(Website, Blog)Published by Macmillan on July 14th 2015
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Steampunk, Young Adult
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.
I really enjoy Steampunk so anytime one crosses my radar I have to take a closer look. As soon as I saw read the summary for Rebel Mechanics, I was excited to dive into the story! Because of that, I cheated a little on my rule that I can’t read books more than one month out from their release date and you know what, I don’t care! It was completely worth it and I loved this story.
The main character is Verity Newton who comes to New York because of some personal things going on in her life. Almost immediately, her personality comes through as the train she is on is robbed by bandits and Verity is the one who ends up hitting the leader with her handbag when she thinks he might steal it. This event kicks off Verity’s crazy life in New York and as she lands a job as a governess for a wealthy family, Verity is pulled into a world she never thought she would inhabit, that of a spy.
I loved the world that Swendson created here. It is a wonderful blend of history (the year is 1888), science, and magic. In a world where Magisters have always made the rules and ruled the colonies, this group of rebels is formed to help non-magisters escape the British rule. I thought Swendson did a great job of building out the structure of society as well as the world they were living in.
Verity has her own story and reasons why she is in New York and as the story progresses, more is revealed about her. What I loved about Verity is that she is smart. I hate that I have to say that but it’s true. Everything she did had a purpose and she didn’t take stupid risks. As she began to connect the dots between the rebels, the bandits, and the magister guardian she works for, she continued to make smart decisions and help/protect those around her.
I thought the secondary characters were well done and helped to move the story along. I won’t give anything away about the rebels but they quickly see the benefit to becoming friendly with Verity and Lizzie, Colin, and Alec were all interesting characters.
Lord Henry is not your typical magister and as Verity begins to learn more about him, she finds herself drawn to him. Henry has secrets though and until they really trust each other, neither of them is giving anything away.
As the story progresses, things come to a head and things get dangerous for everyone I mentioned above. I’m not going to tell you what happens though, trust me when I say you should just read the book!
Overall I enjoyed this story quite a bit. It is fast paced and has plenty of action. With the inclusion of magic and the steampunk elements, I couldn’t stop turning the pages to see what would happen next with this group of characters and I couldn’t help but love Verity as a main character. I definitely look forward to more stories from Swendson (hopefully a book 2 for this crew) and recommend you go out and get this one as soon as you can.
Thank you to Macmillan for the review copy!