Author: Betsy Cornwell.
Published: August 25th 2015 by Clarion books.
Sort: Stand-alone, fairytale retelling.
Source: Netgalley and publisher.
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.
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 SPOILER: credits for Nicolette that she turns him down, but I found it unbelievable since she has been telling us for over 120 pages how much she loves him.
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.