Nimira is a music-hall performer used to dancing for pennies. When wealthy sorcerer Hollin Parry hires her to sing accompaniment to an exquisite piano-playing automaton, Nimira believes it is the start of a new life. But in Parry's world, long-buried secrets are about to stir. When Nimira discovers the spirit of a dashing fairy gentleman trapped within the automaton, she is determined to break the curse. But even as the two fall into a love that seems hopeless, they're racing to save not just themselves, but the entire fairy realm, which is in mortal peril. This was one of the Tenner ARCs I got during my visit to Bloomsbury. It's fantasy, a genre I think I've only read via the Narnia and Uglies series, if either of them count.
Even though paranormal stories - which I read and write - have an other-worldly element, they are set in the real world, pretty much as we know it. In fantasy, the writer has to create a whole new world.
In general, I'm kind of a fan of our world, but Jaclyn Dolamore weaves the world of Magic Under Glass into the language, references and phrasing, so skillfully that you feel completely swept into this other place from the start:
The audience didn't understand a word we sang. They came to see our legs. As the posters said, TROUSER GIRLS FROM THE EXOTIC LAND OF TASSIM! We were billed just under the acrobats and the trained dogs.
Our voices joined in harmony while Saraki plucked the tei-tan and I pranced around the stage, my slippers whispering on the wooden floor. My hands curved and wove and paused, each gesture as familiar to me as the words I'd heard my mother sing while I was still in the cradle.
Kind of captivating, isn't it?
The writing in this story was beautiful and the voice unique: classic and proper - though never stilted - lyrical and a bit magical, itself. Even the characters' names seem just right: Hollin, Erris, Nimira, Linza, Annalie. As if they could just be old-fashioned, but different enough that you know they're not. On her blog, Jackie did an interesting compilation of past posts that chronicled Magic Under Glass' journey in real time. I read it (ok, most of it, it was pretty long) just after I finished the book and it was neat insight into how the characters - including their names - and themes and such changed over the course of her re-writes.
Magic Under Glass comes out December 22, 2009 - soon! And you can win the ARC even sooner! Like, right now! All you have to do is comment here between now and the end of Thursday, Nov 12 with one thing you saw or learned or noticed on Jackie's website (the background color, the first sidebar topic, where she went to school, whatever...we just want to know you stopped by)
I'll draw one random winner, announced here, on Friday the 13th - who says they're unlucky?
Fine print: Giveaway is open internationally to anyone age 13 or older.
Finer print: My one-and-a-half year old scribbled on the back of this ARC.