Here is the summary of the book:
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.
Then 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.
There was Cinderella. Then came Cinder. Now there is Mechanica aka Nicolette. Really the literally community has no shortage of this iconic character. Now fair warning to those saying this is a rip-off of Cinder (Lunar Chronicles) should note that this is actually not sci-fi at all but historical fantasy mixed with steampunk and the Faerie. While Mechanica doesn't follow the fairytale perfectly, the baser elements are there even if the conclusion is a bit different than you would expect .... Professing a new look towards the notion of friendship.
Nic short for Nicolette is her mother's daughter. Capable mechanic and an inquisitive one, she had learned it all at her mother's side, going against her father;s wishes for a proper society daughter. She'd rather tinker than play dress-up. Independant and very much vocal about her wants always faced the ire of her stepmother and the ridicule of her stepsisters. But Nic is as intuitive as she is inquisitive. In a world where the Fae are known and their magic performed .... well Nic has just the idea to attain her freedom and she needs no Prince for that I tell you.
Betsy Cornwell's play on words is definitely to be appreciated. Bold enough to put forth a new twist on the classic that is Cinderella. But where Cornwell succeeds in recreating the fairytale in her ideas, the book suffers on the other hand from a serious want of pacing. The plot takes so much time to polish Nic's story that when the royal event comes around, it just suddenly picks up speed and runs with it. Aside from that the introduction and inclusion of Faerie and Fae magic was a great and well though out implementation to the story. So not really my favorite re-telling of the fairytale but an enlightening experience nonetheless.
"Steampunk Cinderella with a splendid to eye to details"