*I received this book as an eARC from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group/Clarion Books on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
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Author: Betsy Cornwell
Publication Date: August 4, 2015
Synopsis: 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.
Why?: I love a good retelling/reimagining, and I never get tired of reading stories based on Cinderella. I mean, I know it's over done. And I know there's not much more anyone can do with such a popular story. But Mechanica sounds like it will actually be unique and exciting, and I can't wait to find out why Nicolette decides she doesn't want a fairy tale ending. I'm also really excited about the steampunk element to this book!
Expectations: I've never read anything by Betsy Cornwell, but I have pretty high expectations for this book. Fairy tale retellings are pretty popular right now, so I think there has to be something really special about this book for it to be pretty much everywhere I look. I've also heard pretty good things about it, so I think that raises my expectations even more than they normally would be.
Judging a book by its cover: I absolutely love everything about this cover! The colors are gorgeous, and I love all of the little details. Every time I look at it, I find new things that make me even more excited to read the book. The gears and the steampunk feel of the title are pretty obvious, but I'm so excited to find out why there are so many little dragonflies around Nicolette. I want to know about the glass slipper she's holding and how it comes into play. I love the mechanical feel of the castle in the background, and how all of the vines and everything underneath her are chains or gears or other pieces of machinery. I really just want to hold this cover and stare it at forever. I would 100% pick this book up off of the shelf based on the cover alone!