After watching the live action Cinderella in September, I fell back in love with what can easily be considered the most classic fairy tale princess story of all time. I decided that it would be the perfect time to read a book that had been on my TBR list for over a year, so I picked up Cinder by Marissa Meyer. While I was reading that book, I stumbled across another Cinderella retelling story — Mechanica by Betsy Cornwell. That’s when it hit me! I needed to hold my own battle of the books to determine the ultimate Cinderella retelling story! Cinder and Mechanica are our first two contenders. Let’s get to it!
I already have a review of the amazingness that is Cinder, so I’m not going to talk about the specifics of it here. If you want to read that review you can find it here.
With that being said, let’s take a look at Mechanica. I was very excited to start reading this book. The cover is stunning and the synopsis totally had me wanting more. I mean just listen to this description on Goodreads.
“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 turned her into a servant in her own home.
But on her sixteenth birthday, Nicolette discovers a secret workshop in the cellar and begins to dare to imagine a new life for herself. Could the mysterious books and tools hidden there—and the mechanical menagerie, led by a tiny metal horse named Jules—be the key to escaping her dreary existence? With a technological exposition and royal ball on the horizon, the timing might just be perfect for Nicolette to earn her freedom at last.
Gorgeous prose and themes of social justice and family shine in this richly imagined Cinderella retelling about an indomitable inventor who finds her prince . . . but realizes she doesn’t want a fairy tale happy ending after all.”
I went into this book thinking that it was going to be a cool, almost steampunk version of the classic story with a very independent protagonist making a new life for her all by herself. The book did accomplish some of that, however it left a lot to be desired. I did enjoy the overall plot of the story. It was a nice, refreshing take on what is a very well-known story. I thought the story would be very similar to Cinder, but there really aren’t many similarities between the two. The ending was unexpected and is something I haven’t seen in many fairytale retellings. Some people might not love it, but I don’t really have a problem with it. My big problem with the book is that nothing really ever happened and a lot of problems were still unresolved by the end of the book. The first half of the book was pretty much spent building this world and the characters, but it could have easily been summarized in two or three chapters at the most. It was really hard to get through the book because I was so bored. There was no real character development and I didn’t really care for any of the characters. Overall, I feel like the book had potential to be very innovative retelling, but it really missed the mark.
With this in mind, it is obvious that we have a very clear winner. **Drum roll** Cinder is the champ! It was innovative and fun with very nicely developed characters and a unique setting.
If you know more Cinderella retellings that you would like to see face off against the winning book from this round, please let me know in the comments. Also, if you want to see more book battles, let me know which ones you would like to see. Until next time! 🤓