1st February 2010, Bloomsbury
240 pages, Paperback
Review Copy (uncorrected proof)
Young Adult, Fantasy
Yunaleska's recommended rating: ♥♥♥♥♥
Summary by Bloomsbury
A romantic adventure set against the perils of a society under threat
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.
As an uncorrected proof, my copy doesn't have the beautiful cover art. It didn't detract from the magical delights of the novel itself. This another fantastic book chained to my bookshelf.
Girls in Nimira's position rarely get offered a break. I enjoyed learning about how she got the job of dubious morals - it wasn't really her fault. She takes her life into her own hands by choosing to accept Hollin Parry's offer. Who wouldn't want a better life for themselves? Nimira is a sweet girl, who appreciates the luxury of her new home. In Nimira's case, such luxuries have a price.
Namira has great courage not to be afraid of the fairy within the automaton. With her sweet nature, it is no surprise that she figures out a way to communicate with him, or that she wants to do all she can to save him. She risks losing her current status in Hollin Parry's house, and risks torture by the sorcerer Smollings all because she wants to help the innocent prince.
Namira's reaction to the prince's true appearance beneath the outfit he wears is a reminder that true beauty and friendship is more than skin deep. It is a person's personality, rather than looks which matter.
Although initially she feels alone in her quest, Namira gains help from several people. For the sake of avoiding spoilers, I can't reveal who two of her helpers are. I will say that both of these helpers came as a surprise, and they have overcome personal obstacle to help Namira. I adored the details in the female character's clothes, her slightly strange personality, and the unique power that she wields. She becomes a formidable opponent to those who wish to harm Namira.
One character who has more courage than I initially gave her credit for is Namira's maid, Linza. It is Linza who helps unravel the mystery for Namira within Hollin Parry's household. When someone is prepared to face their enemy with a weapon they have little experience in, and which could cost their job, I'd say Linza is as brave as Namira.
All of the characters who opposed Namira, who could easily hurt her on her journey to save the automaton's soul, are evil. There isn't any good inside of them. I could feel their aggression and hatred for her radiating out from the page. I like that there were ramifications for the world if Namira succeeded in freeing the trapped fairy prince from his automaton state. The sorcerers who opposed her actions may have heard her words with their ears, but they didn't her words with their minds. They weren't going to be moved from their stance.
There were many edge of the seat moments which had me wondering if Namira would succeed in her goal. The ending is more than satisfactory, and does leave room for a sequel. A sequel hasn't been announced yet, so please go buy and this book so that Jaclyn can carrie on Erris (the automaton) and Namira's tale.
Liked this? Check out The Lady in The Tower by Marie-Louise Jensen