Title: Heart of Iron
Author: Ashley Poston
Summary: 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 walls 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.
And 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 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 to save the Metal boy she loves?
Belle Rating: D
Bookworm Rating: C-
Overall Rating: D
Target Audience: Young Adults–Adults
L – I was very excited to give this book a try. The summary on the back seemed really interesting and I though the story had a lot of potential.
D – Instead it’s like Anastasia was dumped into Treasure Planet and was blended together with some other known stories. Needless to say, I was very disappointed.
L – For a quick summary the book starts out with Ana trying to get the coordinates of a ship so she can save D09 or “Di” because there is something wrong with his memory core and he’s shutting down. Through some misadventure they lose the coordinates to a boy named Robb. Who they kinda kidnap and take onto their pirate spaceship.
D – The captain begrudgingly goes along with Ana’s request of seeing where these coordinates will take them. I mean she likes Di after all. He’s the best medic ever and Ana is like her child. Anyway, they get to the location, it’s boobytrapped (of course), crap goes down, and the Royals catch up with them thanks to Robb.
L– And since this is an Anastasia rewrite we aren’t surprised to learn that Ana is in fact the princess that everyone thought was dead. Turns out the man who murdered her family is still around (big shock) and he’s trying to kill her again!
D – *dramatic gasp* A person in the royal court would never do such a thing!….
L– Then we have some drama and the book leaves us flying through space waiting for a sequel.
D – One that I’ll probably not read. Sorry guys, this romantic relationship between a girl and a robot was just a little too offputting in this story. I’d understand the need to repair the robot because this was a figure that was with her since her memory was lost and she grew up with it. But actually being in love with it?…Yea that was just too weird for me.
L – On top of that if you’re ever an author and somehow get past this and and “overcome” the robot with no feelings problem…Don’t take it back! Good grief. Is she having a romance with this robot or not?
L – If you’ve read Geekerella (also by Ashley Poston) you know that it was written with two points of view. This worked really well with the story. Heart of Iron is also written with multiple perspectives; in this case four of them. And while the characters all seem interesting and unique we skip between the perspectives so often it really detracts from the story.
D – The author had a good thing going, really. But I agree, she changed perspectives so often she didn’t really let any gut-wrenching suspense to build up with any of the characters. So instead of getting upset that I had to wait to read about what Ana or anyone else was going through, I just shrugged it off and waiting for a chapter or two to get the details I wanted.
L– The constantly changing perspective also makes it hard to get a good idea of what this world is like. I walked away from the story knowing a weird spattering of facts about the world but nothing really solid or seemingly important.
D – I know! I didn’t really care about the main character most of the time because other little tidbits seemed more interesting.
L– I feel like if she’d given more time to each perspective the story would have been much better.
D – Agreed. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of stories that are based off of other ideas that I enjoy. But being able to make it your own and retelling the story well is key, and I felt like she really let me down here
L– If you set out to write a romance book (or something where the romance is an important part of the story), please have some sort of romance in your story. There were two main romantic plotlines in this story and they both bored me to tears.
D – Yesss….and I’m gonna say it again, the whole falling in love with a robot thing in this story is just creepy. I thought that the relationship would be more brotherly or even father-daughter. I mean, Di was with her since her childhood. She grew up with him and he was always the adult/parental figure. Why would she have romantical feelings??? Especially when he doesn’t have any emotions?????
L – The second romance between Robb and Jax was one of those insta-lovey stories. I found their “chemistry” hard to believe because they both hated things about each other but they were “in love”. Romance needs development if you want me to believe it. (Also they’re both boys so don’t read the book if this offends you.) Jax was also a really good character but it was spoiled with over half his plotline being spent mooning over Robb.
D – Jax is a character I want to know more about. He is far more interesting than anyone else in the book. So you can see why this romance, which felt kinda forced, was very mind-numbing to read.
L – The most believable romance was between the Captain and her wife. And it was a background romance! With maybe two scenes even mentioning it.
D – That’s the kind of romance I enjoy. Just enough to make you go “aww” but not so much that it detracts from the story you’re trying to tell.
L– The space adventure stuff was pretty good. While there wasn’t much time devoted to the suspense it had a lot of potential and I liked the elements we did get about the world and how it worked.
D – Yes, if she had used those more I would’ve been pretty impressed with the book. I also liked the Captain. She’s basically a female Blackbeard, so I thought that was cool.
L– Most of the characters were really unique and had backstories I was interested in. They made it a pretty colorful environment for the story to take place in.
D – I just wasn’t impressed and the romance made me uncomfortable. Some people might like it?
L– I gave it such a low rating because I felt like the book should have been able to hold my attention. But something that would usually take me maybe a day and a half to read took me a whole week. I don’t really like books I have to trudge through.
D – It really is a shame…
L– If you’re really interested in Anastasia retellings, YA Sci-Fi stories, or a representation where diversity for the most part is normalized then maybe this is for you. It’s worth a try but don’t expect too much.