The premise behind this retelling is fantastic: Nicolette is a super-skilled mechanic and wants to survive by her own efforts, without waiting for a man to rescue her. There is romance, but it’s not the focal point of the whole book. I really liked this about Nicolette and it made her a good character to get on board with.
There were some really good ideas as well. I liked the inclusion of the fey and the steampunk setting was really cool - I love a bit of steampunk and I don’t get to see it nearly often enough in the books I read.
The main problem I had with Mechanica was its pacing. It moved far too slowly for me and included far too much detail about inconsequential things. There was very little in the way of tension and I found it quite hard to keep going at some points. It’s such a shame, because this really could have been a five star book if only it had been pepped up a bit, or made the reader fret and worry about Nicolette’s fate. The whole fey thing could have been expanded or made more sinister and for all that the Steps were obviously not nice people, I never really hated them or felt anything stronger than mild annoyance.
Some people have complained about the ending, but I actually found it great. It’s exactly what we need to see more of, especially in YA lit, to counteract the appalling messages that all Disney films prior to Brave fed us - that a girl requires a boy to validate her, save her and supply her self-worth. Um, no!
I’m not even going to go into the comparisons with Cinder. They’re different books and neither of them invented (a) the Cinderella myth, or (b) fairytale retellings.
Ultimately, Mechanika moved too slowly for me and there was too little in the way of tension or excitement for me to enjoy it more, but I have to give snaps to the author for writing such a feminist version of a super-unfeminist tale.
I received a copy of Mechanica in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley.