Title: Mechanica
Author: Betsy Cornwell
Series: N/A
Release Date: August 4, 2015
Pages: 298
Genres: Young Adult, Fairy Tale, Romance
Source: 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.

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.


It feels like right now there are a lot of fairy tale retellings floating all around the YA booksphere, but this one definitely stood out to me. I requested this book after seeing the cover floating around on Goodreads. I'm a sucker for beautiful cover-art, and this one was definitely one of the prettiest that I've seen as of late. 

I went through a few reviews on this book, and I noticed that there was a whole lot of comparing it to Cinder and after reading it, I couldn't see any comparison besides the fact that they are both retellings of Cinderella. 

I thought it would be best to make a list to show how many differences there actually are between the two. 

  1. Cinder's and Nicolette's backgrounds are very different.
  2. Cinder is a dystopian novel, whereas Mechanica is more of a steam-punk fantasy.
  3. Mechanica is full of magic.
  4. There are no cyborgs in Mechanica. 
  5. Mechanica has creatures like the original Cinderella.
  6. Mechanica has a love triangle.
I could have continued but I didn't want to spoil anything. 

I actually really enjoyed the ending to Mechanica, and I think it's definitely different than all the other Cinderella stories. It hits home a message that I personally agree with, and I loved that Nicolette was very focused on bettering her life herself. 

Betsy Cornwell did such a great job writing this retelling, and I will be buying a copy when it comes out in August.

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