Mechanicaby Betsy Cornwell
Published by Clarion Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on August 25th 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Steampunk
I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Nicolette's awful stepsisters call her "Mechanica" to demean her, but the nickname fits: she learned to be an inventor at her mother's knee. Her mom is gone now, though, and the Steps have pushed her into a life of dreary servitude. When she discovers a secret workshop in the cellar on her sixteenth birthday--and befriends Jules, a tiny magical metal horse--Nicolette starts to imagine a new life for herself. And the timing may be perfect: There's a technological exposition and a royal ball on the horizon. Determined to invent her own happily-ever-after, Mechanica seeks to wow the prince and eager entrepreneurs alike.
I am in a steampunk state of mind right now. Especially after reading this fantastic re-telling of Cinderella done steampunk. Ms. Cornwell took an age-old “legend” and gave it new legs (pun completely intended there) by adding an almost Tinkerbell quality to our would-be princess. I’m not only talking about Tinkerbell’s ability to build gadgets, I’m talking about fairies, in other words, the FAE!!! YES!!!
Can you tell I absolutely adored this story? And I’m usually not one to suffer through the mistreatment of innocents when I’m reading. I get nervous wondering if the bad guy, or in this case, the evil stepmother and stepsisters will get their payback in the end.
Interestingly enough, I was so completely distracted by the story and mystery of the workshop Nicolette discovers on her sixteenth birthday that I was only briefly bothered by how wrongly Nicolette is treated. Hey, it just goes with the legend, you know it happens. But oh the mysteries of the workshop…
Before Nicolette’s parents died, the fae were welcome among the humans and often their “magic” was used to make life easier. Everyday chores were done quicker with spells and contraptions fueled by magic. But tragedy struck and the fae were banished back to their world. Soon after, Nicolette’s mother died. Her father, of course remarried and the rest is known legend.
Ms. Cornwell’s own take on Cinderella is original, unique, mesmerizing, and heartbreaking all at the same time. She took the characters in directions I didn’t see coming and had surprises for me that I absolutely loved! I’m still kind of processing the ending because it’s a head-scratcher, but I mean that in the best way possible. There is closure! Don’t worry about that! But when I finished the book, I sort of continued the story for myself in my head. I needed these characters to continue on. I needed them to age, mature, and have the future I saw them deserving.
I have no idea if there will be another book. There doesn’t need to be one. If there is one, though, it wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing, either.
If there is a next time, please put Jules on the cover! With a beautiful cover like that, it’s a crime he isn’t on it!!!