Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine
I think this is the first time it has actually happened to me. I had heard the horror stories, seen the reviews, been told that one day it, too, would befall upon me. Of course, I denied it would actually happen. I quit books before anything like this could happen, and when I get myself invested in a book all the way, I’m all in.
But then this book happened, and it messed with me so bad.
So, it happened finally. The dreaded, “This book started off so strong and then I couldn’t even finish the last 50 pages of it because I became an emotionless robot concerning everything about it.”
And I really just don’t get what happened. As I said, it started off so strong. I mean, the premise was amazing.
The story starts off with Wen, a girl set in a early 1900s steampunk slaughterhouse. She assists her father with his medical work there ever since her mother died of cancer a few months ago. It was going well, until the Noor – a distrusted and “inferior” group – come to work in the slaughterhouse. One of them decides to humiliates Wen, and she challenges the Ghost of the slaughterhouse to do something about it, to prove himself to her since she doesn’t think he exists. When the Noor is injured, she starts to rethink the Ghost’s abilities and is open up to a whole other works that exists beyond the slaughterhouse while developing feeling for another Noor.
It sounds like a fantastic plot, and while it got off a little slow, I was enthralled by how Fine moved the story along. There were little twists and subtle hints to the original story that this was based off. And in case you didn’t know, this is retelling of the classic, The Phantom of the Opera. I was so in love with the setting that she placed the original concept in and although I had some reservations – steampunk, really? – I was sold. I loved how she reimagined Erik, Christine, and Raoul and her Opera.
However, I think it was the fact that it was a retelling and I loved the original story so
much that kept me going for so long. I did enjoy Fine’s writing, and the plot progressed quite naturally.
At a point, though, I think too many outlandish – or perhaps not enough just regular things – were happening. Like, every single able man in this book wanted to get with Wen. She was not the only female in this complex, but I’m pretty sure every single man thought she was. There is a scene with a guard that literally had me shaking my head since it felt so out of place.
The second thing was Wen became one of those heroines – too stupid to figure out what is right in front of her. I get she got a few of Christine’s tendencies – thinking the Phantom clearly could never do something like what he did – but it wasn’t even her faith in the Phantom (since this Christine didn’t have the whole Daddy issues with him) but she was just too stupid to figure out. And I didn’t get where the stupidity was coming from because she had her smarts earlier in the book. It’s maybe around 60 or 70% when she just couldn’t figure anything out. And I get strongly put out of a book if I can figure it out at least 5 chapters before the heroine even hazards a guess it might be the thing I figured out.
So I became beyond frustrated with this book, and it just wasn’t fun anymore. I didn’t get why Wen was doing the things she was doing, I didn’t get the vibes from Melik anymore, I couldn’t even be pulled in Bo anymore – and I think that was the main issue. There is a high amount of people that absolutely love Erik from the Phantom of the Opera. They have hardcore feels over him and Christine. I’ve always been a Raoul and Christine shipper, but I could see the draw of Erik. He was a poor, damaged soul that had been mistreated by everyone and everything. Christine brought out the good in him. I thought Bo might have that premise – where I could forgive him for the things he had done. But by the end, I didn’t have that investment in Bo, and I didn’t care about anyone or anything to see where it had gone to.
To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. The middle part of this book was absolutely amazing. I loved the world that was created, and it was such a unique retelling of Phantom. It just didn’t go where it need to go, though, and I was left underwhelmed by the characters and the plot. There needed to be more for me, and I was so sad since I really wanted to love this. I think I landed on a two crown and Cinderella rating – because how much the original Disney one let me down compared to the live action. It should have been called Mousearella.
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What have been your books that you loved…until you didn’t? Have you read this book yet? And if you are a Phantom lover as well, please let me know because I need someone to fangirl with!