13 September 2015
Series: Rebel Mechanics #1
Rating: 3 / 5 stars
This novel has all the elements to be an instant classic in the steampunk genre. Unfortunately, Swendson does not do the best job of weaving the elements together so this novel falls about midway on the spectrum from love it to hate it.
Right off the bat, I can tell Verity is not the strongest of female characters. For starters, when her train gets boosted by bandits en route to start a new chapter of her life in New York City her reaction is to put down her book and watch enthusiastically. Instead of being cautious and erring on the side of reason, Verity is excited. And then, as if that isn't enough, she decides she fended off the bandit, simply because he didn't have any use for her and decided to let her go free. That's right - the bandit kisses her hand in farewell, and she considers herself awesome because she defended herself against him. Pah-lease.
Fortunately, Verity's character becomes less annoying as she gets settled into a new position and a new life in this alternate version of the United States of Britain. Though I must admit, she falters again when I realize that she seems prone to affording this novel a bit of a love triangle. Seriously, what is it with girls in Young Adult novels and their need to fall in love with every boy they set eyes on? Like most other novels in the YA genre, the romance is rushed, underdeveloped, and hardly matters to the plot. In fact, it would have been a lot better if Swendson has just left it out completely.
Still, I have to give some props to a novel where engineers and the rebels with the cause. Heck yes, amigos, heck yes. Though it seems the women in this alternate universe 1800s still are more apt to play nanny and be a bit of journalists than to get to tinker and design themselves, I still feel like I could have enjoyed joining this rebel movement.
Though the romance becomes a bit tiresome, the plot is fast paced and quickly changing, and I always love a good rebellion. So while Rebel Mechanics isn't a novel to write home about, it's a decent steampunk read for a lazy rainy weekend (even if the author had to throw magic in there for good measure as well).