Author: Kristen Simmons
Genre: YA, steampunk fantasy, dystopian
Published: 20th September 2016 (US)
Publisher: Tor Teen
Acquired: Received in October’s Fairyloot box!
Rating: ★★★★☆ [3.5]
Book Blurb:: The rules of Metaltown are simple: work hard, keep your head down, and watch your back. You look out for number one, and no one knows that better than Ty. She’s been surviving on the factory line as long as she can remember. But now Ty has Colin. She’s no longer alone; it’s the two of them against the world. That’s something even a town this brutal can’t take away from her. Until it does.
Lena’s future depends on her family’s factory, a beast that demands a ruthless master, and Lena is prepared to be as ruthless as it takes if it means finally proving herself to her father. But when a chance encounter with Colin, a dreamer despite his circumstances, exposes Lena to the consequences of her actions, she’ll risk everything to do what’s right.
In Lena, Ty sees an heiress with a chip on her shoulder. Colin sees something more. In a world of diseases and war, tragedy and betrayal, allies and enemies, all three of them must learn that challenging what they thought was true can change all the rules.
Note: I am writing this review waaay after I read the book, so I apologise if it doesn’t have a lot of emotion. I found it so hard to write this review, so it may be a bit lacking. Apologies in advance!
I was so excited to get my hands on this book when I opened my October Fairyloot box, as the synopsis sounded really interesting, and right up my street! I really love the cover too, I always have a soft spot for Victorian and steampunk-esque stories 🙂
This book is a dystopian fantasy that focuses on three main characters: Ty, Colin and Lena. Ty is an orphan, who has grown up tough and surviving in the rough slums of Metaltown. She lives by the street code, where she looks out for herself and anyone in her charge. Her best friend is Colin, who used to live in the middle-class area of Bakerstown, but due to family illness, is now living in the poverty-ridden slums with Ty. Oblivious to Ty’s affections for him, Colin is a dreamer and wishes for a peaceful future away from the disease and dangers of Metaltown. Both Ty and Colin work in the Small parts factory (part of the huge Hampton empire), with long hours, no breaks and little pay. Due to the nature of Metaltown, without a job you are a dead man walking, so all the other children have to work to survive.
Lena on the other hand, is the rich factory owner’s daughter. She is desperate to prove her worth to her strict father, but his constant snubs make her feel trapped despite her life of luxury. When certain turns of events leads to her getting lost in Metaltown and bumping into Colin, she finds someone she can truly talk to, and a way for her to gain a purpose and change the lives in Metaltown.
A story about love and survival, while challenging the way of life they have always known, it does sound like an epic tale.
So honestly? I’m really conflicted about this book. This book strongly reminds me of the story for Les Misérables– I have only ever watched the film rather than read the book, so I kept expecting someone to burst into song at any moment during Simmons’ novel! Of course it is not a copy of the Les Mis and the dystopian setting is completely different. I just couldn’t get Les Mis out of my head, and I found it really distracting.
It did take me a while to get immersed into this book, and although I love the story setting and the characters, it honestly didn’t excite or inspire me as much as I thought it would do.
That said, the last half of the book was so dramatic! It all kicked off, and the ending was so sad. It was actually really unexpected, I really didn’t want to it to end that way!
I didn’t get swept up in the whole theme of rebellion, which is kind of a shame as I think I would have enjoyed the book a lot more if this struck a chord with me. I also though the romance element was really unnecessary? But I was really interested in the non-romantic character development, and that really made the story for me.
I really felt for Ty during the book. Not only had she been struggling to survive her whole life as an orphan in Metaltown (where you have to fend for yourself and start work at the age of 8), but Colin didn’t notice her feelings and she had such a hard time at work. So many things happened, and it was always to poor Ty! I really felt for her, she struggled for so long, and then the ending really shook me up. Poor Ty never catches a break 😦
I also liked Lena as a character. It was really interesting to see how she grew into herself working with Colin and Ty. Despite her life of luxury she definitely didn’t have it easy, dealing with a whole other host of physical and mental issues. However, she was determined to do what’s right, and despite the odds it was nice to see her stand up for herself.
Colin was a mystery for me. On one hand I liked his passion for dreams and for a better future. When his eyes are opened to the way things are in Metaltown he doesn’t back down, and instead chooses to become a figurehead. He hides his fear and leads his friends towards change, despite the dangers that this brings. However, the one thing I didn’t understand was why he was considered a threat. I really didn’t get the impression that he knew what he was doing while trying to rebel, and it wasn’t like he had a big following, yet his main rival seemed threatened by him anyway? I still don’t get it, I think I was expecting Colin to have a lot more strategic thinking, but this was never discussed thoroughly enough for my liking.
So generally this book was a mixed bag for me. On one hand I really liked the characters and the message of survival that Metaltown offered. It was nice to see how they all developed, although the ending was so heart-breaking!
On the other hand, it really didn’t meet my high expectations. Reading the blurb I thought the book was going to be so much more gritty and dramatic, but it felt a lot like a performance. I do think that is my own expectations taking away from the story, sorry.
Don’t get me wrong, this is still a good book, it just wasn’t quite what I expected. I do think it is worth a read though!
Have you read this book yet? What did you think? Let me know in the comments! ♥