Review // Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine
Of Metal and Wishes #1
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication Date: August 5th, 2014
Rating: 3 Stars
Source: Purchase
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 321

Summary (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.

Of Metal and Wishes was a series that I picked up, probably like 90% because I remembered reading a review of the second book and I thought that it sounded really interesting. I honestly don't think that I ever looked up what the first book was about.

I probably would have liked this book better if I had read the synopsis and knew what it was actually about, but I went into this book pretty blind and I don't think that my reading experience benefitted from it in this particular case.

This book is kind of a steampunk retelling of Phantom of the Opera. The main character, Wen, lives in the Gochan One slaughterhouse factory that is "haunted" by the ghost of a factory worker that died on the job. There is an altar in the factory where workers leave offerings with little notes detailing their wishes and the ghost will grant wishes if it's within his power.

This book takes place during the busy season so the factory has just hired on a group of Noor boys and men. The Noor are like... another race or something, they're somehow different from the Itanyai, which is what Wen and the rest of the factory workers are. But the Itanyai really look down on the Noor as being less than human. They just want to make enough money to live and to send some home to their families, but with the way the factory bosses do things, that really isn't going to happen.

There is an accident in the factory involving a Noor boy that humiliated Wen in the cafeteria. The incident was brought about by a challenge that Wen issued to the ghost because she truly didn't believe in him. This accident brings Wen closer to the Noor and she ends up falling for the leader of the Noor, Melik.

So, the most notable thing about this book that I have to say is that I HATED the setting. The world feels so incredibly small in this book. The majority of the book takes place in the Gochan One factory and a little bit of it takes place in the Ring, which is like the group of businesses and houses just outside the factory. It literally doesn't feel like there is any world at all outside of the Ring. And I really just can't get over how much I hated the slaughterhouse factory setting.

The people in this book are awful too. I liked the Noor, and Wen and her father. And that's about it. I didn't like the ghost. I didn't like any of the Itanyai people. And I mean, honestly, I think that's the correct thing to take away from this book?? The Itanyai are awful to the Noor because of how they view them as less. They're also awful to women. They kind of act like their women need to be pure, but once they no longer are, they're like.... free game to whoever wants them? I would definitely say there should probably be a trigger warning for rape in this book. There isn't any ACTUAL rape, but there is at least one scene where some men try to take advantage of Wen because her relationship with Melik is out in the open and her reputation is 'ruined'. And it's gross.

Probably the only thing I liked about this book was seeing Wen's relationships bloom. Her relationship with her father. Her relationship with the Noor. And especially her relationship with Melik. Wen looks at the Noor the same as the rest of the Itanyai do in the beginning. Her views change after the accident that happened after her challenge to the ghost. She definitely blames herself and she ends up spending a lot of time with the Noor taking care of them when they're sick because her father is the doctor and she's kind of his unofficial assistant.

This is how she starts to get close to Melik. And they go through SO much in this book. There is literally something going wrong at every turn. Sometimes from the ghost. Sometimes from the Itanyai people. Sometimes it's one of those things where Wen sees something and immediately and vehemently believes the worst of Melik. Even though at the point that I'm thinking of, they barely know each other.

But by the end of this book, they definitely deserve to be together because of all the hardships they went through and how hard they fought for each other. I loved it. I loved them. And I hated the ending of this book because, of course, they get separated.

Overall, this book was mostly meh for me. It was a quick read, I read most of it in one day. The setting and people left a lot to be desired from this book, but the romance 100% saved this book for me. I don't know if I would actually recommend this book though. I mean, if you're a die hard Phantom of the Opera fan or you like steampunk stuff, maybe you'd like it.

Have you read Of Metal and Wishes? What did you think of it?


  1. This was definitely an odd book for me. I haven't really seen that many people talk about it, so I'm particularly glad to see your thoughts. I don't remember a lot of the fine detail from it, but I just remember not really being sure how I felt about it! I agree that the world was pretty small, and that the characters aren't really great. I still think I semi-enjoyed it, but it's really more of one that I'm rather indifferent about. I did like the Phantom of the Opera-inspired aspect of it, but I'm also just a Phantom fan, haha. Great review!

    1. I only know of one person who has read this series besides me! Honestly, if I wouldn't have looked up GR reviews halfway through (while I was considering DNF-ing), I probably never would have connected the dots and realized that this was a Phantom of the Opera retelling. I am having such mixed feelings about this one still. I really just didn't like it in general, and maybe that's why I was so into the romance. I needed to find something to cling to that I could enjoy! Haha!


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