by Jaclyn Dolamore
Dark Metropolis is the second novel I’ve read this month that takes place during the Jazz Age, after Genevieve Valentine’s phenomenal The Girls at the Kingfisher Club. Except that Dark Metropolis isn’t explicitly set in the Jazz Age. The world of this novel boasts several cultural signifiers that remind the reader of nothing so much as interwar Berlin—it’s still reeling from a massive war that upset the social order, young women crop their hair and wear lipstick in defiance of their mothers, and the city is filled with the increasingly loud murmurs of revolution. But the details are never nailed down, allowing Jaclyn Dolamore to elaborate and improvise as she sees fit.
Magic Under Stone by Jaclyn Dolamore
Look, I know some people would call this series a “duology”, but I vastly prefer the term “duet”. There’s something so charming petite about a two book fantasy series that I want the term to reflect that. In any case, I loved Magic Under Glass (to the tune of including it in a paper on social issue representations in young adult fantasy aimed at young women), so I was delighted to find its sequel available on NetGalley last year. I made the request and almost forgot about it until I got an e-mail last month telling me that it was ready for reading! I promptly threw myself in.
There’s something wonderful about getting in on the ground floor of an author’s career–about being one of the first people to read and admire them, before they became famous best-sellers.
Which authors have you been lucky enough to discover at the very beginning of their careers?
And, if you’ve never had that chance, which author do you WISH you’d been able to discover at the very beginning?
I feel like I haven’t discovered anyone at the beginning of their career, in that I read their book before it exploded in popularity. Technically, I read and enjoyed Jaclyn Dolamore’s and Kristin Cashore’s first books early in their careers, but they were pretty well-known regardless.
I wish I’d discovered Michael Chabon or Jeffrey Eugenides at the very beginning—they have such a beautiful way with language that I would have enjoyed watching them grow. (Also, I would actually have copies of Eugenides’s short stories. Collect them already!)
But ultimately, it doesn’t matter to me if I discovered an author before they went supernova. I pay a lot more attention to personal recommendations than to best-seller lists. While there are some series I drag my feet about because they’re popular—the Millenium trilogy, anyone?—I think I still read them with the same attitude as I would if I’d stumbled across in a bookshop five years ago. (Only, you know, not, because five years ago, I was fourteen and had barely stopped being annoying.)
Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore
Earlier this year, Magic Under Glass caused a controversy; the first cover Bloomsbury put on the book had a white girl–despite the fact that the heroine is a woman of color. It’s since been fixed, thankfully, as you can see above. I’m always on the look out for fantasy with heroes of color, so when I heard of Magic Under Glass during that controversy, I put it down on the reading list. (It certainly helps that Nimira was the first name for a character in one of my writing projects.)