“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.”
Uggggh. I don’t even know what to say about this. I don’t even know what to THINK about it.
I’m not sure why, but I went into it thinking that it was a Cinderella retelling? I’m not sure why, but that is definitely false.
When I finished the book at 3 AM, I was decidedly bitter and grumpy. I typed out the following via iphone on GoodReads whilst huddled in bed.
This Cinderella don’t need no man.
You know, if I had wanted to read a book about an independent girl defining herself as a steampunk mechanic…. And denies herself the boy just to underline that?
I would have read a book titled “steampunk Almost Cinderella story” or one titled “Steampunk Girl Rejects Romance Just To Have A Different Ending” with the subtitle: “Because I’m not like all the other girls and Falling In Love Is A Weakness That No Independent Woman Should Fall For.”
You know when a main character happens to live with terrible step sisters and a stepmother, and she doesn’t marry the prince?
That makes her not Cinderella.
You can have a fairy tail not end up with the guy. Some end it like that quite well. This is not one of those.
Dear publishers: please do not publish a retelling that’s not an actual retelling.
Sure, the original Cinderella was actually a tragedy.
But the Cinderella the 21st Century knows has an HEA.
This one acts like it’ll be an HEA until the second to last chapter. What a tease. Either commit or don’t.
Disgrace. Disgrace on you, your family and your cow.
This is the second shitty Steampunk Cinderella novel I’ve read in the past two months.
Full review soon. As you can see, at 3 in the morning, I’m unpleasant and mean.
Seriously, this was like opening a milk carton at lunch, and taking a BIIIIIGG swig, only to get a mouth full of chunky, sour curdled milk. Ugh.
So, if you are looking for a Cinderalla retelling, THIS ISN’T IT.
The writing was ok, and I liked Mechanica well enough… but there was one element that ruined it for me regardless of its ending.
There was this strange part where Mechanica talked about the Fae. She said that they lived in groups of friends, and that when said friends decided to have a child, they would just put their hands together and wish and then BAM one of them would become pregnant.
Later, when The Prince professes his love for her, he’s all like: Well, we don’t have to be committed to each other, we can find love elsewhere.
And I’m like: Wut? So she says no. I would have said no too if someone proposed to me with the sidealong idea that we’d have an open marriage.
But then, later she goes on with her two friends and it implies that they go on and emulate the Fae with some weird version of an emotional threesome.
It lost me with that. It seemed totally contrived and just tacked on to everything else.
Like the author thought, what would make this Cinderella different from any other Cinderella? And then she thought: Polyamorous characters?
I don’t know man. It seemed silly and it washed out whatever strength Cinderella gained by saying no. It left me with a bitter taste in my mouth, and my eyes rolling in to the back of my head.
I feel like I wasted my time. Although, I am glad that my copy is only a library copy. That way I can turn it in and only have to see it when I’m shelving books.