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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.
Gorgeous prose and themes of social justice and family shine in this richly imagined Cinderella retelling about an indomitable inventor who finds her prince . . . but realizes she doesn’t want a fairy tale happy ending after all.
~ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review~
I’m so disappointed with this book because it had the potential to be brilliant. Like other Cinderellas, Nicolette is at the mercy of her cruel stepmother and sisters. She’s treated like dirt and forced to work as a servant in her own family home. Unknown to her stepfamily, Nicolette has a talent for engineering and hides her mother’s old inventions away in her workroom. She plans to sell her designs to make enough money to leave and, hopefully, repurchase her family home from her stepmother’s clutches.
The concept is fantastic. Nicolette wants to save herself, remove herself from her toxic environment but on her own terms. The emphasis is not on romance but on the importance of friendship. And the importance of loving yourself rather than loving the prince. But there is no climax. The story flows quick and easy, but there’s nothing that fuels excitement, no internal conflict that was satisfying to read.
Overall, this book was enjoyable. How likely I would recommend this book will be varying, depends on my mood I think. But the ending was was cute, and honestly one of my favourite for a fairy tale retelling.