//I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review//
What an absolutely FANTASTIC sequel! When I finished Of Metal and Wishes a c
//I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review//
What an absolutely FANTASTIC sequel! When I finished Of Metal and Wishes a couple weeks ago, I knew there was a book two coming out and I knew I had to get my hands on it as soon as humanly possible. While book one wrapped up nicely (as it was originally meant as a standalone), just knowing there was more to the story basically ruined me for a solid week until I got this one. But then I did get it and, wow, what an ending! Sarah Fine has continued her Phantom of the Opera retelling in a way that totally diverges from the classic story while totally standing on its own.
All of the characters continued to shine in Of Dreams and Rust. Wen continued to surprise me as a strong woman amongst less-than-favorable odds and Bo remained sympathetic although I never felt like he was a truly viable love interest. Even though Bo and Wen definitely do have a unique relationship, it was SO nice not to have to deal with a real love triangle.
I mentioned in my review of the first book that I was feeling very confused by my love of Melik since I have always been team Phantom (or Bo, in this case). This book only cemented my feelings for Melik who has most definitely earned a spot on my "book boyfriends" list. I absolutely adored the romance between him and Wen. The angst was kept to a manageable level as the two characters tried to traverse the gap between their cultures and the outcome was a relationship really stood out amongst all of the others in the YA genre.
Speaking of culture, Sarah Fine has done such an awesome job of creating this world and cultures that felt real. The prejudices and divisions between the two distinct groups of people were believable and heart-wrenching. One final note on the world building: I've said before that I've never been a huge fan of steampunk, and I'm still not sure I am, but the steampunk elements of this book really fit into the bigger picture and had me on the edge of my seat.
This story is just amazing. As I've said, it diverges completely from the classic Phantom of the Opera story, which makes sense since the first book ended in a very similar way as the original. But I love what the author has done with the continuation of this story! The decisions that are made, the war that is underway, the love and loss... Everything about this story is perfect. I said in the last review that the writing seemed almost as if it was translated from another language, but I actually have really come to love the way it's written. Because of the writing I felt completely immersed in the story.
Of Dreams and Rust is a fantastic ending to this duology and I highly recommend it to any fan of The Phantom of the Opera! More than that, though, I'd recommend this to any fan of dystopian or steampunk fiction. Obviously it is a retelling, but I really believe it could stand completely on its own without any prior knowledge of the Phantom. This is an amazing series that you will not want to miss!...more
There is something magical about Harry Potter that I really can't understand. I never got to read it as a child for... reasons. But I did FINALLY get
There is something magical about Harry Potter that I really can't understand. I never got to read it as a child for... reasons. But I did FINALLY get to watch the movies starting in late 2006. Then, in 2011, something amazing happened... I read the series for the first time and fell in love. I've never quite understood re-reads though and I never thought I'd give Harry another glance other than having as many gorgeous editions as possible lining my shelves. But then something worked itself loose in my noggin and I changed my mind. Thus began the great Harry Potter re-read of 2015.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is magic. I know that's pretty cheesy to say about a book that's literally about magic, but I don't know any other way to describe it. As I was reading this book I thought to myself (on several occasions), "How did J.K. Rowling think this stuff up?!" And reading it for the second time is even better because you can see how intertwined everything really is all the way through book seven.
I cannot think of one thing to complain about in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and you can rest assured it isn't nostalgia talking. This is just good storytelling, plain and simple. The characters are sympathetic (even Hermione later on, although she starts as a nightmare), the world building is spectacular, and I was totally sucked back into the world of Harry Potter from page one. And can we take a second to appreciate these awesome new UK covers? The artwork is absolutely gorgeous!
Knowing now how amazing these books are makes me really sad that I never got to experience them from a child's perspective. Despite that, I am so glad I DID get to read them as an adult and I have finally discovered what everyone loves so much about re-reads! I can't wait to pick up book two! ...more
I was browsing my library recently when I cam across a book spine on the "new" shelf with some really eye-catching font! If you don't already know th
I was browsing my library recently when I cam across a book spine on the "new" shelf with some really eye-catching font! If you don't already know this about me, I'm a sucker for a good cover. In fact, I will basically never pick up an ugly book, which may go against THE most important lesson of my childhood. What can I say? I'm a rebel. Regardless, I picked up this book (originally published in New Zealand), which led me on the hunt to find the first book in the series. Lucky me, it was available!
The Crossing is the story of Maryam, a teenage girl who has grown up on a remote island with the knowledge that she's one day go to live with the Chosen in the Holy City. Apart from knowing this is a special honor, Maryam knows next to nothing about what all this entails. But upon "becoming a woman" she is finally able to leave to join those who have gone before her!
Maryam is an interesting character and I was never entirely sure how to feel about her. As most are, Maryam was a strong heroine. At the same time, I was frustrated with her overwhelming need to help everyone else instead of taking care of herself. Perhaps this is a desirable trait to most, but in a situation such as that described here, it seems to me that getting oneself away from danger might be the top priority. Despite this, Maryam nearly gets herself killed because of her inability to help herself. Still, I found myself sympathizing with her and did enjoy her overall as a character.
I also really liked Joseph and could really understand his guilt over not understanding everything that had been going on around him. I thought he was a good character, but I didn't really completely buy the romance. This is a classic case of instalove, which happens far too often in YA literature. All of the bad guys (Lazarus, his father, and the other Chosen) were exactly what they were supposed to be - despicable. Ruth, though, I couldn't stand. Her along with most of the other women in this book. While I can appreciate that they were raised to have a certain meek attitude and do exactly as the Chosen commanded (cult life), it infuriated me to no end that they were totally unable to do anything to better their situation. Then again, this really worked to further the feeling of a brainwashed society, which brings me to the story itself.
There were things I really enjoyed about the plot of The Crossing. I love a good post-apocalyptic story! I love all the different ways that authors have come up with for how the world will end (I might have a problem...) and what comes next. This one was just awesome! I loved the idea that a cruise ship was the Holy City and that the crew of the ship brainwashed the entire island into believing their nonsense. However, I wish that a little more background had been given to establish how exactly this happened. I also would have liked more information on the disease that has been plaguing the population. Those answers will probably come in subsequent books, though.
Despite the problems with the background given for the story, I felt like the world building of their little island was really great! I can't pinpoint any particular thing that Mandy Hager did to make it excellent, but I feel like I can imagine the islands and the cruise ship pretty much perfectly. The smaller island where the girls were raised was different from the main island, which had multiple villages. The author did a great job making all of it authentic and memorable.
My main problem with The Crossing was the writing. It felt very strange and that could be to establish how weird this cultish island setting is. It just really didn't work for me. I felt very disconnected from the characters because of the odd dialogue and the way the entire book was written.
Overall, I felt like this was a great story with fantastic world building and characters that I mostly enjoyed. I really am dying to know what happens next - to know if the world really DID end or not! But the really weird writing has put me off from continuing the story right away. I actually did read a bit of the next book, but put it aside for now. It's almost like I can only take it in small doses... I definitely would recommend this book and definitely plan to continue it! Just be prepared for the odd writing style....more
It was pure luck that brought Of Metal and Wishes across my path. I saw the second book in the series in a Waiting on Wednesday post recently, saw "P
It was pure luck that brought Of Metal and Wishes across my path. I saw the second book in the series in a Waiting on Wednesday post recently, saw "Phantom of the Opera retelling," quickly found out it was a series, and searched my local library! I was so excited when I got my hands on this that I started it immediately and I was not at all disappointed.
I have never been a fan of the steampunk genre (is it a genre?) and didn't actually realize this book fit that bill until it was too late to back out. There are metal spiders, metal appendages, metal rooms, metal war machines... there's metal in the title! But it really did work in this book. The setting is so realistically portrayed that it all fit together and I could see it like I was there. The mood was dreary and I felt like everything was shrouded in dust (or metal shavings) and it was amazing.
The characters were one area I wasn't totally sure about at first. The society this book is set in is one in which women are extremely suppressed, have no rights, and are viewed as property. While this was really, REALLY hard for me to stomach, I did come to terms that this was just the way the world was and did not reflect the heroine, Wen (Christine), who is remarkably strong against such terrible odds. Although she is deeply respectful of her father, she also finds ways to be strong in her own way.
And of course a Phantom of the Opera retelling would not be complete without a love triangle! In fact, I think Phantom of the Opera was THE original love triangle (okay, maybe not, but I'm saying that) and that is why it works here. I will admit I felt incredibly confusing emotions over this. I have always been a Phantom fan but this book had me feeling things for Melik (Raoul) that I had to come to terms with. This book has made me a Raoul, er... Melik fan. I think this is because this is the first time I've ever seen the Raoul character written as multi-dimensional. The Ghost (Phantom) of this story is so easy to sympathize with, but I also understand the fear and uncertainty that Wen was feeling throughout the book. This whole situation is just a very uncomfortable one.
My one, very minor complaint is that the writing seemed a little strange. It almost seemed like it was written in a different language and then translated to English. Then again, maybe this was done purposely to add to the overall feel of the story.
This is a fantastic retelling that totally blew me away! It made me want to watch the movie so bad (incidentally, I did) and I was picturing scenes in the film as I read along with this new retelling of the story. It wraps up nicely at the end very similarly to how the movie (and original book) left off so it could really be read as a standalone in my opinion, although I'm very excited about book two! I highly recommend this to retelling and Phantom fans!...more