Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Review: Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine

From Goodreads: 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.

My Rating: 4 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: Having seen the love for Sarah Fine’s Sanctum series and then the positive reviews for Of Metal and Wishes, I decided to give Fine’s writing a try with Of Metal and Wishes, a retelling of The Phantom of the Opera.

Of Metal and Wishes is very much a character driven book. While I liked Wen, a girl who learns to look beyond the Itanyai’s prejudices to see the Noor for who they are, and Melik, a Noor who refuses to be cowed by the Itanyai, my favourite character was the complex Ghost. Full of contradictions, I loved how the Ghost could be so kind one minute and then terrifying the next with the amount of power he wielded.

I also liked the romance. Although I thought there might be a love triangle in Of Metal and Wishes, there actually wasn’t one because Wen was only ever interested in Melik. Admittedly, they did develop feelings for each other quite quickly, but I was willing to excuse this because of the cramped and isolating conditions of the slaughterhouse.

Where Of Metal and Wishes could have been better developed, however, was the worldbuilding. Not only was little revealed about the world beyond the slaughterhouse, but there wasn’t a firm time period established either because while the conditions of the slaughterhouse had a historical feel, the machinery described in the outside world appeared to be more modern. Hopefully, the sequel will clear up some of my questions about the worldbuilding. 

Of Metal and Wishes was released in August 2014 by Margaret K. McElderry Books. 

Comments About the Cover: I love that there’s an Asian model on the cover.


  1. I have to agree with you about the worldbuilding, it was very basic in terms of social structure, but it didn't bother me much in a character-driven novel that is also so deeply atmospheric. I thought Sarah did a wonderful job with this one. It more than made up for Scan.

  2. YAY! So glad you enjoyed this one overall Z! I think we all wanted a bit more from the world, a little more context for the time period and understanding of what existed outside the slaughterhouse walls, but the characters were outstanding I thought. Can't wait for the next book!

  3. Like you, I've heard great things about Fine's writing and I was really curious about this one since I love The Phantom of the Opera. I was a fan of the Phantom as the other guy was just so much of a wimp. Lol. I'm really looking forward to picking this one up. Glad you enjoyed it, Z.

  4. I'm glad you reviewed this one because I've been really curious about it! Bonus that you liked it :D I am a huge fan of character driven novels so this is definitely for me. Strange about the setting/world building!

  5. How did I not know that this one was a retelling of The Phantom of the Opera? Well, I'm especially curious now! Too bad about the lack of world building, but I love that this one is so character driven.

  6. I have seen so many mixed reviews on this one. I wanted to read it when it first appeared on my radar, I am not really sure anymore. I am excited to see that the story is very character driven. I love stories with a bigger focus on the characters. I may give this one a try yet.

    Thanks for the review!

  7. The romance was just lovely, wasn't it? And I'm very glad she didn't go the triangle route, it is decidedly not one. Agreed on the world-building, though--that could have been a bit more complex. Still....I loved it, and I'm glad you enjoyed it, too!

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden


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