By Betsy Cornwell
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 pushed her into a life of dreary servitude. When she discovers a secret workshop in the cellar on her sixteenth birthday—and befriends Jules, a tiny magical metal horse—Nicolette starts to imagine a new life for herself. And the timing may be perfect: there’s a technological exposition and a royal ball on the horizon. Determined to invent her own happily-ever-after, Mechanica seeks to wow the prince and eager entrepreneurs alike.
There are literally hundreds of different retellings of Cinderella, and being the avid fairy-tale connoisseur that I am, how can I turn down a steam-punk version of the famous story? Mechanica is interesting because of the machines and world that was built to house a mechanical genius Cinderella. One of the more interesting aspects of the world building here is that there are still fairies and magic, but the mechanical is where the humans lean, and the mixture of the two is considered treasonous. While this version has all of the classic themes, like a ball, slipper, fairy godmother, and the stepmother and sisters, it has plenty of originality and a great twist ending that made this a really fun read. If you enjoy retellings as much as me, this one is worth a gander.