Author: Shanna Swendson
Genre: YA/Alt History/Steampunk
Not only did we lose the Revolutionary War we live under the Magistrates- ruling British families that all have magical powers. Verity is a young governess who goes into New York for the first time from her private rather cloistered life and gets a job working for Lord Henry, one of those magistrates while meanwhile she falls in and makes friends with the Rebel Mechanics. A group of rebels who are building the machines and engines to prove the world doesn’t need the magic and we can survive without them.
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this. Writing wise it’s a quick and easy read. I liked Verity and Lord Henry (whom I pictured as James McAvoy and Carey Mulligan early on and then couldn’t get that picture out of my head). The rebels are a little harder but I still enjoyed them. Even Verity’s charges manage to not be annoying,
The downside is that it’s the start of another series and once you get past the alternative part you pretty much have read it before. Verity has a secret. She’s special. And a lot of the secrets in the book are pretty well laid out and easy to catch. Some just because the characters are smart and some just because they are kind of obvious.
But the standout thing for me was the characters aren’t all cut and paste. The rebels are not perfect noble people. Lord Henry and the ruling class are not horrible creations at all and in probably the big moment of the book, the big show piece Verity does see, very easily both sides of the story from the rebels and the military point of view which was a refreshing change.
The use of magic is not so over the top that it bogs down the book either. Mostly I was left with the impression that these were just people caught up in changing times all trying to make the best of it.
Recommend: Yes. Unlike a lot of series where my enthusiasm is kind of well I’ll read the next one when I get around to it I’m looking forward to a sequel for Rebel Mechanics and hope it comes soon.