Metaltown by Kristen Simmons

First off, I received a copy of this book from its publicist for free in return for an honest review - thanks for thinking of me, Saichek Publicity! It doesn't change any of my opinions, though.
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 disease 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.

Via Goodreads 


This book ... well, it definitely wasn't what I expected.

When I read the blurb, I guess I was expecting your typical dystopia. I figured it was bound to have a futuristic world, a romantic love triangle, and some kind of revolution.

I was only right on one out of three.

The world has more in common with the Industrial Revolution - it has all the grittiness of eighteenth century London; the smog, the dangerous working conditions, even the feeling of cold seeping into ever bone - but with modern ideas sprinkled in every so often to create a refreshing fusion of ideas. You'll probably have seen from some of my other reviews how much I love Fantasy worlds that take inspiration from many different parts of history - to me, it just makes the whole setting so much richer.

And then we have the characters. Whom ... I liked. Ty especially - she's this spiky little ball of determination and toughness who spends most of her time trying to guard her heart. And of course she fails in the feels-iest of ways. The one problem I had was that, while there's nowhere very near a love triangle in this book, the girls don't like each other very much. And, having identified so strongly with Ty, I couldn't help but share her hatred of Lena at least a little bit.

This, while not really being anyone's fault - curse me and my over-attachment to characters' emotional states - did make Lena's point of view chapters a little difficult to read through at times, even though I punched the air a little every time she mentioned classical singing. There wasn't nearly enough musicality there though. I NEEDED MORE, GOSH DAMMIT! GIVE ME MY MUSIC FIX!

(I am, however, incredibly glad that the three POVs were different enough that their voices didn't blur together, and that they all reacted differently to the same situations. Authors, kindly remember that this is the kind of thing that makes me happy.)

What else do I need to cover? Plot? 

For the first few chapters, everything was slightly slow and maybe a tad confusing - it certainly took me a while to get my head around the geography of Metaltown, the Beltway and the River District - but it really picks up, I promise you. It's a longish book at 380 pages, but definitely doesn't drag (HUZZAH) - you get some violence, but not exactly graphic, and ... well. Stuff changes in Metaltown. Stuff changes for the characters. Stuff JUST CHANGES.
(Also, I can't find any mention of this on the Goodreads page or anywhere else, but I'm pretty sure Colin has two gay mums? It's a really tiny part of the book, only ever really implied, but it made me smile.)

In conclusion - I has an up and down kind of relationship with one if the POV characters here, but the setting is a brutally, refreshingly Dickensian thing that adds in modern technology in a fascinating way. Also VERY revolutionary plot: if you're the kind of person who likes dystopia, even only some of the time (like me), this'll probably be up your street.

***
In the comments: Have you guys read Metaltown? What did you think? If not, does it sound like your sort of thing?
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