Friday, August 15, 2014

Review: Of Metal and Wishes

Of Metal and Wishes (Of Metal and Wishes, #1)Author: Sarah Fine
Series: Of Metal and Wishes, #1
Published: August 5th 2014
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry 
Format: Hardcover, 320 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon

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.
There is a ghost in the slaughterhouse. I kid you not. After our time in Suicide City with Lela Santos, this is where Sarah Fine chose to send us. A slaughterhouse. With a ghost inside. Can someone please give me a hug?

Of Metal and Wishes promised to be a terrifying and strangely beautiful story and it certainly delivered. It is practically unputdownable; once the atmosphere envelops you, the only way out is through the last page, and you have no choice but to go there. Fine’s writing is beautiful and lyrical and her prose flows effortlessly. It is both different from her previous works and similar in that it clearly shows the enormity of her talent and the richness of her imagination.

While Fine’s world has a distinctly Asian flavor, it’s best to keep in mind that it has no direct links to our world. I like my fantasies elaborate and far removed from anything familiar, but getting inspiration from Asian culture worked very well for Sarah Fine. Her world may not be the most detailed or clearly presented, but she gave us all the information we needed, and set an excellent foundation for the fabulously creepy atmosphere.

And it’s precisely this atmosphere that will leave readers enchanted. The slaughterhouse, where every nook and cranny is not only unexplored, but also extremely dangerous, provided an excellent setting for this story. We as readers are quickly transported to this place of dirt and blood, filled with loud noises and awful smells, that is somehow strangely beautiful as well.

Of course, even the worst of places (and the haunted slaughterhouse certainly qualifies) can be made beautiful simply by the pleasure of Wen’s company. Fine excels in creating fabulously well-rounded characters and Wen is perhaps my favorite so far. We see some growth in this book as she makes peace with her new reality, one where a young girl has few uses and none of them good.

I started Of Metal and Wishes last night and finished it a few hours later, trembling, teary-eyed and shaken to the core. The open, somewhat ambiguous ending was easier to bear once I learned that there is a sequel planned, scheduled for release in August 2015.

A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.


  1. I'm thinking this is not the type of story for me, unfortunately. I didn't quite enjoy it. I especially didn't warm up to Wen and I think it was downhill from there for me. Sigh. You win some, you lose some.

  2. I'm ready to tremble and be teary-eyed , Maya. I love Gothic stories and I presume this one is to

    lovely review ^_^

  3. I didn't enjoy this one nearly as much as you did, Maja, primarily because I need my world-building to be extremely detailed, but I loved the atmospheric feel of this tale and Fine has got it down to an art. I enjoyed the open ending but I'm definitely looking forward to the sequel--a year is too long! Fantastic review, as always, Maja! I had a feeling you'd enjoy this one. :)

  4. EEP. I have an eARC of this, I obviously need to get on it! And holy geez it sounds so terrifying indeed. A freaking slaughterhouse w/ a ghost! I'm already hugging a blanket. :O But it's so cool that Fine uses Asian culture and how it works really well in the story. I'm so glad this Fine novel didn't disappoint you! Thanks for the fabulous review. :D

  5. The atmosphere of the book is really intriguing and I would be happy to discover it but I'm quite anxious because I saw different things about it... so now I don't really know. Great review!

  6. The atmosphere sounds delightful and creepy, and Fine’s writing that you desribed as "beautiful and lyrical and her prose flows" is one of my favorite styles to read when it comes to a touch of horror. I'm so glad to know that with the ending there's a book two. Wonderful review :)

  7. I'm so happy that you loved this as much as I did, Maja. It was so gorgeously written and I agree, Sarah Fine is so good at what she does with her characters and setting. I absolutely loved the atmospheric writing as well. I'm excited to see what she brings about in the next book! :)
    Gorgeous review, Maja!

  8. I had to hold my breath while reading your review Maja because I was afraid you didn't like it. Thankfully it didn't take long for me to realize you did because lets face it, I can't hold my breath for very long. :P

    Seriously though, wasn't this just fantastic? I LOVED it and can't wait to read the next.

  9. I found this book SO beautiful as well, despite the often grim setting. I love it when authors REALLY pull off the "dark and beautiful and haunting" thing - it's one of my favorite sorts of atmospheres.

  10. I have yet to read anything from this author but when I saw the blurb for Of Metal and Wishes, it immediately went to my tbr list. I love creepy and unique books and this one promises just that. Great review, it made me want to read it even more :)

  11. Oh a sequel? Now I think I can read it. I have been worried about that ending. I'm an ending girl and I needs me some closure. I also like a world influenced by culture but still different from it.

  12. A haunted slaughterhouse? Talk about freaky! Characters can really make or break a book for me, but Sarah Fine's sound like they were very well fleshed out. Good stuff! Happy Friday. :)

  13. I've heard so many good things about this one that I know i'm going to majorly enjoy it! Love your thoughts on it and now I just want to go read it, especially because of the culture aspect in this story! Lovely review :)

  14. I am so glad you loved this as well. I thought it was amazing and I agree I think I liked Wen more than Lela. The slaughterhouse was so horrible it was like reading The Jungle. I think Sarah is amazing and I can't wait for the next book in Shadowlands.

  15. I'm not going to that slaughterhouse. Nope. Not going to happen. And that's my reaction *before* hearing that there's a ghost in it. Wen sounds like a fabulous character!

  16. I'm so thrilled to hear you loved this! Sarah is insanely talented at creating absorbing atmosphere and unforgettable characters, and Wen is definitely right up there with Lela. Don't you just love those books that keep you up all night? Lovely review!

  17. Wait wait wait lemme get this straight. A slaughterhouse. With a GHOST INSIDE HOLY CRAPPP I WANNA READ THIS BUT I MIGHT LOOSE MY SOUL IF I DO. But it sounds so creeeepy and brilliant. I'll def be keeping this under my radar.

    Lovely review, Maja! <33

  18. First things first *hugs*
    This sounds really good and a slaughterhouse with a ghost inside. Just sign me in. I still haven't read Sarah's books, even though I really want to so I might just get to it now. I'm so glad you loved this one. Great review, Maja :)

  19. I need this book in my life. I've seen nothing but praise...I will be going to the store this weekend to get it. Great review!

  20. I've heard such great things about this book, and when I saw your review it made me decide to get it from the library.
    I really like it when a high fantasy decides to steal a culture from our own world to help shape theirs, it gives it a real feeling and feels a bit like armchair travel.
    Great review, I can't wait to read this one :)

  21. A slaughterhouse is a rather dark setting, but I'm glad to hear that it was atmospheric and well-constructed. I'd probably avoid this creepiness if I didn't know that it's a retelling of Phantom of the Opera. Knowing how that story goes should help make my experience reading this easier to stomach...hopefully.
    I still have yet to read anything of Fine's, but I plan to fix that soon! Lovely review, Maja!

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