Mechanica ARC Review -- Sleeping Beauty Or Nah?

Mechanica | Betsy Cornwell
Release Date: August 4, 2015 | HMHkids
Pages: 304
Genre(s): Young Adult, Re-telling, Fantasy
Edition: Kindle
Source: Publisher

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.

I received a review copy courtesy of the author/publisher. This does not affect my opinion or views regarding the book whatsoever.


" Was Cinderella always this . . . uneventful? If I watched the Disney movie today would I be this . . . bored? " These are legit questions I constantly asked myself while reading Mechanica. I would hate to use the word BORING to describe this book because . . well . . that's off putting to most, so maybe saying:
" A Well Written Snore-Fest " would suffice a bit better. 

I'm going to warn you guys now, this review is probably going to be all over the place because I'm beyond conflicted. While I thoroughly enjoyed the writing, and loved that the author incorporated some steampunk elements, it wasn't enough to carry this story, and unfortunately it ended up falling pretty flat. 

Cinderella Dressed In Yella, Went Upstairs To Kiss A Fella

My main obsession with re-tellings, is that you can do sooo much with them. For me, a successful one is when the author uses the roots of the original version, but adds their own creative spin composing a completely new story of their own. While Cornwell partially did this with joining two genres together, (YA and Steampunk) her story in my opinion followed the original to the T, causing it to be a tad bit  uninspiring, and * cough * predictable. 

In my reviews I usually go into detail about the plot just to give you guys a slight idea of what the story is about, but in all honesty, NOTHING HAPPENED HERE. There isn't a plot to discuss ladies and gentlemen. NO DIRECTION, NO MEANING, NO NOTHING and usually when this happens, I immediately give up and move onto something else, but I was rooting for Nicolette! Her situation with losing both of her parents, and having to live with the evil " steps " was depressing of course, but take that backstory away from her, and the fact that she's an amazing mechanic, and well . . . there's nothing else under the hood. (HA, see what I did there lol.)


If you managed to push through without pulling your hair out from boredom, then you've probably stumbled across my two main issues with this book: predictability, and INSTA-LOVE. First of all, you guys know how I feel about characters falling " in love " too damn fast. I mean I get it, it happens . . . but I'm more of a slow-burn romance type of gal. One thing that I refuse to let slide, is how the romance didn't even make sense. How is it possible, to LOVE a boy you've just met? Not to mention, you guys barely spent any time with each other, and when that quality time finally came around, (I remember only two scenes) you're all of a sudden in love? Come on Nicolette, you know better homegirl. However, in her defense, being locked up in a sellar with not much social interaction with people her age probably was the reason she was so excited about said boy. She reminded me of a guy that hadn't had sex in a long time. Just so damn overly-pumped for nothing you know?

Is It Over Yet? * Peaks From Under Covers *

Now if that wasn't the straw that broke the camel's back, it would be the fact that I knew EVERYTHING that would happen in the next scene. I was predicting Nick's future so well, you would've thought my name was Raven! It bothered me to no end to figure out what the major plot twist was BEFORE I EVEN KNEW THERE WOULD BE PLOT TWISTS! This was all due to the fact that the story followed it's inspiration wayyy to closely, allowing us to pretty much know what direction things where going, and how they'd be executed. There were differences of course, such as the use of magic, the interesting elements of steampunk, and the forbidden-ness of fae, but other than that, it was just a cranked up version of the original. 

I don't want to steer you guys away from reading this, but honestly because there's nothing you're really missing, it wouldn't hurt for you to skip it. As I mentioned before the writing and certain elements is what saved Mechanica from a DNF, but it'd seriously be a hassle trying to stay awake to even enjoy the little beauty Cornwell had to offer. If you're looking for something more fast paced, action-packed, with a slew of diverse characters, and NO INSTA-LOVE, then I highly recommend you read Cinder by Marissa Meyer!

Sometimes beautiful covers don't equal beautiful stories. * Le Sigh *   

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