Monday, August 17, 2015

Review: Mechanica by Betsy Cornwall

Mechanicaby Betsy Cornwell
Expected publication: August 25th 2015
by Clarion Books 

 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.

My Thoughts

This is a solid 3.5 for sure. I thought Mechanica was a sweet take on Cinderella with some pretty amazing steampunk elements mixed in which just added to the allure of the story.

This story follows young Nicolette or Nick as her step sister have deemed her. She came from a loving home with her father and her talented mother who used to create animatronic creatures to sell in town. Nick's mother was an extremely talented woman who always was hard on her only because she wanted her to succeed. There is also a strained dynamic taking place between the humans and the fae. The relationship always seemed bit tense but then blew up completely after the murder of the beloved queen with some fae disease at fault. This began the outlaws of all fae and their magic which was what Nick's mother used to create her creations.When her mother died from the same illness as the queen the story line broke my heart. Nick and her mother had such a special bond. You could really feel the loss of the mother in Nick losing her fae attachments as well. It was like everything she has ever known and loved was slowly being taken away from her. Nick simply is existing in her deep despair and her step mother and evil sisters step in a slowly force her into servitude in her own home. Nick is at a loss when she get a letter from her mother and is able to access her secret work room. This changes her life since she is now able to create what she loves. She even had a new friend in her mother's creations. Nick makes the bold decision to attend the technological exposition. She wants to blow the world away with what her and her mother have created. This is the story line I loved. Nick is confident and bold and so very smart.

Then things go a bit mediocre for me. She is introduced to a young boy and girl named Cara and Finn at the local market where nick is trying to earn some capital for her invention. The story takes some seriously odd turns at this point which I was not really a fan of. There is a principal theme that i did enjoy though. In the story it is made known that the fae families are not related like regular humans but choose whom they want their family to be through friendship and caring for one another. If a group of fae love each other and decide to have a child, it is born from that love. The moral of the story being that family is whom you choose it to be. I really liked that message but I felt it was distracted from a bit.

Anyhow this is sure to be a sweet, heart warming read for all fantasy lovers. Despite my tiny problem with the later part of the book, I still enjoyed it immensely and will look forward to more in the series.

3.5 Snowflakes


  1. This is one of the few books that I want to read just for the cover alone! :)

    Great review!

  2. I agree that the story took a lil bit of an odd turn and I want more about the Fae and the war!!
    Great review Britt!

  3. I've read mixed reviews for this one. I think I'll hold off on reading it for now. I do love retellings though! Great review!

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