Review of Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson

RebelMechanicsRebel Mechanics
By: Shanna Swendson
Release Date: July 14th 2015
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

A copy of this book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:

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.

My Thoughts:
I went into Rebel Mechanics with a bit of trepidation. I haven’t had the best luck with steampunk books so I was thinking this would fall into the same traps. I was so surprised with how enjoyable I found this story to be. I enjoyed that the book combined an alternate history with steampunk. This combination made for a really enticing read.

I was immediately absorbed into the world and main character, Verity. The pacing was fast and the steam-punk aspects were a good amount of the story but it didn’t drive the writing. I find that a lot of times it feels like a story was created to feature the steampunk machines but for this book it seemed like an aside to the story-line. I really loved that.

The society in Rebel Mechanics was broken into classes- the Magisters and then the folks with no magical ability. Of course there was division and hatred between the groups and really this drove the story. I found this not to be an entirely unique concept but it worked incredibly well and really, magic= happiness for Kristen. Swendson really captured a revolutionary atmosphere and it gave the book a historical feel though it was an alternate reality.

My favorite character hands down was Lord Henry. He reminded me a bit of the 10th Doctor which I adored. I couldn’t help but see him as David Tennant. Not a bad thing at all.

Lord Henry was such a fun character and I’d be happy reading a story solely about him. His interactions with Verity were perfect and so cute. The other characters, like the children Verity is governance for, are well rounded and incredibly likeable. The rebels were understandable in their motives even if I didn’t always love the way they approached their cause.

As for the story in this one it was fun and not too heavy. It was a tad easy to predict and I saw the twists playing out before the reveals but honestly that didn’t detract from the story for me. I just found this book to be so engaging and really refreshing.

Final Thoughts:
I really loved Rebel Mechanics. I thought it was such an entertaining read that kept me glued from start to finish. I’m completely sold on these characters and can’t wait for more (there had better be a sequel).


  1. says

    Ooo, yay! So glad you enjoyed this one, Kristen! I’ve been trying to decide if it’s worth the read, and it clearly IS. Can’t wait to dig in. Lord Henry sounds fab.

    Hafsah @ IceyBooks

    • says

      Yesss! I was so iffy on it myself before I started. I was terrified it wouldn’t be that well done but it was just so delightful. I hope you love it Hafsah!

  2. P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex says

    Sounds very interesting! I like that it has a revolutionary feel and that there is this added element of history. But it still has the magic, which I enjoy so much! I hadn’t heard about this one before but I’ll definitely consider giving it a try. Thanks for the review!

  3. says

    I’m new to steampunk but I really want to get into it — so to hear that you really liked this one after trying a few makes me really want to start with it! I’ve heard that steampunk is supposed to be an alternate history, but the one in this book just seems so creative 😀 And I love a book with great characters — looks like I’ll definitely have to try this one! Great review!

  4. says

    Yay 😀 I’m oh so thrilled that you loved this book Kristen. <3 I have also been worried about it. But now I'm much more excited 🙂 Henry sounds cute. <3 I'm reading it next. But I have read nothing for 2 weeks, so difficult for me to pick it up :p Tomorrow, hopefully 🙂 Thank you for sharing your amazing thoughts sweetie. <3 So happy that you were positive surprised by this one 🙂

  5. says

    I’m glad that you enjoyed this book. I did as well. I thought that Verity and Lord Henry had some interesting chemistry. I was totally surprised how much I enjoyed an alternate 1888 New York. Great review.

    Grace @ Books of Love

  6. says

    I finally sat down today to write my own review so I can at last read your review! I’m so glad you loved this book too–it made me so happy to read. I agree with your about Lord Henry being the absolute best too.

    I’ve already started recommending this book to everyone I know because I really, really need for there to be at least one more sequel (though preferably many more).

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