[684]: Metaltown by Kristen Simmons

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Metaltown by Kristen Simmons
Tor Teen | September 20th, 2016
Source: Publisher, Finished Copy
Young Adult Fiction | Steampunk
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars


Metaltown, where factories rule, food is scarce, and hope is in short supply.

The rules of Metaltown are simple: Work hard, keep your head down, and watch your back. You look out for number one, and no one knows that better than Ty. She’s been surviving on the factory line as long as she can remember. But now Ty has Colin. She’s no longer alone; it’s the two of them against the world. That’s something even a town this brutal can’t take away from her. Until it does.

Lena’s future depends on her family’s factory, a beast that demands a ruthless master, and Lena is prepared to be as ruthless as it takes if it means finally proving herself to her father. But when a chance encounter with Colin, a dreamer despite his circumstances, exposes Lena to the consequences of her actions, she’ll risk everything to do what’s right.

In Lena, Ty sees an heiress with a chip on her shoulder. Colin sees something more. In a world of disease and war, tragedy and betrayal, allies and enemies, all three of them must learn that challenging what they thought was true can change all the rules.

An enthralling story of friendship and rebellion, Metaltown will have you believing in the power of hope.


I have not had the most successful reading experiences with Kristen’s books in the past. Because I’m a romance reader first and foremost, I often found the lack of romance a detriment. Colour me surprised when Metaltown changed all that.

As what you’ve probably already know, this book is a brutal take on a world of absolute desolation. With a metal industry in the background, and a ruling caste intent on enslaving the poor, it was not the easiest book to get through. What it has an abudance of, however, are stories of survival and determination from the cast of characters. There’s something to be said about the torturous struggle the characters go through. I, as a reader, was able to feel a deeper appreciation for their successes – no matter how big or small. And because the world is not especially pleasant, you can say the characters have strong hearts and even stronger stomachs.

Kristen Simmons knows how to create a world out of the deepest despair you can imagine. There was never a doubt about that going into Metaltown. In fact, I braced myself for what was to come. This time around though, I savoured every single sliver of glittering metal shavings. It’s so effectively visceral that you can almost smell and taste the iron in the air.

Metaltown took me by surprise. It may  have started a bit slow at first, but once you get past that hurdle, it’s smooth sailing from there. If you like to read about underdogs exacting due justice to those who’ve wronged them, this book might give you a bit of satisfaction. I enjoyed the gritty world – no matter how difficult it was at times. I especially love Ty. She’s a spunky girl with a big heart even if the person who was supposed to watch her back treated her unfairly on more than one occasion.

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[511]: The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons

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GOODREADS SUMMARY | Tor Teen | Hardcover, 336 pp. | February 10th, 2015 | Young Adult | Fantasy | Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars


Sometimes, it’s those books that leave you feeling detached that are hard to review. The ones that didn’t leave a lasting impression that are the easiest to forget. The Glass Arrow is that book for me. Kristen Simmons’ books has had that curious effect on me. Whenever I read them, I always feel like I’m on the verge of something great, but never really coming through. It’s quite frustrating.

Women are scarce

In this imagined world, women are a dying breed. So in an attempt to   preserve the population, fertile women are sold off to the highest bidder to procreate. Women are hunted and kept in a facility that attempts to refine them so that they may fetch a higher price. Virgins are of course, prime property.

Aya of the Wild

The capture of Aya of the Wild was, I thought, the only exciting thing that happened in this book. Which is kind of sad because it happened in the beginning. The plot goes downhill from there – or my interest at least, waned from that point on.

When she was brought in to The Garden, Aya made sure she was the most difficult ‘livestock’ among the herd. She purposely hurt herself, caused trouble, and was perpetually in isolation. In fact, she much preferred if she was in solitary. Because it was only there that she gets to talk to the only ally she has: Brax, a wolf that finds an affinity to her wildness.

The appearance of the wolf was a bit jarring. He seemed a bit out of place, in my opinion. I don’t really understand how he found his way inside the compound; a place sequestered off with a surrounding electric fence, not to mention a creek filled with radioactive waste. I also don’t understand how none of the Watchers or guards didn’t notice him. Aside from being the obligatory sidekick, I just didn’t see its relevance to the plot. But hey, animal lovers rejoice! [spoiler] except perhaps when Brax meets his untimely death [end of spoiler].

The Driver

If you’re looking for romance, you need not worry. Enter the Driver. Drivers are known to be mute. When Aya met him, she’s encumbered with mistrust. For some reason, she kept thinking he’s there to kill her. After a few meetings, she starts talking to him. But because he’s mute, the conversations were usually one way. She named him Kiran. Because of his eyes [insert eye roll here]. The romance left me cold, to be honest. I wasn’t into it. Again, this is one of those times when further development was needed. It’s as if Ms. Simmons was fulfilling the romance requirement that was asked of her by her publisher.

It’s a mad world

The thing that drove me mad here is the lack of cohesive factor that ties all the elements in this world. I think this is one of those instances where I wouldn’t mind pages of narrative explaining the hows and the whys of this imagined world. I can’t figure out whether the author is making an attempt at Sci-Fi fantasy or just fantasy. There are beings/creatures that are some type of hybrid; and creatures who communicated with ‘chirps’. It was tough to imagine, that’s all.

You should still read it

if fantasy is your thing. The Handmaid’s Tale, it is not, but if you haven’t read that, the concept will probably bring forth adverse reactions in you. I wish they’d consider the literature that they’re comparing it to before they make such bold statements. Otherwise, they’re setting us up for a disappointment.

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On the Night Table [10]: Zombies, Charley, Spells, and a Dystopian Nightmare.

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I must admit that this week’s reading choices is a bit all over the place, but hey, that’s just the kind of reader I am. I just don’t see any enjoyment in reading the same books in the same genre week in and week out. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. What can I say? I like testing the waters from time to time. 🙂

So this week, I have an audiobook copy of Feed by Mira Grant – a series that’s been shoved down my throat by trusted sources. I don’t know why I’ve been obstinately set against starting this series. I’m a couple of chapters in, and I’m liking the flow of dialogues between siblings so far; as well, the frantic pace normally found with these types of books.

As you know, I’ve recently discovered the comedic schtick of one, Charley Davidson. I’m working on the fourth book of this series aptly titled, Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet. Sometimes, I find myself writing down all the zings Charley comes up with. She’s brilliantly sarcastic. Spastically funny, and so wrong sometimes. I want to hang out with Ms. Darynda Jones. Seriously. I think we’ll have a great time. 🙂

Admittedly, I don’t know much about When My Heart was Wicked by Tricia Stirling. I fell in love with the cover, and the synopsis was a little vague. I’m looking to be surprised.

I read The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood three years ago. It was all kinds of messed up, and I enjoyed it. The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons is apparently a hybrid of that book and Blood Red Road by Moira Young. Those are some pretty big shoes to fill! I have my doubts, obviously.

These are the books on my night table this week.

What’s in your pile?
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