Sunday, September 14, 2014

Steampunk Sorcery: Magic Under Glass Review

Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore
Release Date: February 1, 2010
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 225
Keywords: steampunk, magic, forbidden love
Format Read: hardcover via publisher
Other Books Read: Between the Sea and the Sky
Goodreads | Book Depository
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.
The beginning of this book had me thinking it was going to be beautiful. Dolamore built this incredibly elaborate world, and for the first few chapters, I felt like everything was unfolding nicely and I was being introduced to this strange, interesting, new world.

Then once Nimira made it to Hollin's estate, things began to get confusing. He's got a robot-man that plays the piano with whom he wants Nimira to perform. There's immediately a mystery surrounding the myths that the robot is haunted, and once Nimira begins practice, she begins to hear the noises. Turns out, he's an actual man trapped inside the robot body. Once we discover this (not that far into the book), there's this whole complicated back story that I feel like the reader should know about but doesn't. The book was not very long, so this, for me, was a thing that could have been included to explain more to the reader and add some investment.

The descriptions were interesting, and I loved the Jane Eyre-esque story line the book seemed to follow. I feel like there was a lot of un-tapped potential in this book. But a lot fell short, and I just wasn't in love with it. Too many characters that had interesting back stories fell by the way side, and too many things had already happened that I just needed more information on to fully be clear. If you're really into the high fantasy genre, this may be an interesting read, but otherwise, it was too confusing and not enough development to really be worth it.

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