2015 · 3 Stars · Book Reviews · Retelling · Steampunk · Young Adult

Mechanica – Betsy Cornwell ***Contains Spoilers***



Author’s Website


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 wanted to give this book 2 stars but I bumped it up to 3 for such a clever idea. P.s. Yes I have read Cinder. They are two totally different books.

Needless to say I was not thrilled with this book. I wanted to love it so much. I have been waiting for it to be released and when I saw it sitting on the new release shelf at my library I was SO EXCITED. I got home and began reading as soon as I finished cooking dinner. Within 3 hours I was sitting on my couch stunned. But I am getting ahead of myself.

If you know me then you know that I love a good fairy-tale retelling, and I knew that this book was going to focus more on friendship and on Nicolette finding herself. But I hate to say that this was so boring. There were so many things that were built up throughout the book that never happened or weren’t explained. Like what are the Ashes? Or what is going on with the war? So many things left hanging.

We got to hear page after page about the journals and scientific books that Nicolette reads but then when we get to the Ball and the Exhibition it felt so rushed. All that build up about the Exhibition and how she wants to show the world what she can do and we hear about a few other inventions then BAM! drama… We don’t get to see how other people feel about what she has made. This made me a little angry since this was supposed to be how she got people to look at her and take her seriously. But it wasn’t the thing she made for the Exhibition but the shoes that she made for the ball that gave her financial freedom.

I was also a little sad that Nicolette who is supposed to be all about goodness surround by evil (The Steps) stoops down to their level. All the parts of this book that I was looking forward to were just glanced over and I feel so unsatisfied…

The author said that she wanted to leave more of an open kind of ending because she wanted to come back to these characters later but as of now it is a stand alone novel that is lacking in my opinion.

In the blurb it says “…who finds her prince… but realizes she doesn’t want a fairy tale happy ending after all.” So I knew that it might not end the way that I wanted it to. You know the one where she marries the prince and whatnot but I figured she would find some kind of love, not just a weird “love” triangle that isn’t really love because each person loves someone that doesn’t love them. Prince loves Caro, Caro loves the Prince but also falls in love with many others (love shouldn’t just be for one person) Nicolette loves the prince (says she does, then says she doesn’t, then says she does but is getting over it) and Caro and Nicolette are best friends. Just super weird. It would have been better to have Caro and the Prince get married. Then someone would have had a happy ever after at least. Ugh!

2 thoughts on “Mechanica – Betsy Cornwell ***Contains Spoilers***

  1. Sorry to hear that this book didn’t work for you – though the issues you had with it seems to be things that would work fine for me, so thanks so much for sharing the detailed review 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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