I have to say, this week has been the worst I’ve had since I got mono last year. I’ve just been straight up sick and uncomfortable. Consequently I’m running a little bit behind on everything…including the blog post I’ve been meaning to write (no spoilers) about my latest book obsession: Mechanica.
I first heard about Mechanica over at Book Sp(l)ot Reviews, and then saw it getting reviews elsewhere. Even the reviews that weren’t stellar still made it sound like a good book that was right up my alley. In case you guys haven’t figured it out yet, I’m bonkers for fairytales. Cameron Dorkey wrote Golden, and that hooked me back in 2006. It’s been a downhill slide into addiction since then.
Betsy Cornwell has written another book prior to this; I haven’t read Tides, but I’m definitely going to now. She bills her newest book as “a feminist steampunk fairytale,” and I’d say that’s fairly accurate. This is one of those books that is blending and blurring the line between fantasy and science-fiction. The concepts and premise are rooted in science, but the setting and some of the explanation falls back into the firmly fantastical. The combination is intriguing, and by the end of the story it was what was still tickling my mind the most. The story felt fully formed and happily finished for the characters, even though the higher-level conflicts were far from resolved in their surrounding world. I’m definitely hoping for a sequel, but I admire her ability to wrap up the story in a way that still feels conclusive.
I don’t usually read books that bill themselves as “feminist” for the same reason that I don’t read books that bill themselves as “political.” I’m an escapism fantasy lover because I like to get away from the real world issues that make this world so…worth escaping. However, Betsy put all the issues she dealt with in such a fantastic environment, it really worked well within the story. The Fey world was a neat thought-experiment of a civilization that illuminated a lot, but kept it pretty light, whimsical, and enjoyable.
My favorite character was bubbly Caro, and the step-family was perfectly executed (You hate the step-sisters from the moment you learn their names are Piety and Chastity.) All the minor characters were the exceptional bursts of color that any supporting cast should be, and Fitz especially delighted me for the strange way he viewed and treated poor Mechanica. The story reminded me of a lot of the more complicated relationships I had in high school. The characters were very real in the way they felt for each other. There were complicated emotions, and they way they resolved their feelings just made sense. Some of it was predictable, but Mechanica herself acknowledged that in the narration, which made it work. You’ll guess where it’s going…but you won’t know where it will end!
I highly recommend this book to any YA reader. It’ll tickle your brain like mechanical dragonflies a long time after you put it down 🙂