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Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson ARC {4 Stars}

Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson is a steampunk revolutionary fantasy that has convinced me that I really do like steampunk! Rebel Mechanics has a great combination of governess duties, cute children, cute guys, revolution, magic, and inventions so really there is something for everyone to love ;-). This is a summer book not to miss!

Note: I received an advanced copy of Rebel Mechanics from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson ARC {4 Stars}

Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson
Published by Farrar on July 14th, 2015
Genres: Historical Fantasy, Steampunk, YA
Page Length: 320 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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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.

4 Stars


  • I love the alternative history in Rebel Mechanics! Basically, how would the Revolutionary War have turned out if England had magic and the Americans didn’t? Not very well is the answer ;-). But through ingenuity, the American second-class citizens are determined to make machines that can do everything magic can do and more!
  • I have a serious soft spot for main characters who are governesses (I blame high school required reading!) and adorable children. Rebel Mechanics has both and even makes Jane Eyre references to get amusingly meta ;-).
  • The pacing of Rebel Mechanics was seriously excellent. In hindsight I can’t say that there is wall-to-wall action but I was never ever bored and always excited about what was going to happen next.
  • Verity is a superb main character. She’s got a level head in the face of startling revelations and doesn’t take crap from anyone despite women’s traditional role in society. She also is frequently in situations that she is unsure of, but relies on her own wits to figure them out <3.
  • There is definitely a romance element and at first you might be concerned about it, but I was really pleased with the realistic way that the romantic plot developed and in the end find it quite sweet :).
  • Plot twist alert! Rebel Mechanics will definitely keep you on your toes. I thought I had figured out how things were going to develop and I was completely wrong :D.


  • There is a bit of a love triangle though I didn’t find it annoying and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to be a series long thing so I suggest you not avoid Rebel Mechanics because of it ;-).
  • Rebel Mechanics is certainly not an action-packed book, so if you like your steampunk to be full of steam-engine races and daring escapades, you might be disappointed.


I really enjoyed Rebel Mechanics and can’t wait for the next book! If you are a fan of governesses and steampunk with just a bit of magic to make things interesting, you can’t miss this one.

Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
– Anya


 Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson

© 2015, Anya. All rights reserved.


  1. Despite my unfavorable associations with Jane Eyre, I was pleasantly surprised by Rebel Mechanics. I don’t think I’ve found whether it will definitely have a sequel, but I’d be willing to pick it up. Great review! :)
    Kel @ Booked til Tuesday recently posted…Discussion: Re-imagining LibrariesMy Profile

    • Haha, oh no! I guess I only kind of liked the classic but so far I’ve enjoyed all the governess fantasies I’ve read ;-)

  2. Yay! I really enjoyed this one too Anya. I was so nervous it wouldn’t be good but I adored it. So glad you enjoyed it too!

  3. I was blaming Jane Eyre for my love for governesses as well!

    I’m still trying to decide if I can order a finished copy – I know Swendson needs the support so we can get a series! I just need more Henry in my life <3
    Kayla @ The Thousand Lives recently posted…Beyond the Book with A Darker Shade of MagicMy Profile

  4. Huh, this sounds really good! I actually dislike unbelievable steampunk additions so I’ve been searching for something like this. I don’t mind a love triangle, either, if it isn’t too forced.

  5. I wished I’d enjoyed this one more. It was fun, but…ARGH, the characters. Verity seemed to have misplaced her brain as soon as Alec stepped into the picture.

    • Hehe, can’t all be winners ;-) I liked that it turned out he was being manipulative though since it made it make more sense to me I guess :)

  6. This sounds great. Glad you enjoyed it. I haven’t read too many steampunk but I seem to enjoy them. :)
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