Thursday, February 04, 2010

Magic Under Glass

Jaclyn Dolamore's Magic Under Glass was one of the better light fantasies for girls that I have read recently. I appreciated especially that we were just dropped into the quasi-Victorian world of Lorinar without maps and detailed explanation, and were left to imagine details while the story unfolded. Nimira has left her home country and position as the daughter of favored members of the royal court and is working as an exotic dancer and singer. When the wealthy and handsome sorcerer Hollin Parry hires her to sing with an automaton that he has found, she leaves her impoverished life to live at his estate. Other singers have left because they think the automaton is haunter; Nimira pays closer attention, learns to communicate with Erris, who turns out to be a fairy prince who was enchanted by enemies in a war. Can Nimira figure out a way to free him from his fate of being an automaton?

This book was pleasantly well-written and pretty. Certainly, there was some suspense about getting Erris freed, but I knew it would end well. Nice, light romance. Very fun.

This book has caused a lot of controversy about the cover, not because the picture of Nimira has her violating school cleavage dress codes, but because of the color of her skin. Bloomsbury has had to stop supplying books with this cover while they have a new one made. I must say, however, that while reading the book, I did not think that Nimira was African American, which I was lead to believe by this controversy being linked to the one with Liar. I really felt that Nimira was more-- middle eastern, probably. The image of her as a "trouser dancer" conjured images of Arabian Nights to me, and I envisioned her more like one of my daughter's friends who is Moroccan and looks, well, a bit like this cover picture. The UK cover, while prettier, does make it look like Nimira has blonde hair, and that is clearly wrong.

Still, this was an excellent book, and if the controversy translates into more sales for Ms. Dolamore (who seems like a kindred spirit to me-- she likes thrift stores, vintage dresses and L.M. Montgomery!), it's all to the good.

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