the entire magical world.
After being intrigued by the cover art, I contacted Bloomsbury books, who graciously sent me a review copy of MAGIC UNDER GLASS. When I recieved the book and read the back cover (above), I immediately put down whatever I was reading, pushed my homework aside and started in on this story.
However, when I continued to read, I found myself slightly disapointed. I am not going to say that I didn't enjoy this book. That would be a lie. I very much enjoyed it. The fact of the matter is that I found that I was not able to relate to anything going on in the main character, Nimira's, life, something that I find very important when writing fantasy.
The writing itself of the story added to this idea as well. Although extraordinarily beautiful and classic, the writing felt so remote to the world today that the characters and story felt even more distant.
That is not to say that I didn't love the writing style. Even though I felt it did make the story more remote, the words themselves added depth and detail to the story, making the fictional world in which the story took place to become unique, full and complete. The writing style also drove the story along. Sometimes, I felt as if the writing was a plot point in itself, something I have never before seen. Props to Jaclyn on making the book so beautiful in this regard.
The story itself was intriguing and unique. First off, the love interest, Erris, isn't even human. And when I say he isn't human, I don't mean he is a vampire or a werewolf or some other creature that children run from screaming. I mean he isn't alive. He is an object called an automaton, or a clockwork man. You know those little wind-up toys that you get as a kid that make wierd noises and jump around on the table? Yeah, Nimira falls in love with one of those, except there is someone trapped inside of it, who communicates with Nimira through a piano.
Another layer to the plot is the goings on in the house itself. Between Hollin, the master of the house, the crazy lady who roams the halls and the dynamic casts of maids, you are never bored even though 75 percent of the story takes place in the same Beauty and the Beast like castle. Not to mention the characters who don't live in the Hollin mainsion, such as the antagonist, the sorcerer Smollings.
The book itself was a quick read with a plot that wasn't at all repetitive or overdone in YA. A breath of fresh air, if you will. I was intrigued until the very end, and, although I am not compelled to read it over and over again, it was still a book worth reading.
Thank you Jaclyn for sharing your story with me and the rest of the world. Also, thank you Bloomsbury for sending me this ARC!
If you all haven't entered the contest to win a signed copy of Melissa De La Cruz's BLUE BLOODS, please do so! The link is posted in the contest box above this post. Also, I hope all of you guys have a safe and happy holiday!!!
More to come,