Author: Sarah Fine
Series: Of Metal and Wishes, #1
**I received a copy of this book through a Goodreads giveaway**
A slaughterhouse is the last place Wen ever imagined she would end up, but the death of her mother has brought about a lot of changes to her life. Her fancy dresses are worthless in a place like Gochan One, where she now assists her father, the factory’s medical doctor. When management brings in Noor laborers in an effort to improve efficiency, the Itayai workers are not happy having to share a workspace with the barbaric men. As tension grows between the two peoples, Wen discovers the secret behind the Ghost of Gochan One, a phantom rumored to grant favors, both kind and merciless.
“So I take a few steps into the dark hallway, until the light around me turns from gray yellow to brown black, stopping before I sink into inky obsidian darkness. I’ve never been afraid of the dark, though now I wonder if I should be.”
Sarah Fine’s Of Metal and Wishes is a retelling of the famous work Phantom of the Opera. I haven’t read the original novel, but I’m a big fan of the musical and this is the first retelling of the story I’ve come across. The novel’s backdrop is one of hardship, in which factory employees are forced to work under harsh conditions for meager pay. The history between the Noor and Itanyai people has always been violent and the fact these brutes are now taking hours from their own people, makes the Itanyai resentful. Through her relationship with the Noor Melik, Wen learns that these men, known for their barbarianism, are more complicated than what she previous thought and their concern for one another is something to be admired.
I struggled to really buy into the relationship between Wen and the Ghost. In Phantom of the Opera, the protagonist develops a special bond with the ghost through music, he mentors her and it is through this shared passion that she becomes drawn to him before they meet. Unfortunately, this is not the case for Of Metal and Wishes. There is nothing to substantiate the bond Wen feels for the Ghost when they first meet and it becomes harder to buy into it when she realizes he has caused substantial injury to other people. While Wen found his behavior intriguing, I just found it creepy and things go way too far before Wen actually starts listening to the warning bells going off in her head.