Series: The Rebel Mechanics

Release Day Review: Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson

Posted on 07/14/2015 in Book Review / 4 Comments

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Release Day Review: Rebel Mechanics by Shanna SwendsonRebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson
Series: The Rebel Mechanics #1
Published by MacMillan on July 14th 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Steampunk, Fantasy & Magic
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
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It's 1888, and seventeen-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.\r\n

While not a bad book, because it was certainly entertaining, Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson was utterly predictable.  I knew how it was going to end probably before the author did.  So let’s talk about what made it tick – and what didn’t. Verity Newton as the main character was boring.  Seriously, Swendson couldn’t have chosen a more tedious character to narrate this novel, despite being a half-breed that can potentially cause conflict down the road.  And while she wasn’t unlikeable per se, she lacked that badass quality that every main character should have.  She was, for the most part, meek and unsure of herself, almost until the very end. Lord Henry was delightful and enigmatic, with his bespectacled eyes and his nose shoved in books.  But his secret is given up early on in the novel and I would have liked to have seen it drawn out more for the reader.  He is much more than an entomologist, and I wanted to know even more about him than we got. Alec, one of the Mechanics, I never found trustworthy or worth Verity’s schoolgirl crush.  He came off as conceited and as if he disregarded all of Verity’s feelings about their situation and how she might have been used by the rebels. Likewise, Lizzie struck me as a little two-faced, despite knowing she did have benevolent intentions.  She simply justified her actions a little too much for me to like her. I actually liked Flora and the children, despite Flora’s vanity.  Shallow waters run deep, and all that.  I’m looking forward to seeing where her character goes in the second book, and if she is also involved unbeknownst to the rest of the rebels, Henry and Verity.  The kids were genuine and inquisitive. I sense a love triangle brewing.  Although I usually don’t feel one way or another regarding them, they still need to be organic.  I have a feeling there will be romantic conflict in the second book and I’m not really looking forward to that.  I hate when an author creates one where it’s obvious that the main character should be with one character and not the other. The plot was interesting: this is an alternate reality where the American colonists did not successfully overthrow the British control, and Red Coats still patrol NYC while the colony is under the thumb of the monarchy.  It begins quickly, with a robbery on Verity’s train by masked bandits, which leads her straight into the hands of conflict, but she handles herself well.  I’m kind of excited to see where Swendson takes it next. Overall, not a terrible book, but it could be made better with improved characterization and less obvious plotlines.