Magic Under Glass has all the ingredients of a wonderful fairy tale, but somehow it fell flat.
Nimira is away from her homeland for some unknown reason, and she is singing in a chorus where the girls where the girls wear *snicker, snort* trousers like women in ‘foreign parts’ instead of decent floor length skirts. Well, there’s your sexism, classism, and xenophbia, right there. If teh ‘ism’s are there for Historical Authenticity ™, then there had better be other Historical Authenticities to match it.
Our Hero Nimira is noticed by Our Other Hero Hollins Parry, who wants someone exotic to sing with his clock-work piano player (which are actually historical, if only as a novelty). Only, the clock-work man is haunted, and several other singers have run away screaming. Can Nimira face down the ghost? Better than that, she makes friends with the ghost in the machine.
Nimira falls in love with both the Hero Hollins Parry and the Haunted Clock-work Man, a charming love triangle that should really delight readers – but it falls terribly flat. And then we find out that Mr. Parry is really not the good man we thought he was, and the Clock-work Man has a secret past.
I really expected to like this book. I hear there’s a sequel now. Yawn.
Cover Note: The hardback had a blond on the cover. Seriously? When Nimira is specifically from Land of Brown People? Softcover had that fixed right up, with black curls falling over Nimira’s shoulders. Another cover has Nimira and a man near a piano, all three are in grey-scale with pink flowers falling over them.