Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
It's 1888. The American Revolution never got off the ground, so the British still rule the colonies. Specifically magisters do--British nobility with magical abilities. A new revolution is brewing, however, this time fueled by young inventors called Rebel Mechanics who believe that non-magical machines are the key to overthrowing British oppression and achieving freedom.
Verity Newton's mother has died after a long illness, so Verity travels from New Haven to New York City in search of a governess position in a wealthy household. The teenager manages to land one on her first day, due in part to transportation assistance from the Rebel Mechanics, who waste no time in recruiting her as a spy for The Cause. Her position as a governess to the governor's grandchildren allows her access to intelligence from the highest ranks of society. Eye-opening experiences convince her of the importance of passing on information to the rebels even as she keeps her own secrets and discovers that not all magisters are alike.
Love love love this book!! I'm so glad the second one has just come out so I don't have to wait to dive back into this reality. I just wish the next book were available on audio already because this one was great fun to listen to. Well-written characters, a story that made me thankful for a long commute, and fantastic world-building.
For readers' advisors: story, character, and setting doorways are all strong. It's marketed as teen fiction, but it works for adults, too, especially fans of steampunk, alternative history, and urban fantasy. Since it's aimed at a YA audience, there is some kissing but no sex, bad language, or graphic violence. It would likely also appeal to fans of Patricia C Wrede's Frontier Magic series.
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