Audiobook Review: Rebel Mechanics (Rebel Mechanics #1) by Shanna Swendson
I don't know what it was about this book that made me so eager for its release - probably the cover because look at it - but every time I saw this one in someone's book haul picture/post I had to keep myself from squealing with jealousy. The closer it got to the release date, the more review that started coming out, and suddenly the book scared me a bit. I heard that the couple in the book is amazing, but that both the governess and the plot were a bit dreary. After listening to the audiobook, I agree to some of these comments and have to refute some others.
I'm not going to lie, the thing that gave me courage to finally pick up the book was that people were calling Henry and Verity OTP. Apparently it's a wonderful ship that's totally slow burn and amazing and omg you have to experience it. Experience it I did, and too bad for me, I didn't find it all that wonderful. Honestly if I hadn't heard people's thoughts on the ship before reading it I would have doubted that there even was a ship. There were very few romantic moments between the two, and their relationship seemed friendly most of the time more than anything. Don't get me wrong, I am totally on board that ship and waiting for it to set sail like the rest of you, but personally, I don't find anything particularly wonderful about the two together. They're cute, but not worth going crazy over. However, while there wasn't much romance between Henry and Verity in this first book, they had a pretty solid association with each other, and it should be interesting to see how that develops as the series continues.
There weren't enough Henry + Verity moments, but you can bet she had a ton of completely unnecessary kisses moments with the young man she was falling for, Alec. I'm just going to put this out there, but I hated the dude. I felt that something about him was off the entire time, and I really didn't like the way he acted with Verity. He wanted them to be together, yeah, but he cared so much more about the Rebel Mechanics and their cause than he ever did with Verity. He cared more about Verity staying with the Rebel Mechanics and their rebellion succeeding than he did about her job and even her life. I never understood why she liked him so much, especially when there's a guy like Henry entrusting her with his secrets and low-key taking care of her. And that isn't all I disliked about Verity either.
In books, governesses are actually pretty interesting. Sure they have a dull occupation and spend all day teaching/taking care of children, but getting a glimpse into their minds is usually an interesting experience. They're secretly funny or clumsy, or have great aspirations or backstories. Verity didn't really have any of those things. She was a child acting at playing grown up, and she annoyed the heck out of me. She was always so flustered about the littlest things, and hearing her go on and on about Alec was frustrating. She was a good person, but she did most things by the book. She took care of the children, never questioned the unusual things Henry did, and spent a large portion of each day on the lookout for Alec in her peripheral vision. The narrator of the book was Liz Pearce, and the innocent voice she used to portray Verity had me rolling my eyes. It was actually the perfect voice to go with her character, but that doesn't really help her case any.
Pearce actually put in a lot of creativity into doing the voices. The little boys sounded like little boys, the little girls sounded like little girls, and she used different accents for different people - it was all very fun. The one thing I disliked about the audiobook was Henry's voice. The way Pearce did him, he sounded nothing at all like I would have imagined him. Every time she read his voice I imagined the young, charming man, and then his voice like that of a privileged, older man. It was weird to say the least. I see his voice a bit younger-sounding, and unaffected. Half the time Pearce was reading his dialogues I'd repeat he words in my own head and insert my own voice instead. I got used to it eventually, but I never enjoyed it.
There was nothing really spectacular about this book, I'm sorry to say. It didn't live up to my expectations in the least. It was an interesting listen to be sure, and I never really got bored, but this book had so much potential. It just didn't deliver.
Book Synopsis: 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.