Magic Under Glass, by Jaclyn Dolamore, was published in 2010 by Bloomsbury.
Nimira is a music-hall girl used to singing for pennies. So when wealthy young sorcerer Hollin Parry hires her to perform with a piano-playing automation, Nimira believes it will be the start of a better life. But when she arrives at Parry’s estate, it is not the glittering world she expects. Instead, unsettling rumors begin to swirl about a madwoman roaming the halls at night, and Nimira suspects that Parry is keeping secrets, even while he proclaims to be falling in love with her. And then there is the automaton itself, a mechanical man so realistically crafted it hardly seems possible that he isn’t alive…or is he? As Nimira begins to rehearse with him, she senses something stirring beneath his handsome features. Is he haunted, as the servants claim, or is there something more to it? What Nimira finds will put the fate of the entire magical world in danger—and ultimately force her to choose between a man she cannot have and a man she does not love.
I was impressed with the world of Magic Under Glass at first, and was looking forward to seeing more of it unfold as the book went on. The summary gave the book a half-Jane Eyre, half-Beauty and the Beast feel, and I was interested to see how Dolamore would deal with those atmospheres in this fantasy world.
But the moment Nimira reached Parry’s house, all of my interest disappeared. All that was left were characters who never grew beyond their two-dimensionality, a plot and romance that were too rapid for me to get any wonder or connection out of them, and an intriguing fantasy world that simply faded into the background. I became bored of the whole thing halfway through.
Also, Parry never got into trouble for doing to Annalie exactly what Smollings did to Erris. Dolamore wanted the reader to feel sorry for Parry, but he was so wishy-washy and indecisive that I was happy when he was out of the picture for good.
Recommended Age Range: 14+
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
“Are you trying to talk to me?” I said in a whisper. My voice wouldn’t go any louder if I wished it.
“But…you can’t speak?”
“Mmm.” He began to play the tune again, and he kept grunting, sounding urgent.
He was responding to my questions. There really was something intelligent peering out at me from those eyes.