I’ve had my eye on Mechanica for a while now because I love fairytale retellings. Cornwell takes some of the most memorable traits from Cinderella, but makes it her own, creating this original steampunk take on one of our childhood favourite fairytales. Nicolette’s mother was an inventor, and she taught Nicolette mostly everything she knew. After her mother’s death, Nicolette’s father remarried – and we know how the rest goes; there is a ball, a prince, but also an exposition where Nicolette can show of her inventions and finally earn her freedom from her evil Stepmother and step-sisters, but does Nicolette get a happy ever after?
My favourite part of Mechanica was the beginning, which started off very strongly, and we learned the history of the kingdom, of the fae, the political tensions between humans and the fae, and the background of Nicolette herself. I thought the world-building was great and I loved the incorporation of Fae and their magic. This was one of the high points of the novel. I loved several of the characters too, though I can’t say that Nicolette was one of them (though I rather admired her strength).
Mechanica strays quite a lot from the original source material, but that’s what makes it’s a great and original story. The reason this is not getting a higher rating from me is because I felt it was rather slow during the middle, and the resolution was all quite neat, even with some political tensions between the fae and humans still left unanswered and unresolved. In fact, it actually leaves it quite open for a sequel.
For those concerned, Mechanica is absolutely nothing at all like Cinder. The only thing they share in common is that they’re both inventors/mechanics, though Mechanica is set in a steampunk setting. Otherwise, the story and characters differ vastly. I wouldn’t pass this up because you’re worried about it being a carbon copy of Cinder.
Overall, I think it could have been better, but an enjoyable read nonetheless.