Of Metal and Wishes #2
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Source: ARC from publisher for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
n 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?
Of Dreams and Rust is a stunning sequel, moving us out of the dirt, grime and politics of the slaughterhouse and out into a world we didn't get to experience at all in the first book. The taste of freedom we get in this story only has us turning the pages faster, eager for details about the escalating war between the Itanyi and the Noor, and thirsty for knowledge about a people of whom we only got a select sampling in Of Metal and Wishes. Suddenly what was a world of walls and blood is now vast and brutal, but death is as prevalent out in the open as it was amidst steel and machinery.
Wen, despite hearing nothing from Melik in over a year, is determined to warn him of the changing tide of the war, setting off on her own to save as many lives as she can. What she finds is not the clear cut battle of good vs. evil she expected, and Ms. Fine does a beautifully horrifying job of showing how war can make monsters of anyone, with mercy being a luxury neither side can afford. Though the new light cast on the Noor shakes the foundations of everything Wen learned of them in the first book, she takes the blow with a grace that's undoubtedly a rarity on the field of battle, continuing her quest to save human beings without separating them into Itanyi and Noor.
She keeps her feelings for Melik tight to her chest even when it's revealed that not everything she felt for him a year ago was the lie she initially thought, keeping our hearts in our throats as the tension between them remains at an all-time high throughout. As Ms. Fine has proven in previous books, she rarely pulls her punches, and though we desperately want everyone in this tale to miraculously dance their way out of death's reach, we're painfully reminded that life–even in fiction–is rarely fair.
We're not left only with tears and heartache by the time we reach the last page however, instead our time with Wen and Melik comes to a close with a hopeful look toward the future, the fond memories of those we lost along the way a comfort in the grief of their passing. Ms. Fine never fails to write emotionally rich and romantic stories, delighting with layered and complex characters who slide easily under our skin and take up shop, refusing to budge no matter how many books we read after we close the back cover.
This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review.
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.