Nicolette's awful stepsisters call her "Mechanica" to demean her, but the nickname fits: she learned to be an inventor at her mother's knee. Her mom is gone now, though, and the Steps have pushed her into a life of dreary servitude. When she discovers a secret workshop in the cellar on her sixteenth birthday - and befriends Jules, a tiny magical metal horse - Nicolette starts to imagine a new life for herself. And the timing may be perfect: There's a technological exposition and a royal ball on the horizon. Determined to invent her own happily-ever-after, Mechanica seeks to wow the prince and eager entrepreneurs alike.
Darn and double darn did I ever want to like this book. I liked the cover. I liked the idea of a steampunk Cinderella (who wouldn't after Marissa Meyer made such a hit of it with Cinder!). And the novel starts out very well. The first quarter of the book is solid. Tight pace, good build to our set of characters, nice creativity with the steampunk elements that are mixed seamlessly with our historical setting. It has all the component of a GREAT novel.
But just before halfway through, things fell apart. It was as though a well-oiled machine suddenly became rusty. When machines become rusty they don't move seamlessly, they painfully grind to a halt and that is what went wrong with Mechanica. The pace, which had been skipping along nicely, completely stopped. It became an eye rolling wait for SOMETHING to happen, ANYTHING to trigger movement in the story which had become stagnant and stayed that way for far too long.
In my own opinion, this book read like it had been a stand alone novel and must have been quite a zippy one at that. However, perhaps the publisher or editor had bigger dreams and felt the novel could be expanded to a series so they plucked out the pluck half way through and as a result, the rest of the novel fizzled to a full stop.
For such a bright start, this novel had a disappointing mid-to full finish. It is beyond me why Goodreads rates this book a stellar 4+. Unfortunately, for me, this novel receives no higher than a sad prop my door open rating.