Magic Under Glass
by Jaclyn Dolamore
Nimira is a dancer who is taken in by Hollin Parry, a magician, to sing with his piano-playing automaton. Nimira hears stories that the automaton may be haunted, which is why Parry has lost so many singers in the past, but Nimira decides to stay no matter what. She soon learns the truth - that the automaton is actually Erris, a fairy prince - which launches her into an adventure among sorcerers and spirits to free Erris and fight for what is right.
I am absolutely in love with the world Jaclyn Dolamore has created for this series. Her descriptions of the lands within it bring to mind locations in our own world, but she has transformed them into beautiful, mystical places that you want to run away to. The world of the fairies is spoken of also, seeming so close by and yet so separate. I hope we get to see more of that world in the sequel, Magic Under Stone.
The romance between Nimira and Erris is tender and touching, and handled beautifully by the author. They find a way to communicate, despite the fact that he is unable to speak as an automaton, but they must hide their interactions lest someone overhears and learns that Erris is more than just a clockwork man. I was on edge every time Nimira came to him, feeling as if I were in that quiet room with them, just as afraid to be caught. And the things Erris chooses to say to her... They have only a few moments at a time, and there is so much that Nimira needs to learn from him in order to help him, and yet he takes the time to sweetly and elegantly communicate his affection for her.
Nimira is a fantastic heroine. She is proud of herself and her heritage, she is confident in herself and her abilities, and she doesn't stand for being looked down upon. There is a scene where she is expected to show up to a party with her native costume on, but she refuses. She will not be objectified as a "trouser girl;" she will wear a gown like everyone else, thank you very much.
Nimira is indeed strong, but that's not to say she ignores her emotions. My absolute favorite quote from this book came when she was feeling overwhelmed by her current situation: "Sometimes, before you make any plans or resolutions, before you declare your heroic intent to persevere, you just have to cry." So true, Jaclyn Dolamore. So very true.
The only thing that I wished for was a little more detail on the "magic under glass," which I assumed was a reference to what Nimira found in Hollin's father's study. (SPOILER - highlight to read: The fairies under the glass, that is. I kept waiting for something to happen with them - that perhaps they weren't really dead, but were just waiting for her to revive or release them, in the same way that Erris was waiting. I thought that moment might be when she threw them out the window - maybe they would hit the water and be reunited with nature and come magically back to life. But they didn't. It was kind of an anticlimactic end to the dead fairies' story. ) Perhaps there will be more to it in the next book. Or perhaps I'm just looking too much into something that was intended to be a minor plot point.
The second book in the series, Magic Under Stone, will be released on April 10. This book wrapped up with a nice implication that an even bigger adventure awaits Nimira and Erris in the next book, and you can bet that I will be reading all about it as soon as it is released.
Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars