Whatchyareading's Reviews > Magic Under Glass

Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore
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Mar 31, 2011

bookshelves: caitlin, debut-author, fantasy, young-adult, series
Read in November, 2010

I came across this book in a different manner than most. I follow the author’s agent on twitter and she kept mentioning it. And, well, I loved the title.

The plot was very different from what I was expecting, which I loved. The world it takes place in could almost be the past of our world. Almost. And it felt completely real. It had political tension, class and racial stereotypes. A strange, wonderful mix of a high fantasy setting and a steampunk setting.

Nimira is saved from a life of demeaning jobs when a rich magician offers her a most unusual job. Singing accompaniment with his piano playing automaton. A job position he’s had trouble keeping filled because the girls he hires become convinced that automaton is haunted by a spirit. They say it moves on its own, makes noises on its own, even talks.

Nimira takes the jobs and when she sees the automaton she is startled by his realness. And when he starts moving and groaning and looking at her, she too becomes convinced that it is more than just machine.

I really loved that Hollin, the wealthy magician, wasn’t the love interest or the villain. He was just a man caught up in a situation he didn’t want to be a part of but couldn’t get himself out of. It would have be easy to do a love triangle with him and it makes me exceedingly happy that the author did not go that route.

The idea of a fairy prince trapped in clockwork body that is forced to play the piano as entertainment for fairy hating gangsters/sorcerers? This might be the most original concept I’ve ever read in a book. Erris is slightly tragic and eternally frustrated. Not having complete control over his mechanical prison, always having believe he is a ghost just as he figures out how to communicate with them.

Nimira was poor yet had pride. She was down on her luck yet knew she came from noble beginnings and was determined to hold on to some of her past even if it was only in her stature. I both liked and disliked this about her. It made her seem both strong, for holding on to that part of herself, and weak, for not being able to move on with her life.

I most enjoyed the politics in the world this story takes place in. They are so intricately woven in you don’t notice them at all until you see how they affecting each and every move all three of the main characters make.

The one thing I thought was a little weird was how the title tied in with the story. Mostly in that it didn’t really. There was one scene with something trapped under glass but it wasn’t really…I don’t know, I just really liked the title and was disappointed when it didn’t play a bigger role.

I enjoyed the books originality and how the author ignored the potential for a love triangle. I’m so over love triangles. Plus, the idea of a fairy prince trapped in clockwork body that is forced to play the piano as entertainment for fairy hating gangsters/sorcerers? This might be the most original concept I’ve ever read in a book. Pick it up for that reason alone.

Reviewed on WhatchYAreading on November 10, 2010.
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