Monday, November 7, 2016

#Monday Review - Metaltown by Kristen Simmons #YALit, #Dystopian @kris10writes @torteen

Series: Standalone
Format: Hardcover, 384 pages
Release Date: September 20, 2016
Publisher: Tor Teen
Source: Library
Genre: YA, Science Fiction, Dystopian

Metaltown. Where factories rule, food is scarce, and hope is in short supply.

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.

An enthralling story of friendship and rebellion, Metaltown will have you believing in the power of hope.

Kristen Simmons' Metaltown is a standalone, young adult, dystopian novel that weaves its way through the narratives of three main characters; Ty, Colin, and Lena. Simmons world building is always impressive, and there is no let down in Metaltown. The story is set in a fictitious place called the Northern Federation, who just happens to be at war against the Eastern Federation. A war that has lasted for decades, and has seen the rise of the corn flu which is deadly and incurable.

Ty and Colin live in the muck known as Metaltown. Ty is an orphan who has lived on the streets since being tossed out of the orphanage where she was left by a mysterious woman. Ty and Colin each worry about being hurt on the job which leads to being fired since under aged kids don't get any sort of benefits or health insurance by the Brotherhood who represents adults. But, they have had each others backs for the 4 years since Ty took Colin under her wing. This friendship has seen plenty of ups and downs, but nothing like what happens after Ty is seriously hurt.

Unlike Ty, Colin has a family that he worries about and therefore anything he does will come back in a bad way on them. Ty, on the other hand, gets scraps, worries about where she sleeps at night, and whether or not someone will attempt to take advantage of her. Working at the Small Parts Factory may not seem like a diamond in the rough, but it is something Ty is really, really good at. So, when she suffers a terrible injury, and loses her job, Ty doesn't have many options open to her. 

Ty's struggles over the course of this story are realistic and very painful to read. Her anger issues are to be expected. Her friendship with Chip was adorable, and the fact that she doesn't let her injury slow her down, is remarkably brilliant. While there was no apparent romantic inclination between Ty and Colin, I could say it was a failure on Colin's side to not pursue it sooner. So, no, there is no love triangle no matter how you take the synopsis. While Ty is the heart of this story, Colin may very well be the soul after all is said and done. 

Colin lived in Bakersville where the educated and struggling middle class lives before one of his moms got sick. Colin's response to Ty's accident, and how he responds afterwards is key to who he really is. He is a leader who people look to. He needs to do something for Ty, even if it means aligning himself with the protected daughter of the plants owner. Colin has to do something to help Ty, and others like her. After all, Ty took him in and protected him, and taught him to fight back against bullies. From dealing with a powerful business owner. To remaining alive when threatened by the Brotherhood, Colin will need to step up in order to live to see tomorrow. 

Lena Hampton lives in the River district. A place where wealth, and stability are taken for granted every day. Lena is the stereotypical rich girl who's daddy runs the military industrial complex that Ty and Colin work for. Lena wants to get involved in her family business, especially seeing how her older brother is worthless as they come. Lena's experiences at the Small Parts Factory lead her to encounter Colin, and the rest, as they say, is history. Lena, as a characters, grows and becomes something of a badass when faced with watching what her father's company is doing to children. Lena ends up being the brain, to Ty's soul, and Colin's heart.

There is an especially horrific moment that happens in this book, and I swear by the Goddess I will never spoil it for you. I am still having a hard time understanding the reasoning behind the move, and keep looking back at other authors who chose to make a similar heart wrenching move that drove readers, like me, crazy. In many ways, this story reminds me of the old documentaries about how unions were formed, and the things workers had to deal with. Like this story, 16 hour works days weren't unheard of then. Even though I have many issues with unions, especially
concerning the use of workers union fees to support political candidates, they have done some good for workers rights.  

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