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Battle Of The Heart

The second book in Sarah Fine’s Of Metal and Wishes duology, Of Dreams and Rust, moves away from its Phantom of the Opera roots but remains delightful.

Battle Of The Heart

BOOK REPORT for Of Dreams and Rust (Of Metal and Wishes #2) by Sarah Fine

Cover Story: Lovely Intrigue
BFF Charm: Yay to Platinum
Swoonworthy Scale: 7
Talky Talk: Earth Tones
Bonus Factor: Strong Ladies
Anti-Bonus Factor: Lack of Communication
Relationship Status: Mican Tisamokye

Danger, Will Robinson! Of Dreams and Rust is the second book in the Of Metal and Wishes duology. If you have not read the first book—Of Metal and Wishes—turn away now. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. If you have read the first book, however, feel free to continue below. I will refrain from major spoilers in my review, but there might be hints at plot points and details about the story.

Cover Story: Lovely Intrigue

This cover is lovely. The woman on the cover is lovely. The dress is lovely. The typeface is lovely. But, the most interesting part is the spine. Who’s hand is that? Is that a MAN’s hand? Is it Melik’s? Is it Bo’s? Who is the woman looking at?! WE MAY NEVER KNOW.

(Also, for those of you who know what the dress on the front signifies, in relation to the story, you’ll find the Cover Story I wrote for the first book especially amusing.)

The Deal:

A year after the “accident” at the Gochan One slaughterhouse, Wen has settled into a routine. She gets up early each morning to help Bo work through the scars and injuries left by the destruction, then goes to assist her father with medical duties at the Gochan Two machine factory. Every day she thinks of Melik, but she’s trying to move on with her life.

The unrest between the Noor and the Itanyai has not settled, however, and has progressed to something on the verge of all-out war. And when Wen discovers that the machines Gochan Two’s workers are building are, in fact, war machines, she finds herself with a decision to make: follow her upbringing, or follow her heart?

BFF Charm: Yay to Platinum

When we first met Wen, she was a mess. Her mother’s death forced many changes upon her (and her father), none of which she would have wanted in a million years. But once she moved out of the despair stage of grief, Wen proved to be a capable and strong young woman. In Of Dreams and Rust, her growth continues, and by the end of the story, she’s a far cry from the timid girl we met in Of Metal and Wishes. Thankfully, this growth never seems inauthentic, nor do any of Wen’s decisions. She truly is a great person, and would make an excellent friend.

Swoonworthy Scale: 7

Although there’s not a whole lot of that kind of action in Of Dreams and Rust, there is a shift in a certain relationship that results in some pretty swoonworthy declarations of feelings. And they’re absolutely adorable.

Talky Talk: Earth Tones

Although there’s more action/violence in Of Dreams and Rust, the dream-like quality of the world Sarah Fine has created for the Of Metal and Wishes duology continues in this second book. It’s hard to explain exactly what I mean—in my review of the first book, I said “there’s a hazy quality to the story that makes me feel like someone’s just retold me a dream they had, but they couldn’t quite remember all of the sharp details.” This remains true, but there’s a richer tone to the dream now.

All of Fine’s descriptions of locations and people make me think in color, but nothing bright or shocking; there’s certainly no neon pink in Wen’s wardrobe. The factory is steel and soot and smoke. The drought-riddled land is browns and tans. Melik’s hair is rust-colored, Wen’s skin is almond. There’s something so rich and realistic about Fine’s world, and yet it continues to be just foreign enough to feel fantastical.

Bonus Factor: Strong Ladies

Wen learns much more about Noor women in this book, and quickly realizes that they’re treated much differently than Itanyai women are. Noor women are seen as equals, or better, and aren’t expected to meld into the background when they’re not “needed.” It’s definitely a fist-pump moment when Wen realizes that she, too, should be treated like this.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Lack of Communication

The issues between the two peoples in the world of Of Dreams and Rust stem from more than just a language barrier. Where the Itanyai are stoic and serene, the Noor are boisterous and emotive. The Itanyai are raised to keep their feelings in check, and aren’t comfortable with sharing their thoughts. The Noor are the opposite, and speak their minds. These differences lead to some communication issues between certain parties in the book, which leads to frustrating scenes in which Wen and Melik just can’t understand each other. It works well with the plot of the book, but I just wanted to throttle the both of them at times.

Casting Call:

I cast Wen and Melik in my review of the first book in the duology, and I’ll add:

Ki Hong Lee as Bo

Relationship Status: Mican Tisamokye

In the Noor language, this means “you carry my heart with you,” and you, Book certainly do that. I wasn’t sold on the necessity of a second book in this series at the end of the first, but I’m so very glad I said yes to a second date.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from Simon & Schuster. I received neither a private dance party with Tom Hiddleston nor money in exchange for this review. Of Dreams and Rust is available now.

Mandy Curtis's photo About the Author: Mandy is a small town girl living in a nerdy world, or—if you want to get literal—an editor/writer living in Austin, TX. In addition to yearning for YA books—the more dystopian or fantastical, the better—she can also be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.
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