Review: Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | The Book Depository
Series: #1 in the Rebel Mechanics series
Release date: July 14th, 2015
Publisher: Farrar, Strouss, and Giroux (Macmillan)
Length: 320 pages
Source: ARC from the publisher
A sixteen-year-old governess becomes a spy in this alternative U.S. history where the British control with magic and the colonists rebel by inventing.
It’s 1888, and sixteen-year-old Verity Newton lands a job in New York as a governess to a wealthy leading family—but she quickly learns that the family has big secrets. Magisters have always ruled the colonies, but now an underground society of mechanics and engineers are developing non-magical sources of power via steam engines that they hope will help them gain freedom from British rule. The family Verity works for is magister—but it seems like the children's young guardian uncle is sympathetic to the rebel cause. As Verity falls for a charming rebel inventor and agrees to become a spy, she also becomes more and more enmeshed in the magister family’s life. She soon realizes she’s uniquely positioned to advance the cause—but to do so, she’ll have to reveal her own dangerous secret.
I adored reading that! My god, was that some delightful fun. Adorable boy, fun rebel shenanigans, a feisty yet practical heroine, plays on a bunch of tropes, and alternate history to boot.. If you love stories about governesses, nobility, magic, New York City, steampunk gadgets, or--must be said again--completely adorable boys, read Rebel Mechanics, because reading it was pure pleasure. It's short and zippy and not too deep, but sometimes that's perfect. I'm so full of SQUEE. (And I toooootally ship the ship, yessiree.)
Rebel Mechanics is set in an alternate Victorian New York City, the largest city in an America that never gained independence from Britain, namely because the British nobles could do MAAAAAGIC. So the plebeian Americans are ruled by the magister class, and there is a huge class divide and uneven power and all sort of things I love to see in a good revolution tale.
Our heroine, Verity Newton, is a non-magister daughter of a university professor, come to the big city to be a governess for three wealthy magister children. Already we're firing on all cylinders, trope-wise and Gillian-wise, because I LOVE GOVERNESS TALES thank you Charlotte Bronte.
|plain strong obscure fierce of heart governesses FTW|
And then things REALLY start off delightfully because the very first scene is Verity's train being robbed by BANDITS, hot flirty bandits, of course, and she whaps the hot flirty bandit on the head with her bag, and yes, Verity, yes. Yes yes yes.
That should give you a very good idea of the sort of tone and feel you'll get in Rebel Mechanics. Reading this book was a JOY. A tropey, fluffy, fun, steampunk, magical JOY. Verity is practical and feisty and intellectual, and she harbors a Deep Secret. She gets caught up in the rebel movement that is trying to overthrow the magister leading class through STEAMPUNK MECHANICS, since all kinds of technology that could challenge the pervasive usage of and reliance on maaaaagic is verboten. There are airships and magical carriages and steam-powered buses and all sorts of fun things.
NOW. ROMANCE-WISE. I've seen lots of people decide to pass this book by for love triangle reasons, and that sads me for multiple reasons, namely 1) THIS BOOK IS LOVELY PLEASE READ IT 2) I wouldn't classify this as a love triangle per se, more like she has two different romantic OPTIONS and her (mild spoilers) desire for them doesn't overlap, it's more like a bait and switch 3) THAT SHIP IS THE SHIP OF DREEEEEEAMS. It is sososososososososososoo cute. Seriously, I'm trying very hard not to be spoilery, but one of the boys is SO GOD DAMN CUTE and Kristen in her review compared him to the Tenth Doctor and THIS IS NOT AT ALL A BAD COMPARISON.
I'm so excited for book two and this ship. I love this ship. Stake me to this ship and leave me where with the fluffs and the cutes. Like sure, the twists are predictable and it's a very LIGHT read and seems very much like the BEGINNING of a series, meaning most of the seriously seriously good stuff is to come, but oh, my heart needed this book. Totally preordered myself a finished copy, yes I did. So I can have Lord Henry all to myself.