16 June 2010

Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore

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.

A truly fascinating read!  Magic Under Glass opens with Nimira performing at a crummy stage, searching the crowd for the eyes of her gentleman.  A few scenes later, that gentleman offers her a job, performing at his estate alongside an automaton.  Nimira abandons her crummy life in favor of adventure.

I admire Nimira, but differently than how I admire other characters.  She's grounded but with a dreamer's heart.  She isn't floppy, isn't outrageously brilliant, and doesn't step up when you want her to, but she has a fast tongue and a kind heart.  There's a certain air about her that makes her identifiable.  Nimira gave me a substantial amount of girl empowerment.  Her determination and kindness make her shine.

I can see why someone would dislike this book.  If you take it at face value, you see someone you might consider wimpy and uninteresting--the worst kind.  But there is something there, between the lines.  Nimira possesses something, or perhaps it is simply the plot.  The world had me confused: I'm used to medieval maps and a defined time period.  This time period had to be after the 1600's, for they have pistols.  But the world is foreign.  It almost runs parallel to a colonial time period--set in England with it's outlying estates, foreign worlds just behind the horizon, and snotty upper class.

I read this book in less than nine hours.  It's a short read--only 225 pages--but the idea was original and it is originality that begins a great adventure.  Something about it pulled me along and I read it every spare moment I had, and before I knew it, I was done with it.

Book Info:
pages - hardcover, 225
published -
publisher - Bloomsbury
genre - steampunk
rating - 5/5
received via - library
series -