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Historical YA Fantasy Audiobook Review: Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine

Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine ( Of Metal and Wishes #1)

Audiocopy courtesy of Audible Studios

Synopsis from Goodreads
This love story for the ages, set in a reimagined industrial Asia, is a little dark, a bit breathless, and completely compelling.

Sixteen-year-old Wen assists her father in his medical clinic, housed in a slaughterhouse staffed by the Noor, men hired as cheap factory labor. Wen often hears the whisper of a ghost in the slaughterhouse, a ghost who grants wishes to those who need them most. And after one of the Noor humiliates Wen, the ghost grants an impulsive wish of hers - brutally.

Guilt-ridden, Wen befriends the Noor, including the outspoken leader, a young man named Melik. At the same time, she is lured by the mystery of the ghost. As deadly accidents fuel tensions within the factory, Wen is torn between her growing feelings for Melik, who is enraged at the sadistic factory bosses and the prejudice faced by his people at the hand of Wen's, and her need to appease the ghost, who is determined to protect her against any threat - real or imagined. Will she determine whom to trust before the factory explodes, taking her down with it?

 Amazon US/UK | Amazon kindle US | The Book Depository | Audible US/UK


* * *
I liked this book but I didn't like it enough, if that makes sense? First of all, it was surprisingly gruesome. I usually don't mind that but even I was taken aback at times: it was depressingly gory, severed limbs, messed up insides and all that. Sarah Fine painted a very dark atmosphere of non-stop graft without hope for betterment. I swear, it was almost dystopian!

Secondly, I didn't realise this was a historical fantasy until half way into the book and kept trying to guess time periods and areas and getting confused.  The racism and lechery was very, very rampant in a society of extremely hypocritical views on women's place in it. As a result there was a lot of slut-shaming. The heroine did it, her friends did ti, and everyone else was very happy to do it too. I was frustrated and tired f hearing it.

Third issue was the instalove between Wen and Melik. I found it really hard to digest. She starts comparing the Noor to animals and within couple of weeks it's all moony eyes and dramatic proclamations. *eye roll*

At last, the narrator herself did not suit the book in my opinion. Alexandra Bailey sounded distinctly Caucasian and I couldn't get over that as in my head the voice didn't match my image of Wen.

Saying all that, this was a very Gothic, strangely compelling tale, and I enjoyed Ghost's character the most. He had layers, he had development, and I only hope to read more about him in the next book. Also, the atmosphere of the gruesome factory was a fantastic background. I'll be listening to the next book, because Of Metal and Wishes left me curious, even if I wasn't sold on the love story.

* * *
Книга мне эта и понравилась и не достаточно понравилась, если в этом есть смысл? Прежде всего она оказалась неожиданно кровавой. Обычно я против этого не возражаю, но здесь оторванные конечности и вываливающиеся внутренности дополняются такой атмосферой меланхолии и безысходности, что прям хочется выть на луну.

Во вторых, я не просекла из содержания до половины книги, что эта было историческое фэнтези, в котором история и традиции Китая были отражены вольно, что оставило меня в некотором замешательстве. Расизм и шовинизм кстати здесь был до безумия депрессивный, однако типичный для Азии. От девы до проститутки тут девушкам путь был короткий. Обвинениями такого рода страдала здесь и сама героиня и её друзья, и все персонажи между.

В третьих, книга эта болеет проклятой инста-любовью, которую я так не люблю в подростковом фикшне. Героиня перешла от мыслей о том, что все Нуры - грязные животные к коровьим взглядам в сторону Мелика - лидера Нуров, и жутко обижалась, когда её друзья не поменяли свои взгляды также быстро.

Последнее, что было неприятно это неудачный выбор рассказчицы. Ну уж очень у Александры Бэйли был американский голос, когда для образа Вен хотелось чего-то более восточного.

Несмотря на перичисленные недостатки было что-то в этой книге завораживающее: мрачная атмосфера фабрики, да и сам Призрак, наверное, который оказался наиболее интересным и развитым персонажем. Именно из-за них буду продолжать читать/слушать дальше.

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