Tuesday, August 19, 2014

"Of Metal and Wishes"

Sarah Fine is a child psychologist and the author of several books for teens, including Of Metal and Wishes (McElderry/Simon & Schuster) and its sequel (coming in August 2015), and the Guards of the Shadowlands YA urban fantasy series (Skyscape/Amazon Children’s Publishing). She's also the co-author (with Walter Jury) of two YA sci-fi thrillers published by Putnam/Penguin: Scan and its sequel Burn (which will be published in 2015). Her first adult urban fantasy romance novel, Marked, will be published in January 2015 by 47North/Amazon Publishing.

Fine applied the Page 69 Test to Of Metal and Wishes and reported the following:
From page 69:
Melik’s jaw tightens. “Tercan should not be left alone. We’re . . .” His broad shoulders slump. “We’re afraid they might come and take him, that they might expel him from the compound or just put him on a train out of town.”

They might. Right now Tercan is taking up space an able-bodied worker could occupy. He is eating food meant for people who can make money for the company.

I pull the still-warm buns out of my pocket. “I brought these for you. And for Tercan,” I add quickly.

Melik inhales the scent and his stomach growls. He puts a hand over his belly. I offer him a bun. “You haven’t eaten all day, have you?”

He shakes his head. “You don’t have to do any of this, Wen. Why are you?” He raises his eyes to mine, and I almost tell him. But if I did, he would hate me. He would know how bad I am, and I like the way he’s looking at me right now.

“Because you’re far from home and you deserve some kindness.” As it slips out of my mouth, I realize I believe it.
Choosing a random page in a book and asking if it’s representative of the rest could be a gamble, and I was somewhat surprised to find that this page is actually a very nice depiction of one of the major conflicts in Of Metal and Wishes, which is most easily described as a cross between The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux and The Jungle by Upton Sinclair.

Melik and Tercan are members of the reviled Noor ethnic group, many of whom have been hired as cheap labor at the slaughterhouse where Wen lives with her father, the factory’s on-site physician. Like everyone else in her Itanyai ethnic group, Wen has been taught to fear and despise the Noor, and early on, it seems like she has good reason: Tercan humiliates her in the factory’s cafeteria. But after Wen makes an impulsive wish for revenge to the factory’s resident ghost and he grants it in a particularly brutal manner, she’s left feeling responsible for the outcome.

Here, on page 69, she’s trying to make up for it in any way she can. She’s starting to realize that the Noor are just young men who want to work and send money home to their families, and now they’re caught in the relentless grip of the slaughterhouse and its malevolent bosses. And as that realization grows, it drives her actions and her growth throughout the rest of the book.
Visit Sarah Fine's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue