Series: Of Metal and Wishes,
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on 2014-08-05
Length: 321 pages
Reviewing eBook from TN R.E.A.D.S.
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 don’t know what it is about Sarah Fine but whatever she writes I tend to love and Of Metal and Wishes is NO exception! Beautifully written, I was instantly drawn into this dark dystopian world that Wen and the other characters are subject too. AND bonus points for it being a loose retelling of The Phantom of the Opera!
Wen is a character that had to grow on me. Here she is a former rich girl, grieving her recently dead mother, and now living with her father at the meat factory. It’s a rough life for her and she is bitter about it. She’s 16, just starting to show the curves of a woman and faces threats daily from those that work in the factory. Then the Noor show up. She’s been told tales of them as a child, of their brutality and hatred. Naturally she is scared of them and her attitude towards the Noor is a bit over the top in my opinion. She instantly dislikes them and judges them off what she knows.
The book centers around Wen and the social classes that are in place at the factory, the injustices that they face. It’s full of class discrimination and how it is handled. In addition to this there is the mystery of the Ghost, a character that resembles the Phantom in every way. He’s creepy and kind and grants wishes to all those he can. Wen seeks him out after an incident with the Noor and the plot turns from there. It’s horrific, heart-breaking and at times heroic.
Overall, I couldn’t have loved this book more! It was beautiful and haunting with characters I won’t soon forget. The author makes a strong case for the social injustices caused by the class system and prejudice based on stereotyping along all in a steampunkish dystopian setting. My kind of book 😀