My Rating ~ Three and a half stars
Release date: 27 February 2018
Publisher: Belzer + Bray
Format: Hardcover – Owlcrate exclusive purple edged edition
Seventeen-year-old Ana is a scoundrel by nurture and an outlaw by nature. Found as a child drifting through space with a sentient android called D09, Ana was saved by a fearsome space captain and the grizzled crew she now calls family. But D09—one of the last remaining illegal Metals—has been glitching, and Ana will stop at nothing to find a way to fix him.
Ana’s desperate effort to save D09 leads her on a quest to steal the coordinates to a lost ship that could offer all the answers. But at the last moment, a spoiled Ironblood boy beats Ana to her prize. He has his own reasons for taking the coordinates, and he doesn’t care what he’ll sacrifice to keep them.
When everything goes wrong, she and the Ironblood end up as fugitives on the run. Now their entire kingdom is after them—and the coordinates—and not everyone wants them captured alive.
What they find in a lost corner of the universe will change all their lives—and unearth dangerous secrets. But when a darkness from Ana’s past returns, she must face an impossible choice: does she protect a kingdom that wants her dead or save the Metal boy she loves?
I was unaware that this was a retelling of Anastasia until I after I started reading it, but that really made no difference to me, because I have no idea what the story of Anastasia is about!
Heart of Iron is told from 4 points of view – Ana’s, Di’s, Robb (the Ironblood royalty) and Jax (the pilot of the ship Ana has grown up on). The story begins with Ana’s desperate attempt to obtain some co-ordinates to a ship that might be able to help her robot (metal) best friend D09 (Di) from a glitch in his programming. Ana and Di have been best friends as far back as she can remember, because they were both found in an escape pod together (Ana with burns to her face) and neither of them have any memories prior to that moment. Robb is also desperate to obtain the co-ordinates because he believes they will lead him to his father, who is presumed dead. When Robb buys the co-ordinates and Ana attempts to steal them from him, they, along with Di and the rest of Ana’s crew, end up on the run from Robb’s family and the rest of the kingdom. The co-ordinates will lead them to a place that gives them more questions than answers, and a need to uncover the truth of where Ana and Di came from, and what happened to her family.
To be honest, I struggled through this book a bit. It just wasn’t holding my interest and I kept getting distracted while reading it. I definitely enjoyed the second half more than the first. I finally started to care about the characters and what was happening to them, so that bumped up my rating at bit. It wasn’t that I disliked the book, it just wasn’t really anything special for me. I think I’m just getting tired of the same old trope – down and out poor but tough girl suddenly becomes royalty / the most important girl in the world and has to save the kingdom. A spoiled boy of royal blood acts like a villain at first, but isn’t. It’s just been done too. many. times.
Although I liked Di’s character and enjoyed the sweet innocence he portrayed in the way he spoke (I loved the way he continuously calculated odds for everything they were going to do), I felt really weird about the relationship between him and Ana. I don’t know, the whole ‘robot who can’t feel, but obviously can because he’s in love with her’ idea was just off-putting to me for some reason. I would have preferred to just see them remain best friends and explore that relationship. Watching Di come to grips with human feelings and emotions later in the story was great. I enjoyed that part of the story so much.
Although there was some fast paced action and suspenseful parts to the story, I felt as though there were too many ideas that weren’t followed up or explained for my liking. The characters continuously refer to an “unbreakable promise”, but we’re never actually told how this works, where it comes from or what happens if they break it. And it seems at one point Di does break one of these oaths, and….nothing happens. The pilot, Jax is from the Solani people, who can read people’s “stars”, which seems to mean he can see their future and how they will die. This really interested me. Jax was one of my favourite characters (aside from the cute little bot called EOS, who zoomed about like a sweet, innocent pet and I wanted to TAKE HIM HOME) I would have loved to know more about Jax’s ability and his people – but again, we just don’t receive much information.
The relationship between Jax and Robb was much more interesting to me than the one between Ana and Di but I just wish it hadn’t been such an insta-love. I hope their relationship develops in the next book and we have more insight into Jax’s history.
I will read the next book in the series, because I am too nosy to not know what happens next and I do want to see where Jax and Robb’s relationship goes. I hope some of the plot points touched on in Heart of Iron are fleshed out and explained in the sequel because I think it still has the potential to be an interesting story. Also, EOS had better be in it, because side-kick or not, he was by far the character that melted my heart the most!
In closing, I do have to mention the book cover though. It is absolutely beautiful!
Photo via my Instagram account – Bookbookowl