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Magic Under Glass

by Jaclyn Dolamore

Series: Magic Under Glass (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5065640,240 (3.69)1 / 37
A wealthy sorcerer's invitation to sing with his automaton leads seventeen-year-old Nimira, whose family's disgrace brought her from a palace to poverty, into political intrigue, enchantments, and a friendship with a fairy prince who needs her help.

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» See also 37 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 56 (next | show all)
Really 3 1/2 stars but I always round up. Normal plot: High-class boy meets low-class girl, takes her out of said situation, she gets nice clothes, people disapprove, etc. And then- Erris. Erris saved the paperboard cut-out plot and raised it to a new level. I had just finished watching Hugo and was enthralled with this little twist. I'm not sure what makes it "Steampunk" and I wish that her editor had been a bit more thorough with certain issues. And the nod to Jane Eyre was quite obvious. No shocker there. I felt like there was too much of the wrong dialogue and a lack of the obvious dialogue. But- Erris! He wasn't even all that fleshed out but I was entranced with the unique twist that he added to the story. So-- Read it. For Erris. ( )
  OutOfTheBestBooks | Sep 24, 2021 |
Nimara takes the opportunity to leave her life as a performer in a cheap variety show to sing with an automaton, a clockwork piano man, for a wealthy sorcerer. Rumor has it the automaton is haunted but Nim doesn’t scare easily. Secrets abound at the estate where she is taken and she must figure them out if she is to truly choose her future.

I read this in a hurry. I’d had it on my list, but put it aside for something more urgent. I am so glad I picked it back up. It covers the topic of prejudice in a way that might help some to see what slights they haven’t noticed before couched in terms of human, faerie, and gender rather than black and white. I’ll be looking for the sequel, which comes out in April of 2012.

YA, series, faeries, romance, prejudice, automaton ( )
  readingbeader | Oct 29, 2020 |
"I should like to forget my secrets myself," he said. "If secrets could burn, I'd be the first to light the match."

(Okay, I guess I do have things to say.)

This was a whole lot of story packed into a tiny book. I mean, a lot.

I admittedly liked the feeling that went through most of the book - that we were looking into one modest story in a world that sprawled much larger, and was much more complicated, heated, and dangerous. From other reviews I read, this point is a little divisive, but for my part I think Dolamore did wonderfully in revealing the world around our characters not like a textbook but like how someone would talk about their lives...bits and pieces of Nim's homeland were described in associations and memories, the information about the fairies and the war were from overheard conversations or sneaked into everyday discussions. I love that kind of stuff and it was done spectacularly here.

The plot is small but not simple. Character dynamics may not be the most complicated or developed of things, but they're varied and there are many. Magic is never explained but shown instead, and even if that made me a little confused, everything in this review so far came together to make a quaint little fairy tale with numerous threads and ideas and surprises. (Which is also kinda why I'm not keen on going into the second book, although you've been warned that this one NEEDS a sequel for the plot.)

It had some duller points, though. The villains were perfectly, painfully average and underdeveloped, so when they really started becoming important, my interest waned a little. I really couldn't buy Erris and Nim as a romance - that's probably my biggest hang-up. Because Erris was sorta stuck without a personality for most of the book, I could buy Nim's friendship, her need to protect and save him because hey - she has a conscience after all. But the romance? Way too much for me. I was far more interested in reading about Nim and Hollins's complicated relationship - nowhere near romance either, but it had a subtlety that Erris and Nim lacked.

So...yeah. A nice little fairy tale with a world beyond its borders and a ton of imagination. It reads like a middle-grade book (maybe it is?) but it has a ton of charm and Nim's personality carries it well. ( )
  Chyvalrys | Aug 5, 2020 |
Interesting premise-- the clockwork piano player was once alive and has been enchanted. Felt like this was the start of a series, but the next book by this author looks to be independent of this one. The book, itself, was kidnapped by my granddaughter to read. ( )
  bookczuk | Nov 27, 2016 |
Summary: Nimira grew up in a palace, but is now working as a music-hall girl in a country far from her home. But she catches the eye of a wealthy gentleman, who is also a sorcerer, who hires her away from the music hall to come live at his estate, and perform duets with the piano-playing automaton he owns. At first, Nimira is somewhat hesitant around the thing - his movements are so lifelike that it's hard to believe he's nothing more than machinery, and all the servants claim that he's haunted. And that's just one of the secrets and rumors that the house seems to hold, and its master is not forthcoming, even as he begins wooing Nimira. Master Parry is not unkind, but Nimira doesn't love him in return... but when she uncovers his most dangerous secrets, she may have put them all - and the fate of the magical world itself - into deepest jeopardy.

Review: This book was... fine. It was quick and neat and not bad, but nothing about it grabbed me as particularly special, either. The jacket copy says "For fans of Libba Bray and Charlotte Brontë," and both of those comparisons are appropriate (in fact, the comparison to Jane Eyre is maybe a little TOO on the nose.) But like Libba Bray's A Great and Terrible Beauty series (which is almost certainly what's being referenced.... not her quirkier books like Beauty Queens or Going Bovine), I had a hard time getting invested in the characters or absorbed into the story, or the world it was depicting. The worldbuilding didn't feel concrete or specific enough to make me care, and since the story is limited to the POV of an outsider character who is limited in what she can know and what she can discover, it was hard to get a feel for the bigger picture - how did magic work, what was the history of the politics and how did magic fit in to that, etc. That meant that it was hard to feel the weight of most of the story events, since we didn't know enough about the world to really understand the ramifications of Nimira's decisions. I did think the romance part of the story was sweet, if predictable and kind of rushed. Overall, this felt... *young* to me, almost bordering on mid-grade rather than YA, and while sometimes that can work for me, in this case it just felt too simplified in pretty much all of its aspects to be really satisfying, and too light to leave much of an impression. 3 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: I feel like I've read other fantasy of manners novels that do what this book attempts to, but with more life to them (Newt's Emerald comes to mind among recent reads). This one may be best for fans of Gothic novels who don't want the secrets lurking in the attic to actually be anything scary or suspenseful but do want a little clockwork mixed in. ( )
  fyrefly98 | Mar 8, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 56 (next | show all)
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To Dade, who believed in me from the day we met
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The audience didn’t understand a word we sang. They came to see our legs.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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A wealthy sorcerer's invitation to sing with his automaton leads seventeen-year-old Nimira, whose family's disgrace brought her from a palace to poverty, into political intrigue, enchantments, and a friendship with a fairy prince who needs her help.

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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 madwoman 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.
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Jaclyn Dolamore is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

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Average: (3.69)
2 6
2.5 2
3 47
3.5 10
4 44
4.5 6
5 22


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