Rebel Mechanics (Rebel Mechanics #1)by Shanna Swendson
Published July 14th 2015 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
A sixteen-year-old governess becomes a spy in this alternative U.S. history where the British control with magic and the colonists rebel by inventing. It’s 1888, and sixteen-year-old Verity Newton lands a job in New York as a governess to a wealthy leading family—but she quickly learns that the family has big secrets. Magisters have always ruled the colonies, but now an underground society of mechanics and engineers are developing non-magical sources of power via steam engines that they hope will help them gain freedom from British rule. The family Verity works for is magister—but it seems like the children's young guardian uncle is sympathetic to the rebel cause. As Verity falls for a charming rebel inventor and agrees to become a spy, she also becomes more and more enmeshed in the magister family’s life. She soon realizes she’s uniquely positioned to advance the cause—but to do so, she'll have to reveal her own dangerous secret.
Rebel Mechanics had all the things I love about books. There was an imaginative alternate US where the British were still in power. They also have a strict divide among classes, those Magisters who have power and the common people who don't. There was masked swoony bandits and some good old fashioned espionage! It all came together really well in this unique steampunk-esque setting.
Verity was a brilliant character! She has many secrets of her own as well which thickened the plot a bit. She takes a job at the illustrious Lyndon Mansion. While simultaneously juggling her new position as governess and meeting a new group of friends, the Rebel Mechanics, Verity find herself way more caught up in the revolution then she ever imagined. This gangly group was great fun. Verity takes to the lively bunch becoming fast friends with Lizzie, and even starts to fall for a mechanic name Alec. As we follow along the events that have to do with the mechanics you get a good sense on where the people vs. governments stand. I thought this was a really fun ride and loved hearing about the non-magical inventions they made to hopefully one day supersede the use of Magisters to run everything. This also had quite the twist which I did not see coming but made for a great breaking point.
With that being said, I would have liked to know more about the magic itself. It seemed pretty interesting but was barely touched upon. All I got was only the Magisters have magic and it was drawn from the Aether in the air. know is that I'm hoping to see more of that in future books. I also have to say I was semi-disappointed with the big reveal. It was rather bleh. I wish it would have been a bit more clever.
All in all this will be a sure crowd pleaser for those steampunk/fantasy fans. I really enjoyed it with the exception of a few snafu's and can't wait for the next installment!