Friday, August 22, 2014

Mini Review: Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine

Of Metal and Wishes
by Sarah Fine
Read: July 23 - 30, 2014
Published: August 5, 2014 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Source: Edelweiss (Thank you S&S)
Category: Fairytale retelling, YA

Series: Book 1 of a series - Duet?
Find: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | The Book Depository 

Book description: There are whispers of a ghost in the slaughterhouse where sixteen-year-old Wen assists her father in his medical clinic—a ghost who grants wishes to those who need them most. When one of the Noor, men hired as cheap factory labor, humiliates Wen, she makes an impulsive wish of her own, and the Ghost grants it. Brutally.

Guilt-ridden, Wen befriends the Noor, including their outspoken leader, a young man named Melik. At the same time, she is lured by the mystery of the Ghost and learns he has been watching her … for a very long time.

As deadly accidents fuel tensions within the factory, Wen must confront her growing feelings for Melik, who is enraged at the sadistic factory bosses and the prejudice faced by his people at the hand of Wen’s, and her need to appease the Ghost, who is determined to protect her against any threat—real or imagined. She must decide whom she can trust, because as her heart is torn, the factory is exploding around her … and she might go down with it.

What I love - 
Of Metal and Wishes is a gorgeous retelling of the Phantom of the Opera. It features an achingly sweet romance that builds steadily throughout the book, set in front of the backdrop of the harsh reality of a corrupt meat carving factory. The whole mood of the story is gorgeously rendered, with moments of lightness and beauty to counteract the social injustices and dark brutality of the world. This was my first Sarah Fine book, and I was seriously impressed with her ability to create atmosphere, retell a classic story that is not often retold and make me care about Wen and the people she cares about - while also wanting to hurt the ones who hurt her. Of course I'm always worried about love triangles, but I so enjoyed the way Wen's relationships with both Melik and the Ghost play out, without falling into an awkward triangle trap. Although my emotions were different for each, I felt so much for both of them. 

What I wish - 
I do wish we'd gotten a little greater context for this tale, is this a fantasy world or the future? How big is this country? I wanted to know more! I really liked steampunk themes at play, but I had trouble placing this time period. I hope that we'll get a wider picture of this world in the next book. 

Love Triangle Factor: None - This book closely follows the original Phantom story, and if you know that, you'll have a good idea of how the relationships work. 
Cliffhanger Scale: Tricky. The action of this book wraps well, but there are some obvious loose threads left over. This book could have stood on its own, but I'm also thankful to be getting  a sequel. So Mild/Medium depending on your perspective.


  1. Phantom of the Opera is one of those things I just never really GOT, you know? My best friend adores it, but it just didn't resonate with me. This book though . . . I'm so excited to read it and I don't even know why because that's such a contradiction.

    It just sounds so saccharine sweet and hauntingly beautiful and as though it would resonate with me long after I've finished it :)

  2. Hmph. You liked the hint of a triangle? I DO NOT APPROVE. I don't know of the play, but still. I do think this book sounds beautiful. But I do not like that there are two love interests. If there is kissing with both, then that is triangle enough for me. And not something I would want to read :p Sigh. But, I have seen many love it. And I'm glad you enjoyed it too :) I might buy it one day. <3 Thank you for sharing Lauren :)

  3. This was definitely a great retelling. I loved everything about it. As for the setting, Sarah said it was a fantasy world not a futuristic one that she just created in her head.
    I'm excited to see more of this world in the next book.
    Great review! :)

  4. I was surprised, if I'm being honest, at how much I wound up liking Of Metal and Wishes. It's definitely an interesting novel, and I love that it draws on The Phantom of the Opera for inspiration! I'm with you on more culture and world-building, though I love that it's Asian-inspired. Glad you enjoyed it as well!

  5. YAY LAUREN!!!! I'm glad you enjoyed your first Sarah Fine novel, she's a favorite of mine. I agree with you on the context - I would have liked a little more information about the world and the time period but, like you, am hoping that will come in the next book. You need to read her Guards of the Shadowlands series now! SO GOOD. And love triangle free:)

  6. I've read so many good things about this story, I'm feeling like I really, really need to read it! I've never been a big Phantom of the Opera fan, though, so I'm a little worried...

  7. I agree completely that I needed a lot more context for this world--the world-building in a lot of recent reads seems to be bringing them down for me, sadly, STORM SIREN included--but the atmosphere was gorgeous and I really enjoyed the tale told. I didn't feel the need for a sequel with this, but I like my open endings, and now that one has been announced I'm definitely excited for it. Can't wait to see what Fine comes up with next!

  8. This sounds absolutely fantastic, Lauren. I remember my co-blogger reading this one not too far back and she pretty much had the same sentiments as you. Phantom of the Opera is considered a classic, but yes, you're right, it's something that's not told often enough as it deserves to be, unless of course we're talking about the broadway and the songs in it but that's another matter to be discussed next time... in any case, what I'm excited to see here is the atmosphere. Everyone's raving just how good she is at setting it up. I'm totally looking forward to it!

    Faye at The Social Potato

  9. I enjoyed this one because the whole factory setting was so different from the normal YA (at least what I've read). But yes, completely agree with you about wanting to know more about the world, the time period, etc. And then I was a little ticked about the ending, to be honest. I didn't know it was a series when I read it and then looked it up immediately after finishing it. It seems like it wouldn't have taken much more to have it ended in a satisfying way and be a nice stand-alone, but since I did have a lot of questions about the rest of the world, especially where Melik is from, I hope the next book expands on that. I actually went to the author's website and she has pictures of what inspired her for this book and the most interesting was a picture of what Melik looks like (well, it was a child, but it's his coloring). I wish I had seen that before, it helped so much! Anyway, glad you liked this one…great review! ~Pam

  10. I'm so glad you loved this, Lauren! And I don't think there is a true love triangle here, either, or that it was even written as a potential one. I wished for a teeny bit more world-building as well--I mean, all the factory stuff was fantastic, and very atmospheric, but I would like to have understood a bit more about the larger world as well. I'm happy there is a sequel, too.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  11. I'm really looking forward to this one now! I loved the Broadway musical and mixing that story with some steampunk elements sounds fantastic. Great review!

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