Ahoy there me mateys! This book is a retelling of Cinderella where the main character is mechanically inclined. There are magicical fae elements, steampunk elements, and classic fairytale elements. Overall I thought this was a very entertaining read with more positives than negatives.
Our Cinderella is this version is Mechanica. She is intelligent, hardworking, a voracious reader, and has big dreams for the future. In particular I loved how the combination of magic and machinery is used to clean the house and deal with the demands of the evil stepmother and the “Steps.” I also adored the tiny mechanical horse named Jules and the other mechanical creatures that are her friends. The world-building was fun and the twisting of classical fairytale elements was lovely.
The introduction to the world through the middle of the novel were the best parts. For me, the problems began when the love interest was introduced. I mean of course he is the prince and the blurb makes it clear that the ending is not a fairytale romance. But the setup for the story and Mechanica’s discovery of the workshop and inventions were the fun parts. Mechanica’s conflict over her love interest and the “resolution” of her relationship problems were kinda irksome. It was a rather odd version of a love triangle. I didn’t hate the ending; I just wanted Mechanica’s relationships with her friends to have gone in a different direction.
That said I am glad I read it and I do believe at some point I will read the sequel if it arrives in a local library at whatever port I find meself in.
Goodreads has this to say about the novel:
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.
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