BOOK REPORT for Rebel Mechanics (Rebel Mechanics #1) by Shanna Swendson

Cover Story: Fancy Gear

BFF Charm: Yay

Swoonworthy Scale: 5

Continue reading >


Talky Talk: What If, With Magic

Bonus Factors: Steampunk, Robin Hood

Anti-Bonus Factor: Series Starter

Relationship Status: Let’s Be Friends (No, Really)

 Rebel Mechanics

Cover Story: Fancy Gear

There’s a lot going on on this cover, but all of it works together to form a cohesive whole. It’s obvious that this story will be an old-fashioned one, with a little steampunk action in the mix. And maybe, just maybe, an occasion that calls for fancy attire.

The Deal:

In 1888, America is still a colony ruled by the Brits. Brits who rule because of their ability to control magic. To find work as a governess, Verity Newton travels from New Haven, Connecticut, to New York City. She lands a job on her first day…but also lands in the midst of a growing revolution led by a group of individuals who think mechanics could replace magic.

BFF Charm: Eventually

Verity’s only 17, and has lived a bit of a sheltered life as the daughter of a Yale professor, so it’s not surprising that she’s a bit naïve. When she gets to NYC, she’s immediately caught in the midst of a struggle she didn’t even know existed, and quickly gets in over her head. But naïveté doesn’t equal stupidity, and Verity eventually sorts out what’s right and what’s wrong (and what she truly believes in). Even though I rolled my eyes on occasion at her, I can’t blame her for getting swept away.

Swoonworthy Scale: 5

Verity’s naïveté leads her into the arms of a man who might not be the right person for her. Thankfully, just as she eventually sorts out her beliefs, she also eventually sorts out the relationship, for better or worse.

There are hints that a much more swoonworthy situation could blossom if given the chance. But we’ll unfortunately have to wait for future books in the series to see if this is the case.

Talky Talk: What If, With Magic

From the very start, Shanna Swendson prefaces this book as an alternate history. And Rebel Mechanics is an alternate historical novel that feels realistic—it’s not super far-fetched to think that the American Revolution could have failed, nor that the Industrial Revolution might have been undermined by some other source of power. What is a little harder to believe, however, is that that other source of power, and the reason America finds itself a colony, is the fact that British nobles can control magic, and use it to power the world. Steam technology and electricity aren’t exactly illegal, but the police and the military find a way to put a stop to anyone messing with that sort of thing.

But that doesn’t mean that the idea of magic stopping mechanical advances from happening isn’t a fun one, and in the world Swendson has created, magic isn’t unusual. In fact, it’s the norm. Swendson does an excellent job of writing characters who can talk about magic as if it’s nothing unusual, and make the reader feel the same thing.

Bonus Factor: Steampunk

I love a fun steampunk story. And in the case of Rebel Mechanics, the steampunks are actually just mechanics and inventors who are trying to figure out how to use steam as an alternative to magic—for the first time, rather than living in a world in which steam is the main source of power. (They are literally punks who use steam.) The book puts a bit of a different spin on the steampunk trope.

Bonus Factor: Robin Hood

In addition to the, well, rebel mechanics, Verity runs into a group of bandits who steal from the rich and give to the poor. Gotta love a good Robin Hood twist!

Anti-Bonus Factor: Series Starter

As I neared the end of Rebel Mechanics, it became very clear to me that either the story was going to be wrapped up in a very rushed bow, or this was the start of a new series. Although the ending was decently satisfying, there’s definitely more of this story to tell/to read.

Casting Call:

Holliday Grainger as Verity

Relationship Status: Let’s Be Friends (No, Really)

It took me a while after our date had ended, Book, to realize how much of a good time we’d had. The date went smoothly, and we got along great, but nothing stood out to me as spectacular. But the more I thought about it later, the more I realized that I think we could be really great friends. No benefits, mind you. I hope you’re OK with that.

Rebel Mechanics is available now.

Mandy lives in Austin, TX, where she's a technical writer by day and a pop culture junkie by night. When she's not ensconced in a book for Forever Young Adult, Mandy can be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.