Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine

Margaret K. Mc Elderry Books | ARC, 317 pages
Publication Date: August 5th, 2014
Young Adult
Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars

If I have a Ghost living in the underbelly basement of my house (dear God, I really hope not) who grants wishes provided I give it an offering of sorts, I’d wish that I liked this book as much as everybody did. When a book left you apathetic towards the characters’ plights, you know it wasn’t a good read. Under normal circumstances, and given how this book ended, I would’ve been in a state of furor. All I said when I finally closed the book was, huh. 

Much has been said about how wonderfully original this book is (Phantom of the Opera set in a slaughterhouse). And while I can appreciate that  undertaking, it really came down to how very little I felt for Wen. She has a predisposition to carry the weight of the world on her shoulders. Admirable when warranted, irritating in copious amounts. Wen is a puzzling character. She’s shown so much potential to be a strong character, but it’s as if she never got there. She sympathized for the oppressed; sacrificed most of her priceless gowns to buy medicine and pay for the Noor’s debts; and with very little self-preservation, she defended the Noor against the prejudices of her fellowmen. And yet even with all these fine traits, I felt that all were nullified by her constant “woe-is-me” attitude.

The world Wen lived in is predominantly male; and with it comes the constant threat of being sexually assaulted. This is also the part where I thought Wen could’ve used a healthy dose of calcium in her backbones. She kept waiting for someone to save her; and sometimes, she was even expecting it. I understand the desperation of being in somebody else’s mercy, and the fact that she grew up relatively protected from the world she knew now. But I thought that this is where the author squandered the chance to empower her character. Instead, Wen was saved time and again by either Melik, the Ghost, or her father. She saved herself once…by using her feminine wiles and implying that she was another man’s property. Sigh.

In a manner of speaking, there is a love triangle here. And it shouldn’t come as a surprise to those who’d seen/read/heard of The Phantom of the Opera. For me to explain why a love triangle didn’t really exist would be to reveal the identity of the Ghost. So I’m just going to leave it at that. So we come to Melik, the Noor that Wen felt such a strong attraction to since day one. However, I felt impervious towards this pairing. No stirrings of fondness, even. None.

The one thing I felt a strong emotion for were the mechanical spiders; granted, that emotion was abhorrence. I felt as much repugnance for them as I did for the men who treated the women here as objects.

So I’m in a bit of a conundrum. My blogger friends, Alexa and Bethzaida loved this book. Me? Not so much. However, that’s two against one. So I think, you should put this review at the very, very, very back of your mind and give this book a chance anyway.

Also, enter the giveaway HERE. 


  • This makes me a little sad because I LOVE Sarah Fine and this book. But not every book can be for everyone. I am sorry you didn’t enjoy it!

  • I don’t think I would mind the love-triangle. Love-triangles actually get me curious about a book. The main character really puzzeles me though. I’m very intrigued. The way you describe it, she seems like a very good one but at the same time you say she’s not at her best potential. I don’t know haha but I’ve read so many rave reviews that I HAVE to read it. Great detailed review though. 🙂

  • Sometimes you just can’t connect with a main character and there’s not much that can make it work for you. I might still give it a try, but I’m glad I know some of your issues with it. Great review!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  • Mary G Loki

    I have been wanting to read this! TY for the chance to win it! I can’t wait! xD

  • Zoe

    Phantom of the Opera set in a slaughterhouse? Oh wow…I’m intrigued – LOL! It’s a shame you didn’t enjoy it as much as you hoped you would though Joy. 🙁 It’s always hard when you can’t connect with characters in a book. Nonetheless, thanks for sharing and, as always, BRILLIANT review! <3

  • Aww so sad you didn’t like this one so much! I don’t know how to feel about it but it’s by Sarah Fine. And I usually like everything she writes. Let’s see! Great review, hopefully your next read is better!

  • Ohh…love triangle? That’s a bit iffy, I haven’t current read a book that has one. But glad you gave this one a try!

    Happy Reading Joy!

  • I read another review for this book earlier this morning, and the blogger gave it 1 star, and now a 2 star one from you. Pass! Thanks for sharing your honest thoughts!

  • Sorry to hear that you and Wen didn’t connect. I was sent this one, but it didn’t appeal to me either.

  • I love your review, Joy. I’m sorry you didn’t like it, though.

  • Wow, fantastic review, I love reading differing opinions when it comes to a much raved about book. It definitely seems like Wen is a damsel in distress, I guess it’s pretty much expected knowing and loving the original Phantom. Thanks for your honest opinions, I can see why you wouldn’t have enjoyed her attitude but I think I’d still pick it up.

  • Naomi @ Nomi’s Paranormal Palace

    It’s a shame you didn’t really enjoy this one when your friends did. I can see where you had issues, and I’d be a little hesitant to read it myself. Great honest review!

    Naomi @ Nomi’s Paranormal Palace

  • Aww, I’m seriously excited to read this, and yours is the first negative review I’ve seen. I’m certainly hoping I’ll be in the majority when I read this, but it bothers me to hear Wen is so dependent on other to save her… If I recall correctly in Phantom, Christine not exactly empowered, so I would like to see in an updated version a character who at least tries to save herself. We’ll just have to see. Great review, Joy!

  • Christy

    Not sure why, but the blurb for this never really grabbed me. Even when people were lovin’ all over it, I didn’t feel a need to read it. So I have no problem passing this up.

  • Well, damn. Amazing review Joy. <3 I'm glad I never wanted to read this book, because sigh, it sounds pretty awful. lol. She never saved herself? That is annoying. I would never expect anyone to save me, but me. Anyway. Love triangle too? SUCKS. And you didn't feel anything for the romance? Sigh. That sucks even more, lol. Thank you for sharing. <3 I'm sorry this book wasn't that great.

  • Oh no! I am so sorry (and sad) you didn’t love this as much as I did. But I can totally see how this just isn’t for everyone. I am sorry you were disappointed though, that does suck. 🙁 Hopefully you connect better with your next read.

  • I have to agree that the sexual assault scenes in this book REALLY bothered me and Wen’s weakness as a result of it was disappointing. I never got a feel for the setting of this male-dominated world which was troublesome as I feel as if I could have excused so much had this been confirmed to be a historical novel but it isn’t and Wen’s father wants her to be a doctor which isn’t aligning with any potential era. Anyway, I did enjoy this book a bit more than you did–not a whole LOT more though–so I understand your sentiments perfectly. :/

  • Faye M.

    I definitely agree. If you can’t connect with the characters at all, you won’t be able to enjoy the book. And how could you now when you’re annoyed and detached more than half the time? I’m sorry this wasn’t a positive reading experience. Her character feels too-good-to-be-true, and I understand how that can feel too much.

    Faye at The Social Potato

  • I’m sorry it wasn’t for you. It’s true that I saw some really nice things about this one but haven’t read it. Maybe I’ll pass now…