Author: Betsy Cornwell
Publication Date: August 25, 2015
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 this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. ❃
Mechanica by Betsy Cornwell 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.