Magic Under Glass
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
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.
There are books out there that read as if they were original a fairytale, yet weren't at all. Magic Under Glass is one of those books. What makes fairytales, folklore and legends what they are is the reuccuring themes that exist: transformation, mother-dying, being-cursed are all pieces that are in this book. (Other popular themes are "Girl-in-Tower" and "Evil Step-Mother"). What's cool is that actually these uses of tropes are still what makes certain books the genre that they are.
But basically, if I had been told that this book was based off a fairytale about a mechanical man and the evil man keeping him from transforming and a girl who loves him and tries to break the spell, I would have believed them.
What's also great about this book is the use of cultural differences. Nimira is from another country, one that seems as if it might be similar to an Arabian country of our own world, while the country it takes place in seems to be similar to
taking place during an
older time where Nimira and her people are obviously looked down upon as being
lesser and barbarians. Of course that is just cultural differences between
their countries, as it is quite obvious that Nimira is very intelligent. There
are also instances of dismissing Nim because of her gender which is also very
well done, especially since Hollin is very forward in his thinking, knowing
cultural differences are just that and not underestimating Nim as much due to
her being a woman. England
Following off of that, the world building Dolamore comes up with in this book are just magical. It is never said that the countries are Arabian and English, just that they are their own countries with their own problems and histories. You can truly tell Dolamore developed everything about these countries down to small details, and yet she doesn't fall into the trap where she tries and tells us all of it.
The prose is also absolutely magical, as are the characters, and the story twists and surprises, leading to a rather epic ending and a hope.
Poor, poor Erris! Everything that could be done for him had been done, but it's just so depressing that he's still only has his clockwork body, I've been waiting and waiting for the next book to come out (it finally has) to see if they are able to get him a real body and then afterwards I wonder what his future can be.
I am also so very proud of Hollin at the end for finally standing up to Smollings in such a beautiful and epic way. I can only hope that he and his wife finally make up and realize they still love each other. He had used dark magic to save her despite consequences, so despite his slight attraction to Nimira, I feel like it was more of her foreignness and promise of travel that was attractive and not Nim herself, I think he still loves his wife.
If you enjoy fairytale adaptations I highly suggest this book. If you've read any of Dolamore's other books I suggest this book. If you like cultural different heroines, I recommend this book. It is one of my all time favourite books that I've read. I read it for the first time about a year ago and I've reread it two more times since.