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Confessions of a Bibliophile

An aspiring writer and bookstore employee with an incredibly bad book-buying habit... I'll read just about anything (so long as it will appeal to my interests in some way), but my main loves are YA and sci-fi/fantasy. I also like quirky history and science books and will book nerd. A lot. Currently in the process of weeding out my personal library. Find me on Twitter @princess_starr or check out my YA book, Snowfall, on Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/240027

Magic Under Glass

Magic Under Glass - Jaclyn Dolamore I’ve had Magic Under Glass on my to-read list for about two years. The first I heard of it was during the white-washing controversy (along with Justine Larbalestier’s Liar and Karen Healey’s Guardian of the Dead) and I thought that it sounded interesting enough. And then it continuously fell off and on my book radar until I managed to find a copy at Half-Price Books and figured “Oh, why not.” Which is not to say it’s a bad book. I did enjoy it, albeit it being an extremely quick read. The prose and setting are quite charming—I think it was Ceilidh’s review that said this should be made into a Ghibli film, which YES THIS. However, the pacing feels too quick and I never got a good feel for the world-building.I did like both main mysteries of the haunted house and the haunted automaton, and how Dolamore weaves both together. While I did want to get more into Annilie’s history and backstory, I liked that she did have something to contribute to the main mystery of Erris and how to bring him to life. I liked the touch of Gothic atmosphere and how Nimira doesn’t buy into the manor’s ghost stories. But again, the pacing made it hard for me to really enjoy this setting. I never got the sense that there was magic or fairies present at all—while the prose has a definite charm, there’s no magical touch that really brought the whole world to life for me. The constant talk of the fairy war plays into the plot, but I never felt that the people of the world felt the aftermath of that particular conflict. If there was more natural magic shown, I think I would have been more in love with the book overall. Nimira, on the other hand, MORE OF HER. I loved Nim. She’s intelligent, level-headed, and does not take any of the racist crap that gets thrown at her. Actually, I think part of the book’s pacing probably is also due to Nim going “Yeah, so there’s no ghosts around here” and quickly figuring out the plot points. Which is nice that she’s not an idiot, but still, we could have some investigating first. Nim knows what everyone in Lorinar thinks of her and what they expect her to do, but it doesn’t mean Nim will put up with it. And not only that, but her turning down and calling out Hollin for being a creepster was fantastic. (Especially since I took it as a take that towards Jane Eyre.) I loved that she tells Hollin off and confronts him about Annilie when Hollin tries to take Nim overseas. Nim’s relationship with Erris was another problem for me. I could see them becoming very good friends, but the short amount of time with the plot development doesn’t lend itself to a solid romance. I also thought that the revelations with Erris were too quickly introduced and too convenient. (I did like the revelation that he’s in an actual clockwork body, which is something I hope gets explored in the next book.) I don’t think he’s a bad character, but we certainly don’t know enough about Erris to make him a memorable character. I could continue on about the lack of character development, and I do think that Dolamore had some good characters here, but it feels all of her focus was on Nim. And as much as I loved Nim, I really wanted more from the supporting cast. The villains are obvious and they really don’t do much in the plot. Knowing that there is a second book makes me wonder if this is yet another case of what should have been a larger work split into a series because series sell. I will probably hunt down the sequel at some point, and on its own, this is actually a nice little read (with a slight MG crossover appeal, now that I think of it). But I really wanted so much more from the world-building and the plot to truly jump into this book.