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.
pages - hardcover, 225
publisher - Bloomsbury
genre - steampunk
rating - 5/5
received via - library