Google+ Jen Ryland/YA Romantics: Just Finished Reading: Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Just Finished Reading: Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine

Of Metal and Wishes 
by Sarah Fine
To be published by Margaret K. McElderry Books
on August 5, 2014

Source: Borrowed ARC from Around the World ARC Tours

Synopsis 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 take: Of Metal and Wishes tells a story that's doesn't fit perfectly in any genre. Aspects of the book feel historical, and it is set in an invented -- yet Asian-inspired -- country. The story includes some steampunk elements, and also feels a bit Gothic. In addition to all that ... it's a retelling. You probably wouldn't guess the inspiration right off, and since I think I might have enjoyed this retelling slightly more without knowing what book it was based on, I'll put the name of the original book under spoiler protection here: Phantom of the Opera. 

Wen was a fantastic heroine. The daughter of a family that has fallen on hard times, Wen misses her dead mother and assists her physician father as he cares for the workers in a slaughterhouse. Wen can't help but notice how cruelly the laborers -- men from a different province and ethnic group -- are treated by the factory bosses. One day, Wen is taunted by one of the laborers, and she angrily makes a wish for vengeance to the mysterious Ghost, who grants it. This sets off a chain of events that leaves Wen wracked with guilt, but also draws her closer to Melik, one of the workers. When Wen sets out to discover the Ghost's secrets, she is drawn into his mysterious underground world.

I learned that Of Metal and Wishes was a retelling about half way though my reading. It was a big "a-ha" moment for me, but then it also became somewhat of a distraction -- and also a little bit of a spoiler. While the time and place and some plot points have changed, Of Metal and Wishes stays pretty true to the emotional core of the source material. (The original story does have a bit of a love triangle feel, though it's not one of those back-and-forth triangles.)

I really enjoyed Of Metal and Wishes. It was beautifully-written, imaginative and unique, with a story world and a heroine I won't soon forget. After I finished, I checked out the author's Pinterest board for the book, which explains some of the inspirations behind her story.  If you like stories that are dark and Gothic, or are just looking for something a little different to read, definitely check this one out!

25 comments:

  1. I read this book over the weekend and I honestly didn't want the book to end because I was so invested in it and it was so beautifully written. I loved Wen as a character too and Melik was fantastic as well. I was also intrigued by how related the book was to the original story. I'm glad you liked this, Jen!
    Great review! :)

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  2. I've heard lots of praise for Of Metal and Wishes thus far, and it sounds lovely! I'm curious to read about the Asian influences because most of what I read primarily has European or North American influences. Great review and I'm definitely looking forward to this one!

    -P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex

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    1. I absolutely loved the combination of things she put together -- the Asian influences, the steampunk, the Ghost. It all worked really well for me.

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  3. I actually just found it's a retelling and that is kind of a huge spoiler but then at the same time, at least I know how the love triangle will end (I heard there are hints of one?). This is definitely going to be an interesting read and I cannot wait to dive in next week! :D :D

    Lovely review, Jen!!! :)

    Rashika @ The Social Potato

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    1. I do think it might be better not to know what this is a retelling of, since, yes, it was a bit of a spoiler for me. And, yes, I was just texting with Lauren of Love is Not a Triangle about the triangle factor, which is pretty low. Tthere are two guys in love with one girl, but not a "do I love him or do I love him" kind of thing...

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  4. I was about halfway through when I found out it was a retelling too! Then I was just "OHHHHH" "Oh, man. No. Now I know what's going to happen." but I literally read 80% of the book in that one day.. so it's not like I stopped. I really loved it! Thanks for putting up Sarah's pinterest board too, I didn't even think to look for it!

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  5. I must say I'm not a big fan of the cover....lol but your review definitely has peaked my interest!! Not sure if this is a spoiler question but is there a love triangle in this one? I'm also tempted to highlight the spoiler but I want to read this so I'll hold my urge :) Thanks for the great review!!!

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  6. Wow, this sounds like an interesting read. I hadn't known there were so many different elements to it. I'll be on the lookout for this one. Thanks for sharing the author's Pinterest board!

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  7. Hmmm...I hadn't even considered that knowing what story this was a retelling of might be spoilery. It didn't change my opinion or distract me while reading, but I guess I could see how it might. :( I mean, most retellings are usually prefaced by some acknowledgment of what story they're based upon. Anyway, I'm glad you really enjoyed this one, Jen. I am such a huge fan of this author's work.

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  8. I finished a gothic themed book not so long ago and REALLY didn't like it. As in 1 star didn't like it. :P It's called Strange Sweet Song and it's YA. I do love retellings though so maybe? :) And it's nice to know it's inspired from Asia because I definitely need to read more of those. Lovely review, Jen. ^^

    Lola @ Hit or Miss Books

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  9. I'm SO glad to hear you loved this one. I think it sounds absolutely captivating. I decided to not peek at the spoiler, but I'm super curious!

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  10. Love the cover, love the description, so I am happy to hear you enjoyed this book. Can't wait!

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  11. This is so interesting! I didn't know that this one was a retelling at all of THAT book at all (haha not saying!) I like Asian Gothic stuff... I haven't read a lot of it, so there's still an air of mysticism around it for me, so I am really curious in reading this one. I think a friend of mine will love this very much. She's a fan of the book this was based on!

    Faye at The Social Potato

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  12. Well, this sounds good, and there are barely any Asian-y books out there, right? Plus, I'll admit that I've never read the original book this was based on, so hopefully I'll still enjoy. Can't wait to read this!

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  13. I've been seeing this book everywhere recently and it sounds really good. I'll have to add this one to my TBR!

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  14. hmmm... all of the genres you described are not my cup of tea. Also, I'm not much of a retelling fan.. I also think it sometimes gets very distracting, having to compare it with the original and whatnot. I'm glad you enjoyed it though! Great review, Jen!
    - Farah @ MajiBookshelf

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  15. What is it a re-taling of? I love retales!!

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  16. Fantastic heroine? Yes!! I only realized recently that it's a sorta retelling, but I think now I'm even more excited for it, since I love Phantom! Glad to hear you enjoyed it,definitely can't wait to check it out! Thanks for the review!

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  17. I just love how this is based on Phantom but it has an asian twist to it :) It sounds really wonderful and definitely something I'll have to check out! Great review!

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  18. Never heard about this book. Thanks for your review. Sounds interesting.

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  19. I haven't read up too much on this book, but I'm super excited to read it when it gets back to me now. :-D

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  20. Hi Jen! This is the first time that I heard about Of Metal and Wishes. This actually sounds very intriguing. The Noor most of all, but also the heroine.

    Precious @ Fragments of Life

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  21. I've heard other pretty good reviews for this one and I'm very much intrigued about it. Definitely goes to my wish list!

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  22. I've got the ARC for this and need to read it. Your review makes me want to read it even more. I grabbed it because it sounded unique and beautiful. I'm glad that it seems to have turned out that way. I love it when a book meets my expectations, at least. :)

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