Friday, July 3, 2015

Review: "Mechanica" by Betsy Cornwell


Title: Mechanica

Author: Betsy Cornwell

Genre: YA Fairytale Retell/Fantasy

Publication: August 5, 2015

Pages: 304


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 turned her into a servant in her own home.

But on her sixteenth birthday, Nicolette discovers a secret workshop in the cellar and begins to dare to imagine a new life for herself. Could the mysterious books and tools hidden there—and the mechanical menagerie, led by a tiny metal horse named Jules—be the key to escaping her dreary existence? With a technological exposition and royal ball on the horizon, the timing might just be perfect for Nicolette to earn her freedom at last.

Gorgeous prose and themes of social justice and family shine in this richly imagined Cinderella retelling about an indomitable inventor who finds her prince . . . but realizes she doesn't want a fairy tale happy ending after all.

Auggie's Review
Very Enjoyable Read!

As many reviewers have already stated: This is not Cinder. I'm actually a little disappointed that fanatic readers everywhere would immediately assume that this book WAS a copy of Cinder. They have very few similarities other than that they are Cinderella retellings and that advanced technology is in someway (but entirely different ways) involved.

Where Cinder is a cyborg steam-punk sci-fi adventure, Mechanica is a straight-up fantasy with steam-punk elements and lots and LOTS of magic. Truth be told, I feel that Mechanica stayed much closer to the fairytale than Cinder ever did (though that's not a complaint or a praise, because I loved both books, I'm just noting differences here).

I wanted to give this book a 5, but upon the approach of the end I felt the rating falling. Things were happening too fast, whereas the rest of the book had been building and taking time to explain, and show, and create. The ride was going great and then it just... stopped. Like, BOOM! Horse threw a shoe and now we're stuck on the side of the road going "Well, what now?"

So, it lost a star for its sudden and uncomfortable ending, though I do look forward to the next installment. I had thought it was a standalone until the end of the book, which left no room to doubt it's a series.

Some thoughts:

Mechanica is a phenomenal heroine. The relationship between herself and the number of characters are fascinating, and in some cases absolutely relatable. The author makes you question your prejudices and surprises you with twists that keep you on your toes.

This is not your typical "Happily Ever After". In fact, you very much doubt at several points in the work that there will be a happy anything! But our main gal Mechanica pushes through, learning her own lessons and working for everything she gains.

Romance... I don't want to ruin it for you but this book's perspective on love is refreshing and more realistic than I've seen in a YA novel for a long while.

Fairytale? Well, perhaps. A kick ass story of overcoming adversity and growing into a real person, with passionate dreams, and solid goals? Absolutely.

Auggie is the 28 year old whirlwind owner of Auggie-Talk. A Teen Librarian and bibliobibuli by nature as well as a (potentially obsessive) lover of Diana Wynne Jones and Neil Gaiman. One can normally find Auggie neck deep in reading, writing, or daydreaming (sometimes all three at once).  She's also been known to drink too much caffeine and eat too many lemon flavored sweets.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds very good.
    I haven't read Cinder yet, but I will. I've only heard good things about it :-)