Review // Of Dreams and Rust by Sarah Fine

Monday, March 19, 2018

Of Dreams and Rust by Sarah Fine
Of Metal and Wishes #2
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication Date: August 4th, 2015
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Source: Purchase
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 320

Summary (from Goodreads):

War erupts in this bittersweet sequel to "Of Metal and Wishes", inspired by The Phantom of the Opera and called “relentlessly engrossing” by The Romantic Times.

In the year since the collapse of the slaughterhouse where Wen worked as her father’s medical assistant, she’s held all her secrets close. She works in the clinic at the weapons factory and sneaks away to nurse Bo, once the Ghost, now a boy determined to transform himself into a living machine. Their strange, fragile friendship soothes some of the ache of missing Melik, the strong-willed Noor who walked away from Wen all those months ago—but it can’t quell her fears for him.

The Noor are waging a rebellion in the west. When she overhears plans to crush Melik’s people with the powerful war machines created at the factory, Wen makes the painful decision to leave behind all she has known—including Bo—to warn them. But the farther she journeys into the warzone, the more confusing things become. A year of brutality seems to have changed Melik, and Wen has a decision to make about him and his people: How much is she willing to sacrifice to save them from complete annihilation?

So, Of Dreams and Rust takes place about a year (I think?) after the events of the first book. I did enjoy this book more than I enjoyed the first book, but as I am writing this review, I can only think of the things I didn't like. I think I could have liked this book a lot more if it hadn't went into the first book so blindly.

I really don't even think that this post is a review so much as a discussion of the things about this book that I didn't like, but I will try to say some review-y things as well. Also, this is your warning, that I didn't really try hard to avoid spoilers.

So, Wen and her father are working in the clinic of the Gochan Two factory after the Gochan One factory was destroyed at the end of the first book. Melik has gone back to his people and Wen has been spending a lot of time with Bo, the "ghost" of the old factory. He's healing from his injuries in the last book and seems to be dead set on turning what little human parts are left of him into machine parts.

One day, Wen finds out the factory she works in is upping their production of war machines to crush the Noor rebellion. Wen runs away to go warn Melik of what is to come. Because the Itanyai are going to be totally ruthless and probably just kill everyone.

When the train that Wen is on gets blown up by Melik's rebel group and she and the mostly unharmed Itanyai soldiers are taken hostage and the ones too injured to travel are killed, Wen really starts to question whether or not she should reveal what she knows to the Noor.

Okay, so I can think of three things about this book that I didn't like or that annoyed me. One of them was resolved in an understandable fashion in the story. The main thing that bothered me was the conflict that Wen was having with herself over revealing the information she had about the war machines.

Okay, so... Wen left everything behind to go find this man that she loves to warn him that her people are coming with weapons of mass destruction to demolish his people. For no reason. Because the Itanyai look at the Noor as less than animals. They don't even seem like they consider them actual people. And the Noor are only rebelling because they want a say in the government that rules them and they want to be able to own the land that they work. They want to be seen as equals to the Itanyai. Which shouldn't be that much to ask, but considering the Itanyai are AWFUL, it's apparently not gonna happen.

And Wen gets there and gets taken hostage and sees how the rebels are killing her people (who were on their way to where the Noor were to kill THEIR people), and she decides that she's not going to share the information she has. She is so butthurt that Melik is involved in a group that is fighting for his peoples' rights and is defending his people from outsiders that are coming to kill them for no real reason, that she's just going to let it happen.

She knows that the Itanyai soldiers that were killed were on their way to the Noor to kill innocent men, women, and children for no justifiable reason. And she knows that there was probably nothing that she could say to persuade them to not go kill people for no justifiable reason. So she's going to let it happen because the man she loves is a soldier now, trying to defend his people, the people that HER people want to kill for kicks and giggles.

Like, she leaves the Ring because she knows that war machines are going to slaughter innocent people and she believes that's wrong. She grew to see the Noor as actual people and love one of them and care for others. But the second they defend themselves from that slaughter, it's unforgivable. How dare they kill the people that were on their way to kill their people? How dare they save their women and children from HER people who are plotting to come in with machines that they could never hope to defend themselves against?

So she's just gonna zip her lip and let it happen. I think she even resigned herself to the fact that she was probably going to die too. I could be wrong about that, but I think she did. But then she gets to a village and sees the innocent people that WILL die by these machines and decides, yeah, okay, I'll spill.

That part made me so rage-y. I literally could not understand the back and forth she was having there. She knows her people are in the wrong. I really generally liked Wen in the first book, but this REALLY brought down my opinion of her. She doesn't even act like she really even likes her own people, but defending innocent people against murderers was OVER THE LINE.

After that, things did go a bit uphill for me. But I really think that whole part tainted my general opinion of this book.

The next thing that bugged me was the thing that was fixed in the story. Wen gets brought before the Noor general or whatever and tells her story and he doesn't believe her. He sentences her to death and  she gets taken away to a cell and Melik just watches her go. He doesn't really say anything. He doesn't argue or fight for her that I remember. And I was just sitting there thinking about how HARD Wen fought her own people for him in the first book. She didn't care about her reputation really, she did everything she could to help him, every chance she got!

And this was quickly taken care of when Melik broke her out of her cell and took her to safety in his home village. And I can understand why it happened the way it did. I was probably still seeing red from the last thing that annoyed me.

The last thing that I can think of that really bothered me happened when Wen and Melik and the rest of the Noor men from Melik's village arrive back home. No one was happy to see an Itanyai person and so Melik did the only thing he could think of to keep her there and make people accept her. He claimed her as his wife. He didn't discuss this with her beforehand. The situation wasn't so heated or dire that he couldn't have run it past her real quick. And the gesture of claiming your wife wasn't something she was familiar with so she didn't even know what he did until someone else told her.

Like, I don't have any doubt that she would have been fine with it had she known what was going on, but it just rubbed me the wrong way that he didn't even consult her when the situation wasn't one where there was super immediate danger for her (as far as I remember, it's been like two weeks since I read this, I could be wrong here, but I don't think I am).

And that is really all of the problems I had with the book. I mean, I didn't really like Bo. At all. He acts like he has some say in Wen's life and tries to order her around and acts like she somehow belongs to him and I really kind of hated him for it. And I hate that this book ended up making me care about him even a little bit in the end. But okay, that is for real the last thing about this book that I didn't like.

I thought the war and the war preparations were interesting. I liked seeing how Wen fit in with the village after arriving. I liked Melik's family. I loved how brave Wen was, marching into war with the rest of the Noor. She made her own medicine pack so that she could apply first aid where it was needed. She had to make some hard decisions on who she could save and who was beyond her help. I liked seeing Wen and Melik fall back in love and seeing their relationship grow. I loved how Melik treated her and how he understood that if she wanted to leave after all of this was over, it was fine.

This book had some high stakes and there were some heartbreaking moments and some rage-inducing ones, but overall, I did enjoy this book. I doubt you will believe me from reading this review because I mostly talked about what I hated, but that was not really that much of the book and the rest of the book was a lot better and more interesting. Not to mention, with Wen traveling to find Melik, the world expanded so much. It felt SO MUCH bigger, which was a problem that I had with the first book.

Have you read this series? What did you think of it? Did you have any of the same problems as I had?


  1. I saw a ton of promo for the first book and then when this book came out, vey little. I didn't bother with the first book because I wasn't approved for an ARC and every time I saw it on ebook special there were other books I wanted more. Now I don't feel so bad. ☺

    1. Yeah, I don't think that I would worry about missing this series. If I could do it all over again, I just wouldn't. They were quick reads, but yeah. Nothing too amazing.


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