Thursday, December 26, 2013

Magic Under Stone by Jaclyn Dolamore

Summary from Goodreads:
For star-crossed lovers Nimira and Erris, there can be no happily ever after until Erris is freed from the clockwork form in which his soul is trapped. And so they go in search of the sorcerer Ordorio Valdana, hoping he will know how to grant Erris real life again. When they learn that Valdana has mysteriously vanished, it's not long before Nimira decides to take matters into her own hands—and begins to study the sorcerer's spell books in secret. Yet even as she begins to understand the power and limitations of sorcery, it becomes clear that freeing Erris will bring danger—if not out-and-out war—as factions within the faerie world are prepared to stop at nothing to prevent him from regaining the throne.
I really enjoyed the first book in the series, and I wanted to see how Nim and Erris would work in this sequel. I also wanted to learn more about the political turmoil of the world and see if some of my many questions would be answered.
I am so glad that I did not give up on this author because she finally, in this sequel, relinquished a little world building. In her previous books, I always felt like so much was left out of the setting. And this was particularly hard for me because the worlds Dolamore creates are always so fascinating.  It’s like going out to dinner with someone who orders dessert, but specifically does not order two spoons –and then only budges and lets you taste the cake after much persuasion. But that one tiny smidgen of chocolate does nothing to satisfy your dessert appetite that you didn’t even know was there.
But finally, with this book, I felt like I had my half of the dessert. I got to know characters I wished I got to know better in the first book (like the not-so-crazy wife that was locked away). I had a lot of questions answered. I also was finally able to learn more about Erris’ family and the people now ruling the fairy court. And I also finally got to see how a relationship between a girl and an automaton could work.
The relationship pretty much didn’t work. Erris was always upset. He was upset about his family. He was upset to make Nim wind him every day. He didn’t want to need so much help. He wanted to spend a lot of time being alone and sad and nostalgic. And Nim, because of this, felt not wanted. And while their relationship was rather disappointing for me because I was hoping for more sizzle, it was also kind of refreshing to see a YA romance have serious flaws.  It was like a real relationship. I was shipping for the relationship to work and for Nim to talk some sense into the depressed Erris, but it was kind of nice seeing them have to work so hard for it to work.
I also loved Ifra, a new character! On top of the eminent war, the fairy feuds, the automaton story, the magic spells, and the annoying new fairy niece, there’s also the addition of Ifra, the genie’s story. Ifra’s life seemed so horrible. He had to do what others wished and was eternally bound to people who made him do terrible things, like commit murder.
I was not so interested in the spoiled niece character (who of course falls in love with the genie). I feel like the spoiled younger sibling/cousin/niece character is really overdone. And I know I’ve mentioned this before, so I won’t go too much into it. But seriously, can authors use a different stereotype character? I find this one so stale and annoying.
I like that it’s Nim that has to do all the saving. I love that Nim learns magic. And I love Nim’s strong female friends who help her accomplish what needs to happen. I found the similarities between a cursed fairy and a genie to be so interesting. And I really think Ifra added to the overall magic of this world. I also loved all the letters. Nim has kept in touch with characters from the previous book, and I loved seeing how everyone was doing.
The ending didn’t quite make sense to me. I’m glad certain things ended they way they did. However, I just don’t feel like the way things resolved made sense.  A certain evil  character has one short conversation with the genie (that wasn’t really that  important sounding), and then changes his mind about all he’s worked his whole life to do…It was a little too convenient to be plausible. And I think what bothered me the most about it was that it seemed like a cop out, like the author just got tired of writing and decided she needed to come to an ending much sooner than could possibly happen if any action occurred at the end. A lot more could have happened at the end that would have made this story unbelievably good. Instead, it just kind of ended after this not-very-believable conclusion of sorts.
I love what the author finally accomplished with her world building. I loved reading about the struggles between Erris and Nim, making their whole romance seem so much more real. I loved the girl power in this one. I loved the new characters (minus the annoying niece), and the return of the old characters. I wish Erris were a little more likeable. And the ending was kind of terrible. There was a lot of build up for something that we never got to see. I give it an 8/10.

1 comment:

  1. Hahahaha, your metaphors about the world building. That is hilarious. I can totally see weaknesses in this series, but I loved the characters a lot, which tends to make me pretty forgiving.

    While I don't remember much at this point, I do remember being confused/bothered by the resolution and thinking there needed to be more.