Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Of Metal and Wishes
This book would go nicely with some dark chocolate wrapped in tinfoil.
After Wen's mother dies, Wen is forced to move into a cramped apartment in the local factory with her father. Now, instead of embroidering beautiful fabrics with her mother, it's her duty to stitch injured workers back together under the wing of her unfamiliar father. Despite the strange novelty, Wen adjusts to her new life with little complaint. That is, until the Noors show up at the factory. She meets Melik, an intelligent redhead who often invades her thoughts, and she begins to think that maybe the Noors are not the self-serving pigs the Itanyai (her people) painted them as. As her affection for the boy grows, she must choose between the Itanyai and the newcomers. Oh, and all this while balancing a tedious relationship with the factory's resident ghost boy, whose seemingly well-intentioned "gifts" sometimes cause more trouble than they're worth.
I enjoyed this book a lot! I appreciated the change in culture (so many of our protagonists are white Americans or Europeans); in fact, one of the prominent themes in the book was the difficulty of bridging the culture gap between people. The story was unique, definitely not a vampires-and-werewolves spin-off. The relationship Wen had with her father was intriguing to watch, and seeing how she grows up without the presence of her mother is both heart-wrenching and inspiring. She is an impressive protagonist.
I was drawn in by the relationship between Wen, Melik, her father, Ghost Boy, and general society. How Fine depicted the constraints on young people and woman in Wen's society was engaging and thought-provoking.
However, I do have one critique. I thought that Ghost Boy's realm underneath the factory was a little hard to believe. Yes, he is a master of metals, but the world Wen lives in is not the same as his world. There was just a little too much suspension of disbelief needed to make the story copacetic. Wen lives in a hard reality, and when the factory workers clashed with Ghost Boy, I felt just a tad uncomfortable, almost as if I was watching Dumbledore and Lizzie Bennett face off in a battle of wills. They're both great, but they just don't belong in the same realm.
Despite the one or two inconsistencies, I thought the book was overall pretty good. The writing was not exceptional, but it was still sound. The characters probably won't make you weep and laugh, but they were still relatable. If you are looking for a new book, and you finished your must-read pile, I would recommend this one.