“That fool of a fairy Lucinda did not intend to lay a curse on me. She meant to bestow a gift. When I cried inconsolably through my first hour of life, my tears were her inspiration. Shaking her head sympathetically at Mother, the fairy touched my nose. "My gift is obedience. Ella will always be obedient. Now stop crying, child." I stopped.”
“'Mechanica. I was surprised by how fond I'd become of the name. It has a certain cadence, a clicking rhythm that reminded me of gears turning. I wondered when I'd come to like it so. ”
“It’s not bravery if you don’t feel fear, right? If you’re not afraid, then you’re not really forcing yourself to do something brave.”
“'He's around the twist,' said Azalea. 'Breaking all the windows? He's mad.' 'Ah, no,' said the King. 'It's only madness if you actually do it. If you want to break all the windows in the house and drown yourself in a bucket but don't actually do it, well, that's love.”
"Miss Hepplewhite looked pained. 'Miss Peck,' she said at last, 'a young lady should never, ever, under any circumstances whatsoever, run. Should you find yourself in a situation where you are at risk, it is always preferable to faint.' "
“Sophie lay down next to him, the crossbow beside her. 'Planning to use that?' 'Only if we’re threatened.' She had a plucky, defiant look on her face that made respect well up inside him. 'Do you know how?' he goaded her. 'Yes, I do.'"
"I, a woman of the River, keep a brief record of the greatest power our people have seen - how to shape fire from the heat of the living, how to pull heat from the air and give it life inside fuel. How to hear the heat how to bring it inside myself, form it into flame and set it free..."
“He'd followed Dasha once before and remembered which door was hers. He knocked, peered inside, then jumped in and shut the door, quiet as brushing two feathers together. He smiled at his own stealth, then swaggered right into a chair, banging it against the wall. You oaf. He cut short his swagger and begin to move with exaggerated sneakiness. There was a certain pleasure in that, too.”
“Saying my story makes me want to change it, make it sound pretty the way I do with the stories I tell the workers. I'd like it to have a beginning as grand as a ball and an ending in a whisper, like a mother tucking in a child for sleep.”