As you read the reviews on Bookshop Talk, you'll notice that every review is positive. No, we're not a bunch of literary
pushovers who love everything we pick up; we just see no point in telling you about a book if we didn't like it.

January 3, 2011

MAGIC UNDER GLASS by Jaclyn Dolamore, 2010

Magic Under GlassNimira is a foreign music-hall girl forced to dance for mere pennies. When wealthy sorcerer Hollin Parry hires her to sing with a piano-playing automaton, Nimira believes it is the start of a new and better life. In Parry's world, however, buried secrets are beginning to stir. Unsettling below-stairs rumors swirl about ghosts, a madwoman roaming the halls, and Parry's involvement with a league of sorcerers who torture fairies for sport. Then Nimira discovers the spirit of a fairy gentleman named Erris is trapped inside the clockwork automaton, waiting for someone to break his curse. The two fall into a love that seems hopeless, and breaking the curse becomes a race against time, as not just their love, but the fate of the entire magical world may be in peril. (Amazon product description)

Review by Kim Thacker, writer and mommy

I absolutely gobbled up MAGIC UNDER GLASS.  What a satisfying story!  The strongest aspect of the novel was, for me, the romance.  Remember how, in the Jane Austen novels (and movies, for that matter), when two people of the opposite sex touch it’s very “zingy?”  That’s how it is in MAGIC.  Erris, the clockwork automaton can only move when he is wound up by a key, and even then, his movements are basically limited to his routine as an automaton pianist.  He can lift his hands to the keys of the piano and raise his head to see his audience, but that’s about it.  Talk about “zing” when he and the woman he loves finally do get to touch!  But I won’t ruin the story.  It’s very romantic and lovely.

The world Dolamore created is very much like our world, but it’s also pure fantasy.  I was captivated by the descriptions of the gardens and the clothing.  I sensed that Dolamore was only able to scratch the surface of the politics of Nimira’s world, but I anticipate learning more in the sequel.

The book is pretty short for all Dolamore tries to accomplish (and does accomplish, in my opinion), and the plot is fast-paced and vivid, so the characters aren’t developed beyond what I thought was absolutely essential.  I loved the characters, but I want to get to know them better.  Again, this wasn’t a fatal flaw for the book--it just makes me excited for the sequel.

MAGIC has been referred to as a novel that is less heavy than Libba Bray’s Gemma Doyle series, and I agree with that.  I also agree that MAGIC is reminiscent of Jane Eyre.  For readers who enjoy clean, tense romance (ala Shannon Hale’s Goose Girl series) and mystery, MAGIC UNDER GLASS may be the book for you!

One more thing:  This is a DEBUT NOVEL!!!!!!!!!!  Wow.

Market:  Young Adult
Language:  Mild (I can't remember any language, but I'd hate to say there's absolutely none, when there actually is some.  I don't remember any cursing or the use of the name of deity.)
Sensuality:  Mild (At the beginning of the book, the main character works as a dancer for a man who treats some of the other dancers less than honorably--some sex is alluded to)
Violence:  Mild (adventure peril) Mature Themes: (murder is alluded to, political assassinations are alluded to--nothing violent happens on stage)

Book formats:
Magic Under Glass (hardcover)

To learn more about the author, visit: Jaclyn Dolamore

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