My biggest problem with this book is that it's so similar to the animated movie Aladdin, like someone was watching it and describing it to me scene afMy biggest problem with this book is that it's so similar to the animated movie Aladdin, like someone was watching it and describing it to me scene after scene, that I couldn't even imagine the characters as people, or the city as an actual city, or even a house as a house, everything played in my head exactly like an animation--animated characters, animated city, animated houses, animated everything. I understand that maybe being similar to the movie was the whole point of this book, but honestly I don't see the appeal. It's like when Hollywood remakes an old, dear movie and you think, "Okay, not necessary, but I'll give it a try...", and then you watch it and "Yep, not necessary. Why would you even bother to do this?"
It does not help that the characters have no depth, no will of their own, like they only do something not because they have meaningful reasons but because you expect them to (because you've watched Aladdin a bunch of times, we've all watched Aladdin a bunch of times), like when Aladdin meets Jasmine, he saves her, they talk for a while, he shows her where he lives and shortly after he's captured by the guards and finds out she's the princess and that she's about to get married to someone of her father's choosing, and he starts thinking about needing to be a prince to marry her. This might sound cute when you're watching the animated movie and adorable cupcake Aladdin with his thick dark eyebrows and cheeky grin voices the same idea, but reading it in this version of the story when I don't even like the guy yet makes it sound so shallow and nonsensical. Why would you want to marry a person you just met this afternoon?? Is it just because she's a beautiful princess? Because that's what happens in the movie?
Plus, apparently, these characters are a bit older than the movie versions, Jasmine at some point talks about not being twenty yet, so if she’s a 19-year-old and Aladdin is around the same age, I would have never guessed. I honestly thought they were teens, 14, 15 tops.
I feel like I’m being too harsh on this book but there’s really nothing I enjoyed about it, and this coming from a person that loves retellings of all kinds.
(I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.) ...more
DNF. Okay, here's the thing, I didn't hate this book, and I was actually enjoying it quite a lot, BUT I was, like, 200 pages in, and Tyra, the princessDNF. Okay, here's the thing, I didn't hate this book, and I was actually enjoying it quite a lot, BUT I was, like, 200 pages in, and Tyra, the princess, was still this extremely unpleasant brat who can't be bothered to call the hero, Nels, by his name (she calls him either "peasant" or "ghost"). He must earn it, she says. Well excuse me, you arrogant, disrespectful, obnoxious little brat, but if on top of all the ridiculously annoying things you do and say and think, I also have to put up with the notion that a person must earn being called by their own name by your special royal vocal cords, I'm done with this book. I was pretty bored by the story by then anyway so it was a relief. Worse than having a terrible heroine that treats the hero like crap, is having a hero that falls in love with a terrible heroine that treats him like crap, after all she's beautiful, and that's what matters, right?...*smh*...more
Mechanica is a Cinderella retelling with a steampunk element, a heroine that can fix and build all kinds of things, a POC love interest, and an extremMechanica is a Cinderella retelling with a steampunk element, a heroine that can fix and build all kinds of things, a POC love interest, and an extremely adorable mechanical mini horse as sidekick. Sounds really good, right? And it was, for about 80% of the story, but the last couple of chapters ruined it for me.
But let me go back to the positives, I liked the protagonist, Nicolette, from the very start, she’s one of those heroines who will never stop to feel sorry for themselves--no matter how bad things are, and I admired her for it. Her determination, her spirit, the fact that she not only hopes for a better life but does something about it, and how she works SO HARD, my goodness, I was exhausted just from reading about it. On top of all the chores she has to do around the house every single day, plus the errands for her stepmother and stepsisters (the Steps, like Nicolette calls them), she always finds the time for her own outrageous projects, to go sell her stuff at the market, to make friends and plan things with them--truly remarkable.
I was also pretty intrigued by the fantasy element in this story, Nicolette’s late mother used to build these mechanical creatures out of plain materials—metal, glass--but then somehow they became sentient, to the point that, the people who bought them sometimes treated them as pets, and when Nicolette finds her mother’s workshop, she comes across a substance that she believes was her mother’s secret "ingredient" for the creatures, and I was so into this, I wanted to know everything about it, where did it came from and how did she get it? What was it exactly? How does it work? And why? I kept waiting for an explanation but it never came. At some point Nicolette even starts using the substance, and still no explanation is given to the reader.
Other aspect of this story that I felt like was lacking was everything to do with the Steps--apart from one or two scenes, they’re basically not even present, Nicolette certainly talks about them, about the wicked things they say and do, and about the endless list of jobs they demand from her every day, but there are hardly any scenes where one can actually “see” the Steps being horrible. Plus, we never get to see their reaction to Nicolette’s success, because they kind of disappear altogether from the story towards the end.
Now, the thing that bothered me the most: the romance. I’m sorry but it was just... so... wrong. Especially for a story that’s inspired in a fairy-tale. Truthfully, I don’t need fluffy happy ever afters, I don’t even need romance in a story (though I prefer that it is there and that it makes me cry and laugh and almost sends my heart into cardiac arrest with joy), but if there is romance, I need it to *at least* have some kind of consistency, to make sense, to not leave me confused and thinking What the hell just happened...? Well, guess what happened with Mechanica?? -.-'
The romance is not a strong element to begin with, Nicolette falls for her love interest after seeing him maybe twice, and even though I wasn’t entirely happy with this, I kept saying to myself that insta-love happens all the time in fairy-tales, and that the story focuses on Nicolette’s journey to be free and independent anyway, but it’s hard to keep making excuses when all Nicolette suddenly can think about is this boy and how she's so in love with him. The worst was still to come though, ***and please stop reading this review now if you don’t want spoilers, because I can’t go on expressing my frustration regarding the romance without spoiling it*** because this love interest barely shows any strong feelings for Nicolette, but still, in what feels like a completely random scene, asks her to marry him, and get this, at that point Nicolette had realized that maybe he loved another girl too, their good friend Caro, and she asks him about it... and that's when he starts telling this incredibly touching tale of how "there hasn't been a single moment in my life when I haven't loved Caro" and how "I fell in love with her before I could speak, before I could think".
... he goes on and on about his love for this other girl, and he wants Nicolette too. IMAGINE MY HORROR. I abhor love triangles of any kind, and this one was particularly offensive to me because 1. it just appeared, suddenly, out of nowhere, without a warning whatsoever, 2. the guy (and Nicolette) thinks it's okay??, and 3. when later Nicolette talks about this whole situation with Caro, Caro is like, Oh it's fine! So what if he likes us both, and we both like him? Maybe one day we will fall in love with someone else, or maybe we'll always love him, doesn't matter! What matters is that we stay bffs forever! The three of us!
I kid you not, this is more or less how the thing goes, and I could barely believe my eyes--what happened to the story I was enjoying so much... ? What happened??
I understand that with retellings there's always the need for plot twists, especially with fairy-tales, I mean, we've all heard these stories retold so many times before, but in this case, in terms of the romance, and how the whole thing comes together in the end, with all its twists and turns, is wide of the mark for me. It's a bizarre ending, to say the least, totally anticlimactic, and like I said before, ruined the book for me.
(eARC kindly provided by the author in exchange for an honest review, thank you.) ...more
Steamy Beauty and the Beast retelling! How come I didn't know about this until a certain scene happened, and another, and another, and another? You caSteamy Beauty and the Beast retelling! How come I didn't know about this until a certain scene happened, and another, and another, and another? You can't imagine my shock---a good shock, though.
Loved the badass heroine, Louvaen, and her practical, no-drama, excuse-you-I-ain't-no-damsel-in-distress personality. Not to mention the fact that she's like a she-wolf with a pup regarding her baby sister, Cinnia, and how Cinnia loves her back.
The author did a great job creating these characters, this world, and mixing them up with the classic elements of the fairytale. I found myself smiling every time I recognized something or someone.
She also did an amazing job retelling the curse, and dealing with the "Beast's" disfigurement. I mean, imagine writing a steamy version of Beauty and the Beast and having to figure out how to make the hero beastly, without turning this story into something... let's say *uncomfortable* for the reader. Draven nailed it though, the romance is lovely and hot.
Recommended, of course! It's so rare to find beautifully written fairytale retellings that feel like completely new stories--I know because I look for them constantly. Come to me, my beauties. ...more
Really enjoyed this one! It reminded me a lot of Cinder by Marissa Meyer, and that's one of the best compliments I c* * * NO LOVE TRIANGLE, YAY! * * *
Really enjoyed this one! It reminded me a lot of Cinder by Marissa Meyer, and that's one of the best compliments I can give to a book.
As a hardcore, and very picky, fan of fairy tale retellings, I can say that the author managed to successfully put a spin on the classic Snow White and wow me. The story is recognizable, but it also reads like a totally new and original tale--always my favorite kind of retellings.
The world-building is fantastic--it's dark, it's futuristic, and it's literally out of this world because the characters at some point hop from one planet to another.
My favorite thing about this book was the feisty, smart, strong and stubborn, so stubborn heroine, who definitely doesn't need a man to save her. Essie is independent, empowered, and truly a badass--I mean, she does cage-fighting to win some extra money. Cage-fighting. Against men. But she's only human, which means that under all that badassery and those protective layers, she's vulnerable and not immune to fear or pain at all. She also feels deeply lonely sometimes, although she would never let anyone see it.
I also loved, LOVED the drones (Snow White and the Seven Drones!!), sweet Dimwit (Dopey) stole my heart. The interactions between them all and Essie would always put a smile on my face.
The romance was sweet, I'm a sucker for deep-mistrust-or-hate-to-love type of relationships. Essie has a lot of issues in the men department (and reasons to), and Dane doesn't help because at first he's really not what he seems--to the point that I thought he was "the huntsman" of this retelling--and when the betrayal happens it only validates (more like, intensifies) Essie's fears. Like I said, it was sweet, but I do wish that it had been more.
The ending was probably a bit too rushed, but still, the story wrapped-up nicely. So, fans of fairy tale retellings: don't miss out on this one.
(I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, Disney-Hyperion.) ...more