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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.

304 pages, Kindle Edition

First published August 25, 2015

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About the author

Betsy Cornwell

10 books649 followers
Betsy Cornwell is a New York Times bestselling author living in west Ireland. She is the story editor and a contributing writer at Parabola, and her short-form writing includes fiction, nonfiction, and literary translation and has appeared in Fairy Tale Review, Zahir Tales, The Violence Prevention Initiative Journal, and elsewhere. She holds an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Notre Dame and a B.A. from Smith College.

Mechanica was published in 2015 and has featured on several best of the year lists, including Amazon.com’s Best Young Adult Books and USA Today‘s Must-Read Romances. In a starred review, Kirkus called this retelling of Cinderella “a smart, refreshing alternative to stale genre tropes.” Mechanica is a YALSA Teens’ Top Ten nominee for 2016.

Betsy’s debut novel, Tides, was published in 2013 to critical acclaim including a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, a place in the Bank Street Best Children’s Books of the Year, and a Bisexual Book Awards nomination.

Betsy has two more novels forthcoming from Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, in 2017 and 2018.

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5 stars
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3 stars
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159 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 953 reviews
September 3, 2015
This passage from the book ironically explains the pacing.
I never expected much of anything to happen, and nothing much did. I was in a constant state of waiting for things to begin.
There are some good things about this book.

1. Strong female character
2. Highly feminist book
3. Beautiful depiction of friendship

And honestly, for me, those are some of the best selling points for any book. But then we come to the bad.


Look, I'm sorry. The book could have the best, most wonderful non-Mary Sue character ever, but I read books to be entertained. A boring book just doesn't cut it. I need excitement. I need an actual plot. Particularly when a book is a retelling of a classic, a book needs to have twists and turns that one would not expect, in order for the book to distinguish itself from a generic retelling. It has to keep the reader wanting more, to keep reading on for an ending that's pretty much 100% predictable anyway. This book doesn't cut it. Why would I read about a wonderful character in a book where pretty much nothing happens? I might as well be reading about my own life *preens* ;3

It's a steampunk/fantasy. I can't compare it to Cinder because I haven't read it. It feels like half of the book was spent building up the world and what happened in the past, leaving insufficient room for a plot.
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,964 reviews294k followers
May 29, 2015
Never has a poor execution of a brilliant concept ever hit me so hard. Because this book had the potential to be amazing. It's the most feminist Cinderella retelling I've ever read and the message behind it was PERFECT. Too bad it was so painfully dull.

Let's get it out of the way: despite the similar premise, this book is absolutely nothing like Cinder. It is not about a cyborg Cinderella, it's more of a steampunk Fey book about a genius female mechanic. The writing, the setting and the circumstances do not even remotely resemble Meyer's book.

The story is about Nicolette who, like other Cinderellas before her, is an orphan at the mercy of her cruel Stepmother and Stepsisters. They treat her as a servant and demand that she do all the household chores. What they don't know is that Nicolette has a talent for engineering and keeps her inventions locked away in her mother's old workroom. She intends to sell her machines at market and make enough money to get away.

As a basic concept, this is fantastic. She doesn't want to go to a ball and be rescued by a prince; nope, Nicolette wants to save herself, be self-sufficient, get away by her own efforts. This book is not a romance and the author puts emphasis on the importance of female friendship. You see why I so wanted it to be good?

But there's no climax. It is literally the story of a mechanics business - a girl builds machines, goes to market, gets money for them and... that's basically the plot. So many lengthy descriptions of machines and making other things:

I could produce a basic knitting machine, start to finish, in only an hour now. The beadwork went quickly too, and I began experimenting with finer glass craft: more intricate boxes and bowls, covers for my machines, and floral pendants.

I'm sorry to say it, but - who cares???

You know those books where you like the idea and keep waiting and waiting to be hooked into it, thinking just around the corner the story will pick up and make you fall in love? Those books where you wait and wait and suddenly the book's over and you're left feeling like "That's it?!" This is one of those books. Nothing exciting happens.

I can't recommend this boring book, but the ending is worth knowing even if you don't plan to read it. In other reviews I've read, everyone seems to hate the ending - and I understand why - but I honestly thought it was wonderful. So here it is, spoiler-tagged for you:

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500 reviews2,411 followers
July 30, 2015
More often than not, when a book annoys the fuck out of me, I:

a.) Tell the characters to stuff it;
b.) Roll my eyes every five minutes; and
c.) Throw my book/Kindle across the room (and onto my bed!--no way I'm destroying my babies).

I unfortunately did all three when reading Mechanica. I'm not even sure I have a legitimate reason for doing them--this book wasn't bad by any means. It was just so incredibly boring that it ended up becoming slightly frustrating. I don't get my logic either. Don't ask.

First off, let's talk about how this book was painfully slow. The story was basically just Nicolette going on and on about petty things for the entire book. Where is the actual plot? Where are the twists, turns and exciting revelations? Fairy Godmother must've forgotten to poof those into the story. Whoops.

The writing made it a bit harder for me to get into the book as well. It was simple and easy to read most of the time, but leaning more to the boringly classic sort of simple. Maybe it's just me, though.

I'm not even sure what to think about Nicolette. There were times in the book where I admired her for her shows of strength, passion and determination... But there were also times when I wanted to push her down the stairs--particularly when she was with the prince. *gags*

All of the reviews I've read thus far said that this book didn't focus on the romance, which I can agree with. But some also said that there wasn't a lot of it--and that's where I have to politely disagree. During that scene where she meets the prince for the first time, you can already tell that she was going to go gaga over him. And she did. I was infuriated every time these two were together. I would go further into this, but SPOILERS.

Despite all of the ranting I just did, this book really had a lot of potential. Betsy Cornwell really did a lot of things that defied the "standards of fairytales." I mean, we have a very feminist plot, tight female friendships, an unexpected conclusion to the romance, plus a heroine who knows she's simply "unskilled" and not "clumsy."

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Profile Image for Faye, la Patata.
492 reviews2,115 followers
June 20, 2015
Don't get me wrong - despite my three-star rating, this has got to be the most refreshing Cinderella reimagination I've read.

I've always wanted more fairy tale retellings in a Steampunk setting. It's new, it's unique, and visualizing all the gears and machines around characters who are based on our favorite tales from childhood simply gives me the warm fuzzies. All the possibilities! All the unique things our character can do with herself and with her surroundings!

In that aspect, this book certainly delivered.

Do you remember how Disney portrayed our favorite fairy tale heroines in the early 90s (and well before that) as ladies who needed a man in order to be happy? Remember how romance was the be-all end-all to their Happy Ever Afters?

Well, Mechanica takes all that and throws it out the window.

I love how feminist this book was. I love how Nicolette was brought up loving engineering and making things out of gears and machines and little trinkets. She was independent, strong-willed, and determined to do something that would make her stable enough to get out of her stepfamily's clutches. She made this her goal, and it was very empowering to see a heroine who didn't wait for things to happen to her and who tried to put her future in her own hands.

And the romance! Or the lack of it. I think the best part about this book was how love was portrayed. It's definitely not the usual one we'd expect from a retelling of tales that are majorly about "they married and lived happily ever after." Instead of emphasizing on loving a prince who sweeps you off your feet, it's more about loving yourself. That whether or not he is there in your life, that doesn't make you any less of the person you are and who you're meant to be.

And my friends, that is bloody beautiful .

My only qualm about Mechanica is that, as Emily May stated in her review, it is told in a rather dull way. It is easy to read and it is easy to follow, and the heroine is absolutely likeable, but there is really no excitement in the storyline. It's like following the average person lead their life without any exciting events, and if there were any, it was told in an anti-climactic way. There was no climax. I waited for some heart-stopping scenes to happen, only to realize that I'm already at the end. There wasn't even enough internal conflict/struggle to satisfy me.

All in all, this book was enjoyable. I know I rooted for the main character. I know I cheered when she decided to prioritise herself. If you want girl power, you can't go wrong with this.
Profile Image for Sarah Elizabeth.
4,728 reviews1,279 followers
July 26, 2015
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Edelweiss.)

“I went to the cellar to check on my shoes. The glass had been cooling for hours now, but I still wasn’t sure if they’d be ready in time.”

Maybe it was just because of that pretty cover, but I expected so much more from this book.

I didn’t really like Nicolette in this story, not only did not come across the way I would expect Cinderella to come across, but she seemed to care more about her mechanical creations than real-life people, including the prince! She also seemed to be a bit violent, and wasn’t even all that bothered about going to the ball! I mean really?

"I swung my fist at her face. I landed a punch, but Chastity was already behind me."

I have to say that I really struggled with this book. The storyline just couldn’t keep my interest, and my mind wandered. I nodded off, I thought about cleaning my kitchen, I wished that the other half wasn’t watching the TV so that I could play guitar hero, I even considered cleaning my little boys room – that’s how bored I was. I mean there wasn’t even any romance!

The ending to this was likewise disappointing.

4 out of 10

And it's so pretty!

Profile Image for Taylor.
767 reviews421 followers
September 9, 2015
I loved this book right from the beginning. I found it to be fairly close to the Disney version and I actually really liked that. It felt more like a classic fairy tale then some crazy retelling. I loved how this book focused on friendship and not romance. It really was more about Nicolette finding her self and developing friendships than anything else. And I loved that.
I read this book in pretty much one sitting and I was so content with this story. I loved the writing style and the characters so much.
Overall, I really loved Mechanica. It's definitely one of my favorites of 2015 and I really recommend it, especially if you enjoy fairy tales.
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,470 reviews9,636 followers
August 29, 2015

I totally loved the book. I must say when I first saw it, I had one of those, choose a book by it's cover moments. I read the blurb and promptly put it on pre-order, got it today and read the whole thing.

This is an awesome rendition of a Cinderella steampunk novel. But this isn't the fairy-tale ending you are used to so if your going for that, it's not going to happen.

You have Nicolette, Nick for short, who is learning to make mechanical animals, bugs etc from her mom who is an excellent mechanic with the help of Fey magic. A few things go wrong and the Fey are banished from the land and their magic.

We all know the story that Nick's mom passes away, I'm just not telling you from what :) Her dad marries the evil Stepmonster and the jerk sisters that are a package deal. They are the ones that eventually name her Mechanica which is cute and I love it. It's her name mixed with her being a mechanic.

I love all of her little mechanical friends, but Jules is my favorite, he is her little horse. That changes a bit toward the end but I won't say how.

This is a book that you are going to just love or not like at all, I'm in the love category. I thought it was brilliant and magical. FYI: If there are any mechanics out there that can make me some steampunk animals and bugs... send me a message :)

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Profile Image for Andreea Pop.
320 reviews2,138 followers
Want to read
March 6, 2015
Hello, pretty cover!! *pats book*

This looks extremely interesting, but realyyy close to Cinder. Maybe too close. Anyhoo, the only concern I have about it is a part of the synopsis that bugged me: Determined to invent her own happily-ever-after, Mechanica seeks to wow the prince and eager entrepreneurs alike.

You know why? Kiera Cass says it best:

Cinderella never asked for a prince. She asked for a night off and a dress.

So, pretty book, don't ruin Cinderella.
Profile Image for Cee (The Mistress Case).
253 reviews161 followers
November 5, 2015
Bibbity bobbity . . .


I’ve never booed a book before, but there’s a first time for everything.

Where did Mechancia go wrong?

Beware: spoilers everywhere.

I kept waiting, waiting, for something exciting to happen. I was bored with the beginning and the middle and I wasn’t enjoying the characters. Bottom Line: This book is so boring that I might as well have skipped to the end and I wouldn't have missed anything in between.

By the time I hit 80%, I already knew I was in for an underwhelming ending.

The thing is I like the idea of the ending. The message it's sending to young girls. Nicholette owns her story and she doesn’t need a prince to complete it. She moved out of the house and is making a living as a successful inventor and independent woman. I love that. I do.

"Nothing could make me give up the freedom I longed for, not even the heir to a kingdom."

But the way it was delivered?

You’ve got to be shitting me.

You throw all this “Ashes” mystery, Fey antagonism and revolution, political intrigue, and hidden prince speculation at me, and I end up with this ending?

Who exactly is Cora? Where did half-ass triangle come from? Why must you make Nicholette bitch-slap her stepsister? Was I supposed to shout in triumph? I have so many issues with this book.

I don't care one bit about the romance and I'm not even mad that the prince is in love with someone else, but suddenly, he decides he wants to marry Nicholette because they make an "inspirational" and "romantic" couple and then Fitz added some crap about how it would help the revolution. All of this came out of nowhere. I really expected there to be some action with the Fey. There was none. The only action there was is of Nicolette running away from the ball like a little chicken shit and then bitch-slapping her stepsister. Retaliation and girl-on-girl harm is your version of feminism? No. Just no. I'm glad Nicolette stood up to her family and gained a backbone, but the rest of that crap is utterly ridiculous.

Yes, Mechancia, you are definitely rocking steampunk, but that’s all you’ll be rocking in the fairytale retelling world.

What a disappointment you are.

You're going into limbo with your sister Cinder. I don't like you both.

ARC provided by author in exchange for review.
Profile Image for Bekah.
745 reviews979 followers
July 23, 2015
I wanted to read this because it had a Cinder feel to it. But I read that so many people were turned off by this book because it sounded so much like Cinder by Marissa Meyer.

However I can honestly say this is NOTHING like Cinder and it is it's own unique retelling of Cinderella. Such a classic that retellings will never get old....

Profile Image for Courtney Wells.
112 reviews415 followers
Want to read
June 24, 2015
I'm not usually a cover whore but this is honestly making me feel somewhat slutty
Profile Image for Zoraida.
Author 36 books4,024 followers
Want to read
November 15, 2014
Super excited for this one. Steampunk Cinderella is not the same as Sci/fi Cinderella. There is room for many retellings.
Profile Image for Susana.
988 reviews243 followers
July 26, 2016
2.5 Stars

E-galley Courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company through Edelweiss

Release Date: August 4 th

First of all, let me start by reiterating something that all the other reviewers have been saying ad infinitum...

This has nothing to do with Cinder, people!

More than a mechanic, Nicolette is actually an inventor.
Also, she has all her limbs...

Yes, in this story our main character lives a very Cinderella type of life... as usual in all the Cinderella fairy tales or retellings tropes.
She lives in her family home, being exploited by her evil and puritan stepmother and stepsisters.
But besides that, she doesn't possess any of the... let's say "normal traits" associated with the character. And that is great!
Unfortunately almost all of the other aspects aren't all that great... to say the least.

The stepmother and stepsisters are the usual clichés with cardboard personalities;
The story's pace is painfully slow and boring;
Although the author tried to establish a solid world building with connections to the Fey _ "mythology" _ I could never grasp how magic would work in Nicollette's world.

Also, I kind of missed her "thinking process" while creating new things: It seemed that all she needed in order to create something was to put her goggles on and voilá, one steampunk object coming right up.

To "compensate" that, there's a lot a lot I tell you of inner monologues.
_ Also there is a character to which Nicollete will grow very attached to, and I honestly couldn't feel it.

The positives

The worst thing about me giving this tale only two and a half stars, is that this story actually has a great message!
In fact it has pretty much almost everything I would want _ okay, it has the fundamental: the skeleton _ in any type of story.

It has a strong leading character, who is fiercely motivated in following her goals.
Nick is determined in not letting anything or anyone, not even some boy she may fancy get in the way of her dreams.
More than anything in the world, Nick wants her freedom.
She wants to work in what makes her happy and she wants her independence.

The strongest relationship in this book is one of friendship, and I loved the girls interaction. I loved that their friendship took precedence over the supposed romance.

Despite all of this, strangely, I loved the last part of the story. -_-

We got to see the characters being faithful to whom they were and I loved that.
Also, there were some pretty beautiful prose going around in that last part that I would love to quote here... but can't. :/

Too bad that the beginning and the middle of the story ended up being quite dull.
Truth is, I couldn't' care less about the sewing machines that Nick ends up creating _ amongst many other things _and all the mechanical "animals" that would end up helping her.
Thing is, I wanted adventure!

As such recommended with caution to jaded bookworms.
Profile Image for Angelique The Gilded Pages.
199 reviews68 followers
July 26, 2015
I really wish people would stop comparing this to Cinder, and just read the damn book. How many Cinderella re-tellings have there been over the years?

Just because this is another one doesn't mean it will be like Cinder. Can you imagine what the author feels after reading all of these comments?

Give it a chance before you start judging it and calling it a knockoff.

EDIT: What the hell was that ending? The first 80% of the book was so good and then it tanked. Review to come closer to release date.
Profile Image for Amber J.
899 reviews59 followers
October 15, 2020
I try to express only my most honest opinion in a spoiler-free way. Unfortunately, there is still always a risk of slight spoilers despite my best efforts. If you feel something in my review is a spoiler please let me know. Thank you.

Nicolette loves her mechanical creations. She got it and learned it from her mother. After her mother dies when she was 9 years old. Her father remarries, and Nick thinks she will have a new family and friends in her stepmother and two stepsisters, but after her father dies the Steps show their true colors. Turning Nick into a neglected servant. Nick tries to find a way to be free and independent. She meets Caro and Fin, and they become friends who help her. Feeling for Fin develop. All the while a war with the Fey, that was banished years ago, is slowly brewing. But rumors are that the heir to the throne Prince Christopher wants to reopen things with the Fey.

~Cinderella retelling
~An original take on an old story
~Nicks eagerness to save herself
~Twist ending

~Took awhile to get into

This is a Cinderella retelling but as a more steampunk sort of twist. It's interesting and original in its own way. It also explores relationships other than just the romantic kind, which I think is great. It also has Nick wanting to save herself, not just waiting around for a white knight to come and save her. She has a dream that she is willing to see through to the end. How she doesn't let romantic love change everything about her and what she wants. It's a great lesson that I think many people could learn from.
Profile Image for Cody.
204 reviews631 followers
July 29, 2015

Let’s get down to brass tax, we have our protagonist Nicolette or ‘Nick’ who resembles the classic Cinderella; she’s an orphan and has two hideous stepsisters and an evil stepmother. She is made to do all the housework, chores and to be at her family's beck and call. Nick wishes to be free from her family, to be independent and to become a famous inventor. On her sixteenth birthday, Nicolette discovers her mother’s old workroom filled with old inventions and blueprints. Nicolette is determined to discover her mother’s old secrets and create the greatest inventions around so that she may have a workshop of her own.

For starters there was no real plot to this book, the first half was agonizingly slow. It basically consisted of Nicolette’s inner monologue of her terrible life, flashbacks of her childhood or the ponderings of her mother and fathers loveless relationship.

“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.”

So maybe a romance with a gorgeous prince can save this fairytale? No, take note of the quote above from the blurb. I set my own this trap believing this, I figured that maybe there would be at least some kind of romance but there really wasn’t. I would have to agree with others in that this does have instalove, as there wasn’t enough focus or actual scenes for this romance to be believable or realistic. BUT I think the main reason for the low ratings and mine also is because of the ending. I will be posting a spoiler lower down because I feel that people should be warned about this, there is nothing worse than following a book to the very end to be in my case completely disappointed.

The book had such potential and great premise but it just failed to hold my attention. As I stated I felt there was no actual plot in this book but merely plodding along with the heroine to see what she will do that day. There was no excitement or scandal that keep you on the edge of your seat with your heart pounding, dying to find out what comes next. The only part of the story that gripped me was the introduction of Fae, y’all know I love them! The Fae as always are magical creatures and Nicolette finds ‘Ashes’ among her mothers possessions which are clearly some form of dark magic that has come from the Fae world. Nicolette at one point even feels that these ‘Ashes’ would help stop the impending war between humans and Fae. But do we ever find out what these ashes are? Ever find out about the war? When it will happen? Who will win? No, not a thing! I was basically left in a steampunk limbo.

Literary-ly Obsessed
Profile Image for Mel (Daily Prophecy).
1,082 reviews465 followers
September 19, 2015
I am crying right now.

LOOK AT THAT COVER. This has to be the most disappointed book I’ve read this year, because I was expecting so much. Even after some negative reviews I kept holding on to the hope that I might like it after all, because we all know how much I love my fairytales. And again, that cover is stunning, so I was hoping the story would live up to it. Now let me go sit in a corner and weep, while you read my review of this book with potential - and managed to blow it.

The story started all right. I liked the writing, the characters were interesting and the steampunk details definitely added something unique to the original tale. Unfortunately, the characters soon became annoying and shallow. The steampunk soon lost it’s charm, because it became overwhelmed by Nicolette and her endless blabber.

There was a point in the story where I lost it. I couldn’t handle the ‘oh, we meet 5 minutes and we shall be best friends for life’ and the ‘I am in love with you, because we have conversations in my head’ situations.

Besides, I didn’t think it mattered much. I knew we could talk to each other, knew we liked each other — and it seemed I would talk with Fin in my mind, whether I wanted to or not.

The essentials of the story are still there. Two mean stepsisters, a beautiful yet cold stepmother and a Prince wanting to get a wife. There is even some talk of magic and forbidden fairies after the death of their beloved Queen. This topic is hardly handled and doesn’t seem to serve a true purpose for the story. It’s about Nicolette’s whining after all. She had clever moments where she used her mother’s talent by fixing mechanical objects, but mweh.

Then the ending. Gosh. That was frustrating. It simply didn’t work for me. I’m not sure how much you would count as a spoiler, but let me say that it’s not the expected happily-ever-after the story is working towards. Fin starts out as a charming guy, but then the basically tells her he also has loved someone else his entire life and he still proposes to Nicolette? I would tell him to go to hell, so

To be honest, I’m so let down I don’t even want to write a review about it. Sorry for this rambling mess, but I am terribly disappointed.
Profile Image for Beth.
3,129 reviews262 followers
July 29, 2015
Mechanica is a blending of a Cinderellish based story with a steampunk and feminist twist.

Nicolette is orphaned and left at the mercy of her cruel stepmother and stepsisters. They treat her as a servant, hence the Cinderellish I spoke of above. But even with all their cruelity, Nicolette thrives in her ability with mechanics and once she discovers her mother’s secret “workroom” she finds a way out of her desperate situation…by selling her creations.
What I really appreciated about this story:
Nicolette doesn’t want to be saved by a prince, she wants to save herself.
Nicolette discovers and develops a strong female friendship.

The potential for this plot was strong but it never truly climaxes. It was more like a daily, detailed journal telling of Nicolette’s independence with lots of side bars that never seem to go anywhere.

I liked this story but in the end it was just that I liked it. 3.5 stars.

I received this ARC copy of Mechanica from Clarion Books in exchange for a honest review. This book is set for publication August 25, 2015.

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Written by: Betsy Cornwell
Age Range: 12 and up
Grade Level: 7 and up
Page Count: 320 pages
Publisher: Clarion Books
Publication Date: August 25, 2015
ISBN-10: 0547927711
ISBN-13: 978-0547927718
Genre: Children's Fiction

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

For Reviews and More Check out: http://tometender.blogspot.com

Profile Image for Auggie.
243 reviews78 followers
May 8, 2015
As many reviewers have already stated: This is not Cinder. I'm actually a little disappointed that fanatic readers everywhere would immediately assume that this book WAS a copy of Cinder. They have very few similarities other than that they are Cinderella retellings and that advanced technology is in someway (but entirely different ways) involved.

Where Cinder is a cyborg steam-punk sci-fi adventure, Mechanica is a straight-up fantasy with steam-punk elements and lots and LOTS of magic. Truth be told, I feel that Mechanica stayed much closer to the fairytale than Cinder ever did (though that's not a complaint or a praise, because I loved both books, I'm just noting differences here).

I wanted to give this book a 5, but upon the approach of the end I felt the rating falling. Things were happening too fast, whereas the rest of the book had been building and taking time to explain, and show, and create. The ride was going great and then it just... stopped. Like, BOOM! Horse threw a shoe and now we're stuck on the side of the road going "Well, what now?"

So, it lost a star for its sudden and uncomfortable ending, though I do look forward to the next installment. I had thought it was a standalone until the end of the book, which left no room to doubt it's a series.

Some thoughts:

Mechanica is a phenomenal heroine. The relationship between herself and the number of characters are fascinating, and in some cases absolutely relatable. The author makes you question your prejudices and surprises you with twists that keep you on your toes.

This is not your typical "Happily Ever After". In fact, you very much doubt at several points in the work that there will be a happy anything! But our main gal Mechanica pushes through, learning her own lessons and working for everything she gains.

Romance... I don't want to ruin it for you but this book's perspective on love is refreshing and more realistic than I've seen in a YA novel for a long while.

Fairytale? Well, perhaps. A kick ass story of overcoming adversity and growing into a real person, with passionate dreams, and solid goals? Absolutely.

More detailed review to come closer to publication date.
Profile Image for TL .
1,826 reviews35 followers
August 28, 2017
Looking through reviews,this seems to be a love it or not like it type of book. It certainly isn't for everyone, but I really enjoyed this spin on the classic tale. Nicolette reminded me sometimes of Danielle from Ever After (one of my favorite movies) in her own way. It endeared her to me more.

I admired her resolve to make a better life for herself, despite her "family" keeping her down. I adored Jules , Caro, and to a lesser extent, Fin we didn't get to know him as well, to me anyway).

This is a steady-paced tale where not a whole lot happens, but like in my last read... it builds the characters and the world up instead. There is some stuff happening in the outside world, but its on the periphery mostly.

I would recommend giving it a chance and seeing what you think :)
(Short review, gotta leave for work)
Profile Image for Brooke — brooklynnnnereads.
1,005 reviews247 followers
October 17, 2017
As much as I wanted to love this novel, unfortunately, it fell flat for me.

I love retellings of classic fairy tales, especially when an author takes creative license and makes the story their own. If anything, the author definitely did succeed in making this a very unique retelling of Cinderella. Actually, I wouldn't even consider it a retelling because it took elements of the original story but it was truly different.

This may be a great read for others but unfortunately I could not get into the story. The writing was good but nothing was catching my attention. I could not become interested or invested in the story or the characters no matter how hard I tried. I finished this novel because I'm stubborn, but if I was to set down a novel unfinished, that would have definitely been the case with this one.

I hope others enjoy this more than I did because the premise of the story is good and the cover is beautiful but for me...meh.
Profile Image for Jay G.
1,235 reviews464 followers
August 1, 2017
Want to see more bookish things from me? Check out my Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfer...

*I was sent a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for my honest review*

VIDEO REVIEW: https://youtu.be/kjOdBBziVmo

4.5 Stars

After the death of both her parents, Nicolette Lampton lives with her Stepmother and two step sisters. Nicolette ends up discovering her mother's workshop and various creations on her 16th birthday and begins to develop the mechanic skills her mother once had. When her step family discovers her new passion, they begin to call her Mechanica in an attempt to belittle her. When news of a royal ball and exposition for new inventors is announced, Nick believes that this could be her chance to escape her life and begin a new one for herself.

This is a steampunk/fantasy retelling of Cinderella that incorporates Fey magic. The book has a very feminist vibe to it! Nicolette is such a strong female character who I came to admire throughout the story. She wasn't focused on romance, she was more focused on making a name for herself and starting a new life through her own hard work rather than having a prince save her. She was very strong-willed and intelligent and wanted to do things for herself. I loved the ending as well and how it is very different from the original Cinderella story. I also really enjoyed the female friendship in this book between Caro and Nick. Fin was also a great addition to the story and I loved his relationship with both Caro and Nicolette. I think the pacing and writing flowed nicely and it was very easy to read. I loved Jules and the mechanical bugs! A lot of people have been comparing this to Cinder and although their are similarities, I definitely think the book is unique in its own way.

I ended up knocking off half a star for the predictability of the story (which is hard not to do with a retelling) as well as the insta-love. Other than those two minor issues, which are my own personal tropes I don't like in a book, I really enjoyed this book and can't wait to read the second in the series!
Profile Image for Kathy Martin.
3,393 reviews74 followers
June 30, 2015
I really enjoyed this story which is a riff on the Cinderella story. Nicolette is the daughter of a famous inventor mother and an entrepreneur father. She seems benignly neglected by both of them. She wants to be an inventor like her mother who is her teacher when she can work her daughter in around inventing. She gets her nurturing from the housekeeper who is half-Fey.

After the death of the queen from an illness carried home from where the Fey live, the king turns against all things fey. The magic that Nicolette's mother infused in her inventions has made them terribly unpopular. The issue of the fey has also caused Nicolette's parents to argue. When Nicolette's mother catches the same disease that killed the Queen, her father refuses to deal illegally to get the fey remedy that could cure her. After her mother's death, her father remarries a woman who share his anti-Fey sentiments. She has two daughters and Nicolette initially hopes that they will become her sisters. But after her father's death, things change drastically for Nicolette. At age 10, Nicolette becomes a servant for the Steps.

Luckily, she still has some of their former housekeepers magical gadgets to help her. But she spends a lonely six years as a despised servant before she receives a letter from her mother on her sixteenth birthday. The letter gives her access to her mother's hidden workshop which opens new opportunities for Nicolette. She is befriended by a small clockwork horse and a bunch of clockwork insects. She determines to invent things to sell so that she can someday have a place and workshop of her own.

On her first trip to the market, she meets Caro and Fin who befriend her. They are her first friends. But when she returns home, her stepmother has discovered her workshop and has destroyed it. Most hurtful is that she destroyed the clockwork horse. However, her friends are still there to encourage her and her stepmother didn't find the hidden workshop.

Nicolette - now renamed Mechanica by her spiteful stepsisters - is determined to win recognition for her inventions at an up-coming Exposition and Ball. The stepsisters are determined to use the Ball as an opportunity to meet the hidden Heir Christopher and to catch his attention so that he will make one of them his wife. Mechanica doesn't care about catching a prince; she wants to build her own life on her own merits.

What I especially liked about this story was that Mechanica was someone who was determined to act and make her own happy ending. I liked the worldbuilding and the combination of magic and invention.
Profile Image for nick (the infinite limits of love).
2,120 reviews1,348 followers
July 29, 2015

The alluring cover of Mechanica and the promise of a Cinderella retelling are what drew me into the book. Mechanica was different from what I was expecting, and in a good way. First things first, for those of you worried that this is a replica of Marissa Meyer's Cinder, believe me when I say that it's completely different from Cinder.

Mechanica was more than a plot-driven book, a character driven story. There were times in the book where it felt slow and if you're more of an action-driven reader, you might want to change your expectations. It read a lot like the original Cinderella story, in that it was more slow natured and told the story of a young girl rising up to her true potential. Nick was a character who was easy to love. She was an independent, resilient and brave girl, who refused to let the circumstances that her evil step family presented to her, dampen who she was. She was very much a feminist role model who never needed to be saved, but instead took the necessary steps to save herself. It was hard not to like her character since she possessed all these great qualities. One of my favorite parts about Mechanica was the friendships that Nick developed throughout the book. She cared for her friends and their relationships were deep and so positive. I loved that Betsy Cornwell wrote this lovely friendship as a glimmer of hope for Nick.

Romance readers will be slightly disappointed to find that Mechanica is lacking in that department. As a reader who craves romance , I initially thought I would struggle with Mechanica for that reason, but I actually really appreciated how much this book focused on a young woman's self and the friends that she developed instead of her romantic relationships. Another part of the book I thoroughly enjoyed was watching Nick use her mother's books and knowledge in order to build these different gadgets. You could tell how passionate Nick was about her mechanical skills and her love for the work was contagious. There was a sweet mechanical horse named Jules who I instantly became fond of and became sort of an ally to Nick. In addition, Mechanica was set in a fascinating world with intriguing politics. There were faeries, dark magic, living steampunk animals. It made for an interesting read for sure. I do, however, believe that Mechanica could have been a much stronger novel had there been more of a tighter plot line. Despite that though, this book worked for me because it had so many valuable lessons to impart on readers.

Mechanica was a thoughtful and powerful story that not only is very readable but also has an important message that women from every age group can benefit from. It might not be the book for everyone, but it is one that is worth giving a shot.
Profile Image for Markéta.
266 reviews114 followers
January 1, 2016
So it started amazing and I was intriqued but as it went on my feelings changed and thoughts like "what the hell", "how and why" became more frequent.

Although I love retold stories, so far the only one I really truly enjoyed has been Cinder. This one had so much potentional. In the beginning you think that it will be similiar to Cinder because there are animated inanimate objects but you realize soon that it's nothing alike. In Mechanica there are faes and magic and the world its set in is quite interesting.

Nicolette's mother died when she was young. Her mother was the one who made all the creatures with the help of fae magic. When some fae assassin assault the human queen all fae are banished along with their magic. Around that time she fell ill and only some fae flower could help her but as it was made illegal, there's no way to cure her and she dies.

Then father re-marries and her stepmother is nasty.. blahblahblah..

And then it goes from bad to worse (not in the story, you see, but the story itself turn from pretty good to "eh" then "meh" and then "wtf"). Nick dicovers her mother's stash of forbidden things and her life turns better. She goes to some market where she meets Caro and Fin.

Does it smell of love triangle? It does, right? But in the end it was even worse. Spolier ahead, so don't read if you don't want to know..

Nick fell in love with Fin almost instantly, she thought that when he invited her to the ball he loved her as well but she realized there that Fin loved Caro "even before he could walk and think." Then Fin proposes to Nick and when she asks about Caro he goes on and on and on about how he loves Caro. Are you for real?

One good thing. Nicoletta actually refused him! So I thought: good, unusal but why not? Then came the epilogue. And all three of them were there, Nick was alright with it, Fin liked both of them and they all almost started singing and dancing kumbaya.


I truly don't like Caro. At one point Nick asked her about Fin and she was like "oh, I love him too, but I also fall in love with other people often so we're not together and we will never be".... Eh?

The ending was abrupt, didn't even make sense and so many things were left opened and unresolved. This book and this world had such a potentinal, but unfortunately it hasn't been done well.

For more reviews visit: http://do-notdiewondering.blogspot.com
Or visit my bookstagram: http://www.instagram.com/mlovesreading
Profile Image for The Candid Cover (Olivia & Lori).
1,173 reviews1,307 followers
February 21, 2020
Full Review on The Candid Cover

Mechanica is a spectacular steampunk retelling of the story everyone knows and loves, Cinderella. Instead of happily ever after, however, Nicolette doesn’t need romance and cares more about her friends. She is a very caring character that brings positivity wherever she goes.

Mechanica is a retelling of Cinderella that tells the story of a young mechanic called Nicolette. It is also a steampunk, which I don’t read a lot. At first while reading this book, I was sensing some Cinder vibes, but as I got further into it, I realized that it is really nothing like it. I see many people comparing the two, but the only similarity between them is that they are both retellings of the same book that feature machines. Mechanica is all about a girl who is independent and doesn’t need a prince to make her happy. It’s kind of like a reverse Cinderella.

One of the big themes in Mechanica is friendship. Nicolette meets new friends while she is at the market and they do their best to help each other out. They help her gather supplies for her inventions and one of them writes really thoughtful letters to her frequently. I really enjoyed how there is not a lot romance, because Nicolette doesn’t seem like the kind of person who needs a relationship. Because of this, the book can focus more on her true friends and her epic inventions.

I really liked Nicolette’s character in Mechanica. She is so selfless and offers to help pay for her friend’s mother’s medicine and doesn’t complain too much that she is used by her stepmother and stepsisters as a slave. Nicolette is also intelligent and capable of remaking her mother’s old machines and even remakes a tiny robot horse! I loved how Nicolette is so kind and appreciative for what she has, making her the opposite of her family.

Mechanica is an all new interpretation of Cinderella that focuses more on friends than romance. It has a compassionate main character who is a brilliant inventor. I definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys the classic Cinderella.
Profile Image for mith.
751 reviews259 followers
June 25, 2015
If you're expecting something like Cinder: don't.
If you're expecting it to follow the Cinderella story: don't.
If you're actually expecting a twist: maybe.
A good one?: well. ehhh...
Isn't Cinderella all about being kind and selfless and all that Confucius ideology? Maybe I'm going overboard (it sounded funnier in my head) but basically: We know Cinderella was never rude. Right?
Well, here it's kinda...different.
The unique part of this book is that the main character wasn't looking for a prince. She was looking to be free, be her own person. I loved that attitude. And I wanted to like Nicolette because of her need to be on her own.
It just didn't reach that amazing level I'd hoped it would be. I was hoping for a strong friendship, an engrossing plot, and of course, no real romance.
And it was just boring. This was kind of a step-by-step story. This happens, then that happens, leading to this. And it was not interesting whatsoever. You're waiting for the big surprise or the heartbreaking loss--something that makes you feel--and you aren't given it. It's d u l l.
(To be honest, I can't remember much about the book, having read it a few months ago.)
So yeah. Kind of a strange retelling of Cinderella.
I've been just sitting here, staring at this sorry excuse of a "review" and trying to incorporate something else, but nothing is coming to mind. Maybe that's saying enough.
I'm speechless and confused.
2.5 Review to come closer to release date if I can remember that.
I am sooooooooo excited for this!
(please don't suck, please don't suck, please don't suck)
(if I wish hard enough it'll be true right?)
Profile Image for Stacee.
2,711 reviews703 followers
August 15, 2015
Quite a clever Cinderella retelling.

I liked Nicolette well enough. I loved how smart she was and that she was so eager to learn and follow in her mother's footsteps. Her tenacity was one of her best features. No matter what happened, she kept trying. Caro, Fin, and the other characters didn't really feel as fleshed out as they could have been, but I liked the pieces of them we got.

The story is interesting and I loved the imagery of things, especially the mechanical objects. However, for me, something was definitely lacking. There was a lot of build up for the Exposition and then not only does an entirely different scene play out, but there's a quick resolution and the ending. And the world building with the faeries and the magic needed a bit more background. It felt like we got general ideas of why things were happening they way they were, but not full explanations.

Overall, it was a quick, enjoyable read. The ending was fairly open ended; if there is a sequel, I will be reading it. Probably just for more Jules.

**Huge thanks to HMH for Young Readers and Edelweiss for providing the arc in exchange for an honest review**
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