Genre: Science Fiction
Series: Heart of Iron #1
Release Date: February 27, 2018
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
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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 so excited about this premise. I love Anastasia. I love space. Anastasia in space sounded like it would be such a fun romp through the stars. The execution, however, disappointed me; I had such high expectations for this book. The characters were fun and all the homages to the original movie were great, but ultimately I think Heart of Iron lacked originality and depth that would have made this book seem so much livelier.
One of the major problems was the multiple POVs. I felt like four was way too much for this book; I constantly felt like I was being thrown around, and in a lot of cases, switched to another POV in the middle of the scene. None of the characters were as well-developed as I would have liked for a book with four main characters and because of it I felt like they all had really similar voices. I feel like this book could have been cut down to two POVs and it could have worked much better. I liked Anna and Robb, who were both super badass. Of the four, though, my favourite character was Jax, who was fun and snarky and basically everything I like in my characters. One thing I did like was that the crew was really diverse, with queer characters, POC, and fictional species.
I would have really liked to know more about the world that Heart of Iron is set in, especially the Solani and the Metals. I always find different humanoid races in sci-fi really cool because the author has so much freedom unlike in fantasy. Generally, I liked the worldbuilding, but I feel like it could have been expanded on a bit considering that the Solani–Jax in particular–has the potential to see the future. I also feel like the rebellion of the Metals could have been really cool if it had just been touched on a bit more. Everything in this book just seemed to happen so fast and easily, like things were skimmed over for the sake of the romance plot–and I wasn’t really interested in the romance subplot.
Even though Heart of Iron wasn’t for me I still thought it was a pretty cool book with worldbuilding and characters that definitely have a good amount of potential.
“All stories are built from the bones of something true. You are the daughter of iron and stars. You are the symbol of hope in a time when light only shines from things that burn.”
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