Thursday, November 3, 2016

Review: Rebel Mechanics

Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson
Series: Rebel Mechanics #1
Genre: Steampunk
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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.

If I had to be a governess, working for a bandit would make my life much more exciting. Now I supposed I had to hope for something like a madwoman in the attic, or perhaps a ghost.

This is a very complicated book for me to review. It's even complicated for me to decide exactly what I think about it.

The plot is one I immediately like. The whole idea of magic versus technology has been one I've always loved and the fact that this is steam technology makes it - well, I'm not sure that it makes it better, but it's definitely awesome.

The plot is a little on the nebulous side, to me, but things keep happening. There's little to no dull moments in this book - as what doesn't have action has character building.

And then there's Verity, a young lady who comes from both worlds and tends to jump into things with a joie de vivre that, it must be admitted to, seems to often be lacking in these type of YA tales.

I like her, partially because of the way she sticks her nose into places she shouldn't. So much of the problems she finds herself in would never have happened if she didn't go practically looking for trouble, so that is nice. She's also, usually, a very grounded young woman.

Now, for the problem I had with this book.

I turned to look at him, and when my eyes met his, I forgot everything else: my recent near miss, Lizzie, the park. All I saw was his green eyes boring into my soul. From the way he looked at me, I guessed that he'd been struck the same way. We were frozen together in that moment.

Alec. Oh, Alec, the bane of my existence. (If they can be over the top, can't I too?)

It's not so much that I dislike him as a character, because he is a very interesting one (even if I literally wouldn't trust him as far as I could throw him) but as a love interest…he is terrible.

Verity, usually a fairly stable girl, turns into a mushy puddle of ooze and hormones when he's around OR when the subject of him comes up. It's like the blood is pumping through her heart but the blood isn't rising to her brain.

And by the second meeting, I started thinking that Alec was the sort to lie and manipulate anyone he could to get what he wanted - which, admittedly, what he wanted was something pretty decent, but he was one of those extremists that usually makes things worse for everyone.

Then, about halfway through the book, I was hit by a sudden realization (I'm not going to say suspicion because I was fully convinced I was right) and my opinion of him dropped even more.

Then I'm sitting there, waiting for Verity to catch on. I felt like dancing when this little tidbit came up because it showed that she wasn't totally vapid over him.

Alec, who had acted so devoted to me, who had kissed me so ardently, had callously disregarded the possible consequences of my spying for the rebels.

And there, in a nutshell, you have what he is. Interesting character, poor love interest and I sincerely hope Verity gives him the boot in the most painful way possible.

On a brief side note, I love the three 'children' Verity becomes governess to and their guardian is a total prize, so there is that to balance out the … issues.