From the ARC:
Nimira is a foreign music-hall girl forced to dance for mere pennies. When wealthy sorcerer Hollin Parry hires her to sing with a piano-playing automaton, Nimira believes it is the start of a new and better life. In Parry’s world, however, buried secrets are beginning to stir. Unsettling below-stairs rumors swirl about ghosts, a madwoman roaming the halls, and Parry’s involvement with a league of sorcerers who torture fairies for sport. Then Nimira discovers the spirit of a fairy gentleman named Erris is trapped inside the clockwork automaton, waiting for someone to break his curse. The two fall into a love that seems hopeless, and breaking the curse becomes a race against time, as not just their love, but the fate of the entire magical world may be in peril.
Magic Under Glass swept me up in a fantasy that was both sweet and sigh-worthy. And if you mix fairy tale elements, a nod to Jane Eyre, and inject a lovely bit of steampunk, you’ll have an idea of what makes this novel so very charming.
The world Jaclyn Dolamore created feels familiar and yet distinct. Nimira’s home may remind me of something out of an Arabian tale, and New Sweeling may be reminiscent of a certain metropolitan city, but Dolamore’s world-building is vibrant and visual and stands well on its own. The descriptions touched every sense; if Nimira sang, I knew the sound of her voice; if she picked up a piece of fruit, the scent was in my head. I appreciate being drawn so thoroughly into a story.
And the characters: I was happy with Nimira’s strength and perseverance, immediately fell under the automaton’s spell, and was intrigued by another that I won’t name for fear of spoiling. Would I have loved to know the characters a little better? Yes. But that in no way stopped me from enjoying their interactions, from falling a little bit in love myself, or from racing through the story to find out what would happen to all of them.
My one caution is this: The story, to me, ends abruptly and leaves a great deal unresolved. It felt like a “gun” was introduced very late in the story that never went off – meaning, something happened that made it feel like there should be more to the story, that another path was there, waiting, but not taken. And because of that the ending wasn’t quite satisfactory. I hope and pray that there will be a sequel even though, as yet, one hasn’t been confirmed. This world and these characters so deserve one.
So, I would absolutely recommend Magic Under Glass, which releases, according to Amazon, on December 22nd.
Disclosure: An ARC of Magic Under Glass was sent to me by the publisher.