Review 239. Betsy Cornwell – Mechanica.

22749698Title: Mechanica.
Author: Betsy Cornwell.
Pages: 320.
Published: August 25th 2015 by Clarion books.
Sort: Stand-alone, fairytale retelling.
Source: Netgalley and 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.

LOOK AT THAT COVER. This has to be the most disappointed book I’ve read this year, because I was expecting so much. Even after some negative reviews I kept holding on to the hope that I might like it after all, because we all know how much I love my fairytales. And again, that cover is stunning, so I was hoping the story would live up to it. Now let me go sit in a corner and weep, while you read my review of this book with potential - and managed to blow it.

The story started all right. I liked the writing, the characters were interesting and the steampunk details definitely added something unique to the original tale. Unfortunately, the characters soon became annoying and shallow. The steampunk soon lost it’s charm, because it became overwhelmed by Nicolette and her endless blabber.


There was a point in the story where I lost it. I couldn’t handle the ‘oh, we meet 5 minutes and we shall be best friends for life’ and the ‘I am in love with you, because we have conversations in my head’ situations.

Besides, I didn’t think it mattered much. I knew we could talk to each other, knew we liked each other  —  and it seemed I would talk with Fin in my mind, whether I wanted to or not.

The essentials of the story are still there. Two mean stepsisters, a beautiful yet cold stepmother and a Prince wanting to get a wife. There is even some talk of magic and forbidden fairies after the death of their beloved Queen. This topic is hardly handled and doesn’t seem to serve a true purpose for the story. It’s about Nicolette’s whining after all. She had clever moments where she used her mother’s talent by fixing mechanical objects, but mweh.

Then the ending. Gosh. That was frustrating. It simply didn’t work for me. I’m not sure how much you would count as a spoiler, but let me say that it’s not the expected happily-ever-after the story is working towards. Fin starts out as a charming guy, but then the basically tells her he also has loved someone else his entire life and he still proposes to Nicolette? I would tell him to go to hell, so SPOILER: credits for Nicolette that she turns him down, but I found it unbelievable since she has been telling us for over 120 pages how much she loves him.

To be honest, I’m so let down I don’t even want to write a review about it. Sorry for this rambling mess, but I am terribly disappointed.


  1. Oh no. I so wanted this to be a good read. That is sooo disappointing.
    Thanks for sharing though.

  2. Oh no! So sorry you didn't like this: it looked so promising! I hate it when books are disappointing.

    Beatrice @ Book for Thought

  3. That cover IS really gorgeous! And that's extremely weird that the main character thinks she can talk to her lover in her head... that's actually really creepy lol. I'll be skipping this one! Thanks for your honest thoughts, but sorry you were disappointed by this one :(

  4. Uuuuugh. Gorgeous review Mel. <3 But damn it. I'm so sorry that this book was so disappointing :( I never wanted to read it, but must be so depressing when you had been excited for it :\ and it looks so pretty. Sigh. But girl sounds bad. And the ending sounds goddamn awful o.O You are so awesome for finishing it, lol. Thank you for sharing sweet girl. <3

    1. I don't know why I finished it.. still hopeful it would get better?

  5. Oh Mel, I'm so, so sorry about this one^^ Like you, I kept holding out hope for this one, despite some negative reviews because it sounded SO promissing. It has so much potential and it's truly awful to see that it wasted all of it with lame characters and a nonsense plot! UGH! I was thinking I'd still check this out eventually but I trust your judgement here so I'll pass altogether now. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us though!! *HUG*

    1. Thanks for trusting me. Most of the times I'm all in for 'you got to try it yourself' but with this one it's definitely for the best if you stay away.

  6. Yeah I don't regret skipping this one now although I'm sad it was such a disappointment for you. I appreciate a girl choosing herself but the whiny, lovesick mess that Nicolette seems to be is just not my thing.

  7. Oh man, this is such a disappointment. I really, REALLY loved the author's first book, Tides, so much that I was willing to look past the steampunk elements that I almost always avoid, just to read this.

    But man - that ending. I think I'm just going to go with my gut on this one and skip it.

    So sad.

  8. Aw! Too bad you didn't like it. I really enjoyed it. I liked the new take on the relationship between "Cinderella" and her prince charming. I also liked that the author chose to make the love interest turn out to be a "not for the best, but lets still be friends" thing.

    I wouldn't have appreciated the way the book got on and eventually ended except for expecting that it's not a standalone. If it were... then that's just poor writing... and I can't imagine a decent publisher picking up a Standalone with so many unresolved issues and a half-assed finish. So it got a good rating from me for building up the story so that it continues.

    If a 2nd book never comes out then my rating will probably change.

    1. A second book would be an improvement. I wouldn't read it, but I think the ending asks for it. I'm happy you could enjoy it!

  9. Awww I am so, so sorry! That is awful when you're so excited for a book and it is THAT bad. It does sound a mess though. And I read the spoiler (because I am not reading this book ever, basically) and yeah, that doesn't make sense! I really hope the next book you are excited for does NOT let you down, my fingers are crossed!
    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight

  10. Aw, I'm sorry you were disappointed! I've not read Mechanica, but for some reason I have a sort of soft spot for it - I think it could be compared (negatively) to the Lunar Chronicles, and I just think that kind of comparison is unfair. Having said that, it's a shame that the characters were not that great... maybe it deserves the negative comparisons?
    Beth x

  11. Ugh I'm so afraid to start this one D: I was planning to start this one next but have heard so many negative things about it. The cover is so pretty though :( Why can't all books be as good on the inside as they are on the outside?

  12. I haven't seen many pleasant things about this book. I think the highest rating from my friends was a three, and it was done out of pity. This was a book that I couldn't wait to get my hands on, but I am really turned off by the multiple people saying how boring and pointless it was. Meh.


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