I just arrived home with over 100 pounds of books from BEA (I weirdly know this because I spent days planning my way around the airline’s weight limits) and my first new read was Kristen Simmons’ new standalone entry, Metaltown.
It’s set in a dark, somewhat futuristic world where everyone works in harsh factory conditions from a young age – I think the setting actually feels quite reminiscent of Paolo Bacigalupi’s Ship Breaker, but the author describes it as “Les Mis meets Newsies.” The story starts with Lena, the tough as nails but nice underneath native of Metaltown, and her best friend Colin, the attractive dreamer who remembers a better life. Events escalate as does the tension between the best friends when Simmons introduces Lena, the smart but ignorant poor rich girl.
While the characters are pretty standard and you can basically see the plot “twists” a mile away, Simmons does a good job painting their hardships and hopes. The larger issue of the plight of the workers in this world also resonates with the reader. Overall, Metaltown is a bit of a cookie cutter story, but I enjoyed it and think it’s a big improvement over Simmons’ first book, Article 5.