Friday, August 7, 2015

ARC Review: Of Dreams and Rust by Sarah Fine

Title: Of Dreams and Rust
Series: Of Metal and Wishes #2
Author: Sarah Fine
Published: August 4, 2015 by Margaret K. McElderry (Simon & Schuster) 
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: 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?

**** This is the second book in a series and may contain spoilers for book 1. If you haven't read Of Metal and Wishes, read that first (let me persuade you), and then come back. ****

When I started reading Of Metal and Wishes a few weeks ago, I was talking to Britt, my bookish soul sister about how much I was enjoying it because I knew she was also planning to read it soon. She very sweetly offered to share her ARC with me of book 2 (thanks so much Britt) and when I did finally finish Of Metal and Wishes, I was so glad to be able to devour the next book in this series. And while Of Dreams and Rust was a very different book it was still fantastic.

If you are unfamiliar with Of Metal and Wishes (I told you NOT to read this review), it is a retelling of The Phantom of the Opera, a classic that I am a big fan of. I loved Sarah Fine's retelling of the original and found her spin to be creative but stay true to the source material. I was really interested to see where she would take things, I mean there is no Phantom of the Opera 2 (I pretend the sequel to the musical doesn't exist). But in this case, the author was able to craft something totally unique and it was honestly just as captivating. Subtle elements from the first book all combined to make a different and unique plot. The synopsis informs us that we are at war here, and that always leads to really action-packed scenes but add the steampunk elements as well and you get the trapping of a really complex and interesting plot.

And the world of this series became just as important to the plot development. In the first book, everything took place within the confines of the slaughterhouse, which made for a really interesting setting and here we are able to explore the larger world. To me, this series reads mostly like dystopia because it's a world where oppression leads to rebellion. Here, a lot of the focus is on the prejudices and misunderstandings. Wen leaves the world that she knows and travels to where the Noor are from. While she is there she learns all about their customs which seem so different from her own. It takes a while for her to get accustomed to them but that made for an added conflict within the book. I really liked learning about this different culture and seeing Wen out of her comfort zone.

The fact that Wen had to learn about the world and adapt to a culture very different from her own also made the romance in this book more enjoyable, despite a few things that I didn't totally love. Things really heated up in this book for Wen and Melik, and they escalated quickly. While I definitely ship it and I understand the reason behind why things moved so fast, I did find myself thinking it seemed a little too serious a little too quickly. But I loved the fact that while the love triangle elements were there, it still never felt like a serious triangle and I further loved the fact that it was the "we shouldn't be together because we are so different" kind of romance. They even had moments where they wondered if they were just too different which was really refreshing and there were a lot of really great facets to this relationship which in the end made me really appreciate it.

And all these under-arching themes of prejudice and cultures who misunderstand each other coming together added to some really interesting character development. In particular I really enjoyed all the main characters here. Wen is a fantastic heroine and so easy to root for. She is strong-willed, determined, and always puts other people's needs before her own. She assumes the best in people and is so kind. This sometimes gets her into trouble of course as she puts herself at risk, but I respected her for that. Bo, who is our Phantom, wasn't quite so mysterious but is just as odious and sympathetic. He had great character development which once again reminded me of the ending of The Phantom of the Opera. And then there is Melik. He made such a great impression on me with this book. He does not have things easy but he is strong and dedicated to those he loves. All the characters that Sarah created here are as complex and interesting as the rest of the book.

This series is a duology but I really don't want it to end. I kind of feel like things haven't really been wrapped up plot wise. It's not that I need it all to be in a neat and tidy bow but there just felt like there are some loose ends here and there really wasn't much of a resolution for me. But that may have been because it took a little bit more to get into this one and when it was all over it felt a little abrupt. I think I would have liked about 100 more pages to resolve some of the story of this is the end of the series. But if I'm being completely honest, I don't want it to end. I'm not ready to say goodbye to this world or these characters and that is the mark of a good book.

I give Of Dreams and Ruse by Sarah Fine 9 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy. If you were a fan of the first book then you definitely need to get your hands on this one too. It's a great continuation of the series and despite being really different, takes you on just as interesting a ride. This series is a fantastic dystopianeque steampunk story which has a perfect balance between character-driven and plot-driven.

Read This If You Liked 
Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine
The Winner's Trilogy by Marie Rutkowski
The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Have you read Of Dreams and Rust? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!


  1. Yay!!! I'm so glad you liked book two! I totally agree with pretty much everything you've said, especially that I wish it wasn't over! I'm going to be honest, this series has ruined me. I haven't been able to focus on anything else since. Haha! I also loved that the love triangle wasn't really a true triangle. I agree too about Melik and Wen's relationship going really quickly, but I think it made sense within the story. Great review!! :D

    Tracy @ Cornerfolds

    1. Haha, it may have ruined me a little too. I'm not in full-blown book hangover but I haven't really loved anything since. Yeah the romance was different but I guess it worked. That sort of thing would normally annoy me a lot more but it's the sign of good writing that it didn't.

  2. I've been dying to get my hands on this book ever since I finished Of Metal and Wishes last October. Glad you liked this one, too! I can't wait to read it, but I also am sad because I know it means the story is going to end.

    1. I hope you love it Melissa. It's sad to see them go but it's a great sequel.