Merry Wanderer of the Night + YA

Review: Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore

Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore is a story that, although not a direct retelling, definitely has a fairy tale-esque feel to it throughout the whole novel. Nimira is our main character. She is young and lovely but a bit of an oddity. Originally from a different country, her skin is dark and dusky where everyone else is pale. She moved to the new country with the intention of making a name and a fortune for herself as a dancer. Years ago, her mother had been a dancer, back when it was considered classy and profitable. But now, as Nimira tries to make a name for herself, it has fallen out of favor with the upper crust and become sort of, well... trashy. Referred to as a Trouser Girl, Nimira lives and travels with her troupe, because it is the only way to survive.

But then, a mysterious sorcerer watches her dance one night, and asks if she will come to live with him, to dance and sing next to his piano playing automaton. Knowing that this is one of the few chances a girl in her circumstances will have to better her situation, she accepts (although not without some trepidation). She travels with the sorcerer, Hollin, to his home and meets the automaton and this is where the story really picks up. This is where the magic happens.

Given the nature of the book, and this style of book in general, you have a pretty strong feeling that all is not as it seems with the automaton, even before you truly meet him. It's definitely not a secret. But watching Nimira discover just what was going on with this automaton was enthralling. She was also incredibly calm and practical about it, much more so that I imagine I would have been, if this mechanical man started trying to talk to me. After devising a method of fairly reliable, albeit slow communication with the automaton, she begins to learn of the dark happenings that trapped him within this mechanical body. What she learns horrifies her and she desperately wants to save him, but she doesn't know how. Erris, the automaton, is adamant that she trust no one other, seeking assistance only from the name Erris was told to trust by someone years ago who is now dead.

Erris was my favorite character in the novel. He was fascinating! And he came alive for me long before I think Nimira understood all there was too him. I loved watching them get to know each other, even with the limitations of his current form.

Hollin was a hard character for me. I could never decide if I liked him or not, but he gave me weird vibes. I spent a large part of the book just waiting for him to show his true creep colors, while also thinking that he was probably a decent guy. I was conflicted about him the whole time. I never really liked him, but by the end of the story, I think I understood him a little better, which is really what ends up being important.

There were a lot of predictable elements to the story. From the beginning, you have a basic idea of where things are going to go, and there are going to be quite a few 'revelations' that shock Nimira that won't surprise you. But, the story is told with such freshness and talent that I found myself not minding at all.

The biggest complaint I had with the story was the ending. I felt that the resolution was too rushed, and far too easy, especially where the main villain of the piece is concerned. I also felt that there were too many unanswered questions, too many details left unexplained. But, there is a sequel planned, so I'm willing to overlook the hanging questions, and hope that the sequel will answer them.

Overall, this is a great read. Dolamore's writing is quite lovely and she is able to create phenomenal characters. Anyone who can make my heart flutter a bit over a collection of metal parts and pieces has my vote. I cannot wait to read the sequel! I'm also incredibly excited for her upcoming novel, Between the Sea and Sky! Be sure to check out the interview and guest post with Jaclyn as further part of Fairy Tale Fortnight!! (pssst. There's a giveaway with that interview!!)

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Review: Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore + YA