Hardcover, 240 pages
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.
Now, I have to say that although Magic Under Glass was not very captivating with its characters, it was fascinating to say the least. I really thought that just the title itself, hinted at the true meaning and purpose of the novel. Even for its characters, it seems that they had some force lying under their skin that they soon realized needed to be set free. I say this for most of the characters that Nimira came in contact with--and in the end, Nimira--herself find a hidden strength that builds from start to finish. For example, I expected the main sorcerer of this novel, Hollin Parry, to be more antagonizing and disputable, but he really did have a lot bottled up from years of being under an even more powerful wizard's thumb. Frankly, all he needed was that extra little push to set him straight.
However, I believe that Dolamore really tried to build a romantic relationship in the strains and hopelessness between Nimira and Erris. Somehow, I thought with more information shared between the singer and automaton the love between them could have been even more empathizing. With the short length that was the novel, I believe that their relationship and escapades with somewhat false and disbelieving. I wished for a more detailed and passioned hopelessness that would have had me near tears. It seemed that with a clockwork male role in the relationship there would have been more time to explore the restraints he had, and had dealt with for the past thirty years.
The ending and concluding of the story seemed inevitable of how it turned out--with a happy ending--and what a happy ending it was, but I wish it wasn't so rushed into. I hoped that Nimira and Erris could find something deeper between them when he could finally speak.
Recommended to all fairy-tale old-age lovin' YAs out there that enjoy a little magic in all romances.
This ARC of Magic Under Glass was provided by the Publishers at Bloomsbury USA Children's Books.