Magic Under Glass (Magic Under, #1)by Published 22 Dec 2009
|Magic Under Glass (Magic Under, #1).pdf|
|Publisher||Bloomsbury USA Children's Books|
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.
Librarian's Note: This is an alternate cover edition for ISBN 9781599904306
"Magic Under Glass (Magic Under, #1)" Reviews
Nimira is a "trouser girl" singing and dancing for her living in Lorimar when she is approached by powerful sorceror Hollin Parry. Hollin wants to hire her to sing with the accompaniment of a life-sized, piano playing automaton he owns. His offer promises to change Nimira's life drastically for the better -- but there is a catch. Every other woman he has hired has run away, terrified of the automaton, which they insist is alive. Nimira takes the job, refusing to be afraid of an automaton, but when it comes alive for her, she finds herself in the center of a story of a fairy prince trapped in a wooden body, and a dangerous man who wants the prince dead -- and she must find a way to put things to rights.
When I won this book from WillowRaven of Red House Books, I was excited because I had seen it around and thought it sounded cute, but I figured it'd be a throw-away read. A cute little story about a fairy prince and the human girl who can save him, aww isn't that nice, the end. I didn't think I would find myself very invested in the story or the characters, and I didn't think I would be late coming back from my lunch break at work because I wanted to finish the chapter...
So Magic Under Glass surprised me. I actually genuinely liked it. Not unreservedly, but more than I expected to for sure. Nimira is an engaging heroine, and I absolutely loved how she communicated with the fairy prince/automaton. I also liked that things weren't completely easy for her in her feelings or her decision making, and that her foreign background wasn't dismissed, but there was some social/racial tension and some wistfulness for home. It added a layer of authenticity and depth to the story, so that even though it wasn't a main issue by any means, it helped paint the scene.
It's a very fast-paced book with a nice blend of feistiness, romance, magic and culture. The drawbacks for me were few, but they are big enough that they deserve a mention:
1. There is a blurb on the cover saying "For fans of Libba Bray and Charlotte Bronte" which amused me to no end at first. I assumed it was just because of the time-period of the book, and I was like, "Charlotte Bronte? Really? They're just going to throw that out there?" But when I got further into the book, I realized why that comparison was made. There is a strong resemblance to Jane Eyre in certain aspects of the book, which I can't go into without being completely spoilery. It didn't bother me much, and if you haven't read Jane Eyre, it won't bother you at all, but I am sure there are those of you who are going to read this and be a little pissed that it has a rip-off feel at times.
2. I felt the first 1/2 was better than the 2nd. Now, to be fair, I read a proof copy, so I don't know how mine differed from the finished version. But for me, with the ARC, the first 1/2 was gripping and fast in an enjoyable way, and really captivating. I liked the set-up of the world and getting to know Nimira, and everything flowed really well. In the second 1/2, I felt like the snowball was rolling a little too fast. I wanted better pacing, more of a chance to absorb what was going on and let everything develop. The second 1/2 wasn't bad by any means, but compared to the first, it felt like a little bit of a rush job.
Those 2 caveats aside, I really enjoyed this book. It was the light, fun read I expected, but with a little more oomph than I'd hoped for, and that's a good thing. If there is more coming (if this turns out to be a series, which it will, if the rumor mill is right) I will certainly pick up book 2, and I look forward to reading more from Dolamore in the future.
The audience didn’t understand a word we sang. They came to see our legs. As the posters said TROUSER GIRLS FROM THE LAND OF TASSIM! We were billed just underneath the acrobats and the trained dogs.
So begins Magic Under Glass, a debut novel by Jaclyn Dolamore (Bloomsbury, Dec ‘09). It follows Nimira, a music hall girl, a dark-skinned oddity in light-skinned Lorinar, as she leaves the security of the music hall for employment with the mysterious and dashing Hollins Parry. Mr. Parry wishes to retain her services to sing with a handsome automaton — a man-shaped clockwork machine that plays the piano when wound (sexy, right?). Apparently Mr. Parry has had some problems with retaining girls in the past as they insist the automaton is haunted. They claim it mumbles to them, which is admittedly terrifying, and then they run away.
Nimira, however, is no wimp. So when the clockwork man does his mumbling thing for her, she doesn’t go running to Mr. Parry. Instead, in a completely refreshing sequence where she doesn’t spend pages agonizing over what she really saw (a pet peeve of mine in fantasy), she gets over her shock and disbelief and settles down to business: finding out what . . . or who . . . the automaton is. And what he is a angst-puppy trapped in cogs and springs. In other words, my brand of fun.
The result is a whimsical, smart novel that is sort of like a cross between Howl’s Moving Castle and Jonathan Strange and Mister Norrell. The details are lovely, the voice consistent, the characters complex. And Nimira is refreshingly clever throughout. The ending is a bit muddled and weirdly paced, but it wasn’t enough to put me off my game. My biggest complaint was how short the book was — I could’ve been happily entertained for twice as long.
My verdict? I really enjoyed this novel now, but I have to tell you that, as a teen, I would’ve married this thing and had little clockwork babies. Highly recommended.
So I'm awfully late getting around to this one. But I could just never find a copy and then with all the cover issues it was in and out of stock everywhere for what seemed like ages. It sounded like a book I wanted to read right off the bat, despite the issues with cover and availability. Finally my family took pity on me and gave it to me for my birthday awhile back. And now that it's been nominated for the Cybils, I decided it was high time to find out what all the fuss was about. MAGIC UNDER GLASS is Jaclyn Dolamore's debut novel and it resides somewhere in the realm of fantasy meets steampunk meets historical fiction. For the record--a realm I love very, very much. I've read quite a mixed batch of reviews on it around the blogosphere, but I was nevertheless fairly excited still to find out for myself what lay between the pages of this slim but intriguing book.
Nimira is one of the so-called trouser girl. Young women who sing and dance in rather seedy dance halls across Lorinar for two cents an admission. Fleeing her lush homeland of Tiansher after her family's ruin, Nim seeks out the fabled dance halls of foreign Lorinar, where the magic and success she imagines falls so very short of her dreams. Trouser girls are out of favor and looked down upon. And it is not until three years later that Nim spies her ticket out when a young gentleman by the name of Hollin Parry walks into the hall and makes her an offer she can't refuse. Come sing along with his piano-playing automaton and live a life of ease. Never mind that the automaton might be haunted, or that there's quite a bit Hollin's not telling her, about both his history and his estate. Nim jumps at the chance, determined not to be put off by a clockwork man like so many other girls Hollin hired were. After all, he's just a contraption of wood and gears made to look like a man. Stick the silver key in his back, wind him up, and sing along. What could be simpler than that?
MAGIC UNDER GLASS is an easy, read-in-one-sitting sort of book. I enjoyed the world Ms. Dolamore created, with its impending war between faeries and humans and I loved the descriptions of Erris the automaton and his shifting eyes, his skillful fingers, and his inability to move beyond a careful set of scripted motions. There was frankly a wild amount of potential in this storyline. And I do mean wild potential. I loved the stolen practice sessions in which Nim sat next to Erris and decoded his stilted messages and longed for the ability to converse normally and at length. I loved the idea of the faerie court in uproar and the mysterious hints at necromancy. But unfortunately, none of it came to fruition for me. What a disappointment it was, as the characters stayed firmly two-dimensional, the villain painfully uninteresting, and the relationship between Nim and Erris set up so wonderfully but remaining completely undeveloped. I finished the book merely out of a sense of obligation and one last lingering hope that it might pull out in the end. But all I got was slapdash characterization and a bewilderingly hurried resolution, if you can call it that. The whole thing felt like a synopsis, if you will, and not the final work. I realize there is a sequel in the works, but this novel needed so much more depth and breadth to it to keep me going.
Magic Under Glass is magical and well, just AWESOME!
I loved this book!
I really enjoyed the characters, the relationship between Nimira and Erris, their friendship (soon love) was easy to see, and a joy to read. Erris...he's an interesting character, I found him to be kind of tortured, I mean he was trapped in a life like “doll” or automaton, cut off from the world. Going through all that, he ended being sweet and honest. I could see why Nimira falls for him. Nimira is not your ordinary “trouser girl” she is brave, she just lit up the room. Mr Parry, he is one of those characters who can’t face there problems, he runs away. I found him to be codependent because he always needed someone at times he was a coward but Nimira helped him. I hated Mr. Smolling!But he kept the story interesting too(even though I hate with a passion lol)
The whole story just came together, captivating. Dolamore wrote awesome book, now my only problem is another rant of I WANT A SEQUEL!! lol Jackie Dolamore does an awesome job creating a magical world that will leave the readers glued to the pages, craving more of the story.
Magic Under Glass is full of magic, mystery, and romance. Who doesn’t love a good fairy tale?
An automaton that plays the piano, fairies, sorcerers and necromancers, and a 'trouser girl' who sings on the stage. Add a Jane Eyre style mysterious madwoman haunting the third floor of the manor, and you have a vaguely gothic steampunk historical fantasy with a dash of sweet romance. Quite an interesting combination.
Some aspects were less developed than I would have liked, leaving me feeling detached from it all. The world-building, the characters, and how their relationships developed were all a bit weak. I find myself not really caring whether I read the second book or not (this is a completed duology). I might feel like it at some point.