As soon as I finished reading chapter one, I just knew I was going to love this book. The eerie setting gave me a feeling similar to what I get when I...moreAs soon as I finished reading chapter one, I just knew I was going to love this book. The eerie setting gave me a feeling similar to what I get when I look at photos of old buildings and factories. Wonder and awe. I felt this way not only with the setting but the entire story. It wasn't at all a surprise though because Of Metal and Wishes is the fourth novel I've read by Sarah Fine and her stories are some of my absolute favorites.
Of Metal and Wishes revolved around Wen, a sixteen-year-old girl trying to adjust to living with her doctor father at the local slaughterhouse Gochan One. Although she was friendly with many workers at the factory, it didn't stop the loneliness and sadness that consumed her ever since the death of her mother. Her responsibilities as her father's assistant kept her busy and were a comforting distraction, but life at Gochan One became complicated and dangerous for Wen once the barbaric Noor were hired to work there and she challenged the ghost haunting the factory.
While Wen seemed unsure of herself and what she wanted in the beginning, there was a quiet fierceness to her that was hard to miss. Her compassion and bravery were traits I really admired about her. When most of her people treated the Noor horribly, she took care of the Noor and stood up for them. Sometimes she made mistakes or acted impulsively, but she always tried to do the right thing and didn't allow others to influence her decisions. She went through a lot in this book and grew immensely, and I found her to be such a great and relatable character.
The Noor, specifically their leader Melik, had quite an impact on Wen. To most of Wen's people, the Noor are considered lower than dirt. Wen was quick to judge them too, but she eventually saw how wrong she was. Melik was honorable, hardworking, and treated his people with respect, which fascinated Wen because it didn't match what she had been told about the Noor at all. Melik had me swooning with his words, his actions, and the attention he gave Wen. I loved their tentative romance and how comfortable and protective they were of each other. What they shared was sweet and slow-burning, and I was always so happy when they had moments alone together. Being around Melik and the other Noor really helped Wen to see the world in a different way.
The mysterious Ghost was another important part of Wen's journey. He brought life to the factory, granting wishes to the workers and making Wen feel less alone. However, he also brought fear and death, and I didn't know whether or not to trust him. His obsession with Wen was a curse, but I admit, in a way, it was a blessing for her as well. If it weren't him, Wen wouldn't have gone through all the guilt that she did, but without him, she wouldn't have survived many of the things she experienced. I guess that's why I found myself sympathizing with him. He did some pretty horrible things in the factory, yet I thought he proved that redemption was possible. It even made me wish things had ended differently for him all those years ago, and I know Wen felt the same way.
I really liked that Of Metal and Wishes showed the importance of kindness, trust, friendship, and love. For Wen and those she cared about, the final chapters of the book were a bit heartbreaking and bittersweet. But it was also full of hope, which made it a fitting end to the story. With its beautiful and fluid writing and characters that were remarkable and inspiring, Of Metal and Wishes easily became one of my favorite books this year. I can't recommend it enough.(less)