320p. Clarion. Aug. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780544319271.
Gr 6–10—A companion to Mechanica, this work continues the fractured Cinderella, steampunk, and faerie mash-up. One year has passed since Nicolette and Nick left the Steps (stepmother and stepsisters), and Fin's father, King of Esting, has once again declared war on Faerie. When Nick discovers an army of automatons built to fight the Fey, friends Nick, Fin, and Caro journey to Faerie by airship. A relationship blossoms between Nick and Captain Wheelock. In Faerie, Fin negotiates peace with the Fey and works to ensure they remain free from colonialism. Nick learns that her mother is "living" as an automaton, and Nick's steam-powered horse, Jules, reveals to her the mystery of the Ashes. This book overturns and plays with typical steampunk tropes and features female engineers with a DIY attitude. It also presents a world in which dark-skinned people, such as Fin, reign over those with fairer skin. A central theme is freedom—religious freedom, freedom from imperial domination, freedom to live unencumbered by gender norms, and freedom to love others unbound by restrictions of family, gender, or race. This volume ends with a host of social issues and relationships unresolved, leaving room for another installment.
VERDICT This thought-provoking blend of genres deserves a spot in most middle and high school collections.

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