Friday, October 30, 2015

Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson {review}

Rebel Mechanics 
by Shanna Swendson
♦publisher: Farrar, Strauss, & Giroux
♦release date: July 14th, 2015
♦hardcover, 310 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦series: Rebel Mechanics, book 1
♦source: from publisher for honest review
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.

Review: Despite a rough start (I had actually started this one, set it aside for a while, then decided to give it another go!), Rebel Mechanics  turned out to be a fun romp of a steampunk story that I absolutely enjoyed to bits! 

 In an alternate history where Magisters hold all the power in government and military, a revolution is brewing among magic-free folk. They’re determined to show that machinery and ingenuity is just as valuable and should not be held back. Verity, finds herself mixed up with the rebels on her very first time in a new city, charmed by their determination, their clever mechanical creations, and of course, by a handsome smile and first taste of attraction. I found her a bit frustratingly naïve at first, but Verity grew on me and grew as a character. She gets coerced into spying for the Rebels and takes the excitement on with zeal, bravery, and no small amount of gutsiness! Her new official job as governess to the wards of an enigmatic Magister proves a challenge with both dealing with the kids and dealing with her own closely held secret.

I loved the development of her relationship with Henry. I though he was absolutely charming in that bumbling, distracted sort of way. There is a bit of a triangle going on here, but never really felt like one to me, because the other “option” was never appealing to me! There are a slew of great characters running through this riotous story, most of them complex enough make readers both like them and doubt them at the same time. Including Verity herself. 

With the creativity and vivid detail of the steampunk machinery, a clever girl with one foot in both sides of a revolution, and a story full of romance, friendships, and ulterior motives, Rebel Mechanics is the start of a series that I will definitely be returning to for future adventures!

Find Shanna Swendson online:  Website  •  Twitter  •  Facebook

Purchase the book:  Indiebound  •  BookDepository   •  Amazon


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