Monday, August 3, 2015

ARC Review: Of Dreams and Rust by Sarah Fine

Title: Of Dreams and Rust (Of Metal and Wishes #2)
Author: Sarah Fine
Publication Date: August 4, 2015
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Pages: 288
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Review for book 1

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

War erupts in this bittersweet sequel to Of Metal and Wishes, inspired by The Phantom of the Opera and called “relentlessly engrossing” by The Romantic Times.

In the year since the collapse of the slaughterhouse where Wen worked as her father’s medical assistant, she’s held all her secrets close. She works in the clinic at the weapons factory and sneaks away to nurse Bo, once the Ghost, now a boy determined to transform himself into a living machine. Their strange, fragile friendship soothes some of the ache of missing Melik, the strong-willed Noor who walked away from Wen all those months ago—but it can’t quell her fears for him.

The Noor are waging a rebellion in the west. When she overhears plans to crush Melik’s people with the powerful war machines created at the factory, Wen makes the painful decision to leave behind all she has known—including Bo—to warn them. But the farther she journeys into the warzone, the more confusing things become. A year of brutality seems to have changed Melik, and Wen has a decision to make about him and his people: How much is she willing to sacrifice to save them from complete annihilation? 

What an absolutely FANTASTIC sequel! When I finished Of Metal and Wishes a couple weeks ago, I knew there was a book two coming out and I knew I had to get my hands on it as soon as humanly possible. While book one wrapped up nicely (as it was originally meant as a standalone), just knowing there was more to the story basically ruined me for a solid week until I got this one. But then I did get it and, wow, what an ending! Sarah Fine has continued her Phantom of the Opera retelling in a way that totally diverges from the classic story while totally standing on its own.

All of the characters continued to shine in Of Dreams and Rust. Wen continued to surprise me as a strong woman amongst less-than-favorable odds and Bo remained sympathetic although I never felt like he was a truly viable love interest. Even though Bo and Wen definitely do have a unique relationship, it was SO nice not to have to deal with a real love triangle.

I mentioned in my review of the first book that I was feeling very confused by my love of Melik since I have always been team Phantom (or Bo, in this case). This book only cemented my feelings for Melik who has most definitely earned a spot on my "book boyfriends" list. I absolutely adored the romance between him and Wen. The angst was kept to a manageable level as the two characters tried to traverse the gap between their cultures and the outcome was a relationship really stood out amongst all of the others in the YA genre.

Speaking of culture, Sarah Fine has done such an awesome job of creating this world and cultures that felt real. The prejudices and divisions between the two distinct groups of people were believable and heart-wrenching. One final note on the world building: I've said before that I've never been a huge fan of steampunk, and I'm still not sure I am, but the steampunk elements of this book really fit into the bigger picture and had me on the edge of my seat.

This story is just amazing. As I've said, it diverges completely from the classic Phantom of the Opera story, which makes sense since the first book ended in a very similar way as the original. But I love what the author has done with the continuation of this story! The decisions that are made, the war that is underway, the love and loss... Everything about this story is perfect. I said in the last review that the writing seemed almost as if it was translated from another language, but I actually have really come to love the way it's written. Because of the writing I felt completely immersed in the story.

Of Dreams and Rust is a fantastic ending to this duology and I highly recommend it to any fan of The Phantom of the Opera! More than that, though, I'd recommend this to any fan of dystopian or steampunk fiction. Obviously it is a retelling, but I really believe it could stand completely on its own without any prior knowledge of the Phantom. This is an amazing series that you will not want to miss!

I'm giving away one copy of Of Dreams and Rust (provided by the author)! 
I have both an ARC and a finished copy and will give away the winner's choice!

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