Of Metal and Wishes

Of Metal and Wishes - Sarah Fine I wish more of this book centered around the political tensions and less on the typical "boy->girl->boy" straight love triangle that plagues every Young Adult book ever. It's extremely well researched on the plight of workers and suppressed ethnic minorities, the author obviously did a lot of reading into Upton Sinclair and Uyghur oppression. Though I have to say this book did the romantic cliche better than others. I liked that Melik was always respectful of Wen's choice and consent, which is something that I rarely see unfortunately, drowning in "romance" that paints forced kisses and "you belong to me and only me" threats as the height of love.

Lines like these were nice:

'"Wen, don't do this unless you believe me. Don't betray yourself like that."' and 'Melik moves slowly, giving me all the time in the world to pull away.'

Juxtaposed with the constant (and realistic, thankfully) threat of sexual harassment and sexual assault Wen faces, these simple lines of Melik honoring and respecting her boundaries speak volumes.

I'm not sure how I feel about the author drawing "inspiration" from real-life ethnic issues (that is, Uyghur oppression by the Chinese government) to make a story about fictional ethnicities. It feels kind of tactless.

The socialist story of banding together and uprising against the oppressor class is nice to see in YA, even if it doesn't go as planned and the "revolutionary change" doesn't happen the way you would expect.

I'm hoping the (apparent?) sequel will focus more on the political plots and less on the romance (and no more love triangle.)