Monday, August 3, 2015

ARC Review: Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson

Rebel Mechanics

Rebel Mechanics (Rebel Mechanics, #1)

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.

REBEL MECHANICS was a fantastic blend of fantasy, steampunk, and historical fiction. This book was very different then my norm, but also pretty fun once I got into it. I did have my fair share of issues with it, but overall I fairly enjoyed it. Now it's not my favorite book, nor will steampunk become my new go to genre, but it's fun to get a different taste of reading from time to time. And I will definitely be continuing this series.

REBEL MECHANICS was beautifully written, and brilliantly crafted. The world-building was beyond awesome, and the atmosphere was magical and chillingly, the plot was engaging and fun, and the characters were developed and determined. I really enjoyed those aspects of this book. I thought they brought a demeanor that was fresh and driven, with a under-toning voice that spoke volumes.

But there were some things that didn't settle with me, and ultimately the reasons that determined my 3.5 star rating for REBEL MECHANICS.

I wasn't a big fan of the governess aspect. The kids were pretty cool I guess, but dealing with my own two kids all day is enough, and when I sit down to read I want to get lost in a magical world, without the dramas of children. And trust me, these kids had plenty of drama that I wasn't too keen on dealing with. But I have to admit the youngest Olive was a doll, and I did enjoy most of her parts. But I still think I would of liked this book much more if the kids were cut out, and the main character had a different roll that allowed her to remain in her employers household. But the kids did have their perks, at times.

The romance seriously lacked. Our main character Verity was easily persuaded and didn't see the bigger ploy behind her romance with Alec. And that, I can't tell you exactly what, but it really turned it off for me. The betrayals for me were unforgiving and ultimately underlined everything that had blossomed between them. But their was another guy, her employer Lord Henry that I found far more alluring and attractive, and genuinely genuine. He had many secrets but was compassionate, yet he had this strong, take charge air about him that I admired. And I felt by the end of the book that a spark flared between Lord Henry and Verity, and hopefully will be a nice set-up for book two, in which I hope we finally get to see them act on their unspoken desires! HINT, HINT Swendson...LOL! ;)

I also felt it was very slow paced. I would of liked a bit more action then what we got, and more confrontation between the rebels and Magisters. The plot was fantastic and the world-building was addicting, but the execution, and lack of heart-pounding, thrilling action and adventure, and the undesirable romance is what weighed this book down for me.


In the year of 1888 in New York, magic has become the force that propels their world. But only a certain few have the gift of magic, or curse depending on how you look at it. The Magisters are the ones that live in privilege and prestige for the magic that runs through their veins. They've ruled the colonies since the beginning and thus have the power to wield it any way they see fit. But times are changing and theirs hope within the lower class citizens that the rebels will incite anew way for them. But that's only if they're able to succeeded in bringing the Magisters down to their level! Their only hope lies with the brilliant rebel engineers and mechanics that have been secretly working to create a non-magical source of power through steam engines, and they hope to finally be able to end the harsh tyranny of the British rule.

Verity Newton has grieved her mothers death and is ready to start a new life in New York, and hopefully land a governess position to three children in a highly respected home. But what Verity doesn't expect is to also find a different kind of family besides the Marquis family she's serving.

Verity realizes that New York is nothing like she thought it would be. And she quickly becomes entangled with a group of intelligently quick-witted rebels, that are determined to spark change amongst the people. And the more that Verity witnesses the injustices that the non-magical citizens have to endure in order to survive, the more she's eager to help them the only way she can:

By becoming an intelligence spy for the rebels...

With bold acts of rebellion, and the rebels finally stepping out of the shadows to bring hope to their people, the government is more fearful then ever of a revolution. The rebel mechanics and engineers have been secretly creating a non magical source of power via steam engines, and are starting to make progress and have hopes that with enough steam engines and strong people, they could finally start to make a difference and overthrow the Magisters to bring equality to the people. But first they have to win a war that hasn't even started yet, and Verity Newton may be the key to their undoing...

REBEL MECHANICS was different then what I was use to, but that turned out to be a good thing because it was the breath of fresh air that I was needing. It was positive to my reading progression to spice it up a bit, instead of the same old same old genre. And REBEL MECHANICS was definitely able to bring that spark to spice up my reading a bit.

Overall, even with it's flaws and this being shelved as a 3.5 star review, REBEL MECHANICS was not a bad book by far. It just had some things I wasn't too keen with, but also had many that I was. This book was great on it's own level, but I expected and hoped for more from this book. But I'm optimistic that the next book will bring the extra spark that this book was missing. And I'm extremely excited to see where this revolution will go next, and if the machines will prevail over magic!


NOTE: I received a physical ARC from Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Macmillan) for reviewing purposes! All opinions expressed are my own and are not influenced in any way!


Shanna Swendson


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  2. Thanks for the honest and helpful review! You always take the time to tell us what you liked and didn't like, and even if you didn't like some parts, you are always fair.

  3. I thoroughly enjoy a good steampunk, but this one just doesn't sound like one tat I would enjoy. And while romance is definitely not at the top of my list, I do prefer when I enjoy the romance. At least a little bit!


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