August 29, 2014

Of Metal and Wishes - Sarah Fine

Of Metal and Wishes book cover
Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication Date: August 5, 2014
Source/Format: Publisher (Thank you S&S!) || ARC
[I received this book for review from the publisher. This in no way affects the thoughts expressed in my review.]

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. (from Goodreads)

I have never before read a Sarah Fine novel, but Of Metal and Wishes was definitely a good one to start with. When I began the novel, it was with the thought that I would "give it a shot". But, without warning, I found myself completely caught up in this retelling of The Phantom of the Opera. Fine does a fantastic job of writing a cohesive, compelling story.

The plot is very much like its source material, with characters assuming similar roles as in the original source material, albeit tweaked slightly to work with the setting. Indeed, what makes Fine's novel stand so strongly on its own merit lies in the details. She's thrown in Asian touches and steampunk bits to concoct something unique, and I find that she was successful in making this story her own.

Honestly, there are only two things that I encountered a bit of difficulty with: the characters and the pace. I didn't feel particularly connected to Wen, Malik, the Ghost or anyone else, and the beginning third was a touch too slow-paced for me. But there was definitely a turning point when this novel became something I just couldn't put down - and that's really what made me like it so by the end. If you're on the hunt for something a little different to read, or even a fan of the original Phantom of the Opera, you'd do well to give Of Metal and Wishes a shot.


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