Title: Of Metal and Wishes
Author: Sarah fine
Series? Duology – book 1 of 2
Cliffhanger? I didn’t think so, but some people do
POV: First person, present tense. One narrator
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars
About the book
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.
I have read some pretty amazing books this summer. I had hit into a couple books that were not impressing me, and I wanted another book that would blow me away. I checked 6 books out at the library hoping at least one of them would be something I love. I wanted an amazing book that would draw me in and make me not want to put it down. Of Metal and Wishes did exactly that for me.
Of Metal and Wishes is a retelling of The Phantom of the Opera. I am somewhat familiar with the original story. While reading this book, I actually wished I know The Phantom of the Opera because I was so worried about what would happen to the characters!! I also thought this retelling might be really scary or spooky, but it was not any more spooky than the original story. So nothing to worry about there!
Apparently this book is set in Asia, and possibly futuristic Asia. I wouldn’t go into it hoping to find anything on Asia culture though. And it is not futuristic in the least!
Unless in the future all women revert back to wearing ankle length dresses. This book had a historical feel to me, and nothing particularly Asian. However, this was not a problem for me. It is possible that I am so use to reading fantasy and taking the world I am plopped in as it is presented to me, that I never really bothered about where this book takes place.
I loved Wen almost immediately. In the beginning of the story, she impulsively challenges the factory ghost to prove his existence, and her wish is granted at the expense of someone else. Wen is guilt ridden and considers herself to be very selfish. I disagree with Wen. She is not selfish, nor is she selfless. She is real. Sometimes she acts selfishly and only looks out for herself, but she also deeply cares about those she loves. She looks out for her father and does whatever she can to keep him from falling into debt to the factory owners.
While I am squeamish about all things medical and have loudly announced that I will not do anything in that field, I actually really liked see Wen take care of patients. I could tell that she cares about the factory workers and their health. She knows that injuries and sickness mean taking time off that these men cannot afford.
The Love Story
Wen is attracted to one of the new workers at the factory, and he obviously likes her back. It is slow, getting to know each other over time and falling in love. So much better than insta-love! The slaughterhouse “ghost” takes a particular interest in Wen, and she is drawn in by the mystery surrounding him. This could be considered a love triangle, but it does not feel like one. The only reason Wen is interested in the “ghost” is curiosity. She does not know him.
Melik comes to work at the factory with a group of other Noors. The Noors are looked down upon as being less than human. Wen has this attitude when she firsts encounters them. Slowly, she comes to see them as people. While their culture is different from her own, they are not sub-human. Melik easily gets the other Noors to rally with him in any situation, but he is not portrayed just as a strong leader. He is quiet and contemplative. He considers those around him, and tries to look out for his people to the best of his ability.
What I absolutely loved
I seriously loved everything about this book. I loved how Wen’s character felt real and flawed, yet strong. I loved how the struggle to survive in this cruel factory felt so hopeless, yet the characters still found hope. I loved the Noor’s struggle to be seen as equals, and learning that some people did see them that way. I loved learning more about the factory “ghost”. While he remains mostly mysterious, we do start to see his motives and why he is considered both cruel and kind. I loved the way I had to know what happened and could not put the book down.
Reason I knocked a star off the rating
There is an underling threat of rape that becomes more pronounced in the second half of the book. The underboss is described as liking underaged girls…..and 16 is considered underage…..
These is some inappropriate touching.
Most of this was subtle at first, but by the second half of the book I felt this aspect of the story was overdone and not really necessary.
Other things to be noted
– Wen does not believe in God, Satan, or any spirits. This is why she was skeptical when she heard of the factory ghost.
– Factory workers send prayers and wishes with offerings to the factory ghost.
– The story takes place in a slaughterhouse, so there is talk of killing cattle. There is also discussion and almost constant fear of a terrible accident causing injury or death. While nothing is really described or even gory, it still disturbing.