Thoughts on Rebel Mechanics
By Shanna Swendson
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.
"This is how you treat your friends? I'd hate to be your enemy."
-Rebel Mechanics, page 46
I really, really loved the main characters in this book. Verity, our protagonist, was so cool. She was a bookworm, which we rarely see in a character, because apparently fighting wizards while riding dragons is more important than reading. I think that our characters have their priorities messed up. Reading comes first and saving the world comes second. I also loved Verity's quirks, I just found her to be not your typical YA female protagonist and I loved that. Verity was also very intelligent at times, and was super cunning when she needed to be. I also loved how Verity always sought an adventure, whether that be at her governessing job, in the outside world, or in a story book. Also, Verity put up with absolutely no nonsense and I loved that because I HATE IT SO SO MUCH WHEN CHARACTERS LET EVERYONE JUST WALK ALL OVER THEM.
"I know far too many men who find that admirable in a wife, but that is not the sort of man I want her to marry."
- Rebel Mechanics, page 34
I also loved how much the Uncle to the children Verity was the governess for (I forgot his name, okay? Please don't hate me forever. I am a super forgetful goldfish.) cared for and wanted to help his nieces and nephews. I loved how much he worked and wanted to change what to country was at that time. He truly cared for and respected his nieces and nephews, which I find very admirable.
"It's not about lighting a candle. It's about channeling and controlling power."
-Rebel Mechanics, page 71
I also really loved the children themselves, especially Olive. I loved how they all had their own quirks and weakness to them. They were very realistic portrayals of children, and I very much liked the conversations between Olive and the oldest girl (again, I am a VERY forgetful goldfish) and Verity. The dialogue was hilarious, whether it be due to the curiosity of Olive or the petty complaints of eldest child. I also didn't really like the middle child whom was a boy (CURSE MY SHORT TERM MEMORY LOSS) as much as the girls. He just didn't seem to have much of a personality, and was kind of flat.
"Women like us can't afford to be choosy when we make our own way in the world."
-Rebel Mechanics, page 64
I also thought that the journalist girl who was part of the inventor rebellion group (I'm just going to make up really complicated names for the people whose names I forget) was super cool and was a great friend for Verity. She helped make Verity's loneliness in this new city better, and I really admired that about her. The journalist girl who was apart of the inventor rebellion group also brought all the character development that was going on to my attention. I felt that Verity and the journalist girl who was apart of the inventor rebellion group developed so much into great members of their society. They are also going to CHANGE THE WORLD because the world needs changing.
"It doesn't seem that it's the amount of money that matters to these bandits, but rather to whom the money belongs."
-Rebel Mechanics, page 74
I definitely felt that the main conflict was very honorable, but not petty, like many of the YA books out there today. The battles, conflict, and even the bandits were sensible. However, I did not like how the conflict was carried out, but I will talk about that later. Also, I can't stand the magicians that DIDN'T USE THEIR FREAKING MAGIC. If you HAVE MAGIC, you USE THE THE MAGIC. No matter what, magic should be used and not used as a "social class" as it is in this book.
"If your cause is so just, you shouldn't have to lie about it."
-Rebel Mechanics, page 164
I LOVED LOVED LOVED the writing style. It made the book fly by, and I was so addicted to it. When I picked up this book, I felt extremely glued to the book. The deception laced throughout this book was amazing, it kept my attention and definitely enhanced the quality of the book. However, the final battle/climax felt very poorly led up to and carried out. The climax is supposed to be the best part of the book, but in this book, it was the worst part.
"We don't stop until we've won."
-Rebel Mechanics, page 21
Overall, I really liked this novel. I LOVED the characters, and the writing style really struck me. I also really liked how the ending was wrapped up. I would recommend this book to history buffs, Revolutions geeks, and people who ponder what-ifs? constantly.