Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers/ Clarion Books
Publication Date: August 25, 2015
Source: HMH Books for Young Readers in exchange for an honest review. Receiving this book has in no way altered my opinion or 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 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.
Mechanica is a retelling of the fairy tale Cinderella - however it is NOT anything like Cinder although on the surface they look like they may have some similarities. For example, both are retellings of the same tale so they are both about strong females overcoming hard lifestyles and bring up the name cinder (in reference to the soot and ash from cleaning), and unlike the original they are both semi-steampunk in theme.
They are very different though- in Mechanica the main character is called a good deal of names - cinder is brought up in passing, but they end on Nick and Mechanica. The story is a fantasy with steampunk elements and Nick is an inventor using her skill and sometimes magic to complete her pieces.
There were some elements of this book that were very predictable - the love triangle for one and then the swooning over the prince. As a reader you can also expect a lot of nastiness from the Stepmother and sisters, so there is a good amount of woe-is-me from Nick. That is fine but it did slow down the book a good amount and I can see where some readers may find the book more tedious and boring than anything else.
I enjoyed it. It was a strong female wanting to make a name for herself and do good by herself - she wants to make a living and buy back her house and tries as best she can to do those things. It is about an independent young woman and I think we need more of that rather than the knight in shining armor saving the day all the time.
P.S. This cover is gorgeous.