Release Date: August 5, 2014
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Source: Simon Pulse It
Recommended by: My Guilty Obsession Blog
Genre: YA Steampunk
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.
Missing out on OF METAL AND WISHES by Sarah Fine has been one of my regrets this year. Thank Goodness for Simon Teen's Pulse It I had the chance to finally read this Phantom of the Opera inspired YA Asian Steampunk. In case you missed it, this was a free read last Friday as part of their 31 days of reading event and I was so excited to be given another chance to read it. The fates has spoken! I was up at 6am reading the darn thing for fear of not finishing it in 24 hours. Yup, cool but crazy motivator right? Well it worked and I'm very glad that this was worth my Friday.
OF METAL AND WISHES has more of a setting than a "world" as the story happened inside the slaughterhouse and it didn't really go outside of the building to give us a firm feel of the city Wen Guiren lives in. The Steampunk is barely there so it might appeal to non readers of this genre. From conversations between the characters and situations that happened, it reflects tension from several points stemming from office tyranny and politics, prejudice and discrimination between the classes, with the Noors being the lowest caste, male chauvinism, and bullying. The story is clearly centripetal to the working conditions in the slaughterhouse with Wen acting as a catalyst.
OF METAL AND WISHES is a very character driven story that is reminiscent of Phantom of the Opera though not as obsessive but just as deadly. And instead of a love triangle we have a deep friendship that developed between Wen and the Ghost and an emotionally intense relationship with the Noor, Melik. I'm hard to win over when it comes to YA relations and romance but I loved how SFine presented these relationships without sacrificing Wen's integrity. Meaning she didn't come off as an insipid character just because two males found her desirable. Wen is a very likable character and she NEVER annoyed me at any point, Melik was okay but it's Ghost that really fascinated me.
The ending of OF METAL AND WISHES is probably one of the better endings I've read in a long time. I wouldn't call it a cliffhanger because there's some sort of resolution to the first act but it spurns the question What now?. Let's just say the slate has been wiped clean and things can go either way at this point and if I think about it too much I'm sure I can work myself up to the point of nervous excitement because I want to know what's going to happen next?!
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