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review: “magic under glass” March 25, 2010

Posted by Katie in reviews.
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Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore.
Bloomsbury // Hardcover // 240 pages.
Reviewed from purchased copy.

Nimira is a singer in a music hall — a trouser girl — the bottom of the social pyramid. So when the mysterious and rich Hollin Parry offers her employment singing with his automaton, she packs her belongings and goes with Parry. But Nimira soon discovers that the rumors of a haunted automaton are exactly rumors — there is someone trapped in the automaton and it’s up to Nimira to set him free.

Dolamore’s debut is a unique work that easy to describe — truly enjoyable — yet hard to categorize. It has a Victorian/gothic sensibility to it, definitely some fantasy, a bit of romance, and this almost steampunk magic…

What is so remarkable is that the world is easy to slip into and understand, without a ton of back story overpowering the clean and simple story of Nimira and Erris.

My biggest problem with the novel was actually the length — it was too short! Nimira and Erris had this lovely building relationship and then, wham — all of a sudden they were in love. Additionally, the last forty pages race to the end and then the reader gets a cliffhanger. That really made me mad when I read it. (Just recently, Dolamore announced that Bloomsbury did purchase the sequel “Magic Under Stone.” No pub date has been announced.)

Other than the length and sudden romantic relationship, I was enchanted with this novel and cannot wait to read the sequel. I hope that we can have a better exploration of Nimira and Erris’s relationship. I also really want to learn more about the fairy world that is only briefly touched upon in “Magic Under Glass.”

This brings me to the hard part — I’m not sure who to sell this book to. I think the best bet is to start off with high fantasy lovers and see if word of mouth draws in other readers. I look forward to talking to my teens about this book!

SWAN catalog
Jaclyn Dolamore




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