Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston | Review

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Rating: ★★★☆☆

Release Date: February 27th, 2018

Pages: 480

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Genre: science fiction, young adult, romance, retelling, fantasy

Goodreads blurb:

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?  


R E V I E W

I was so excited for Heart of Iron. The idea of an Anastasia retelling is what I need to get me through this world. Unfortunately, this book definitely had some execution problems. I’m not sure if it’s because it was intensely science fiction, and sci-fi isn’t typically a genre I enjoy or simply because the beginning of the story was so slow. I keep seeing this book also being compared to the Treasure Planet film but I don’t really remember that film, so I can’t comment there. What I do know is that this was nothing like the Anastasia movie.

Heart of Iron is about a girl named Ana and a robot (really didn’t understand this part) named Di. They were found years ago floating in an escape pod. The pair was taken on board a pirate spaceship. That’s really all I can say without giving too much away about the plot. It is a confusing jumbled mess in some cases but it really was enjoyable. Once the book picked up the action was almost non-stop and I was sitting on the edge of my seat trying to anticipate what was going to happen. Spoiler alert: I sucked at anticipating what was going to happen next. To be fair, I really thought this was a standalone too until I just looked at the Goodreads page. Oops.

L I K E S

GREAT CHARACTERISATION

The characters are what make Heart of Iron. They really do. This book is told from four different standpoints. Ana, Di (D09), Robb and Jax. They all have their own internal dilemmas that make each circumstance interesting. Their voices all have a different tone and it just, overall, makes the book so damn enjoyable.

There is some instant love between some characters and some awkward relationship that I really wasn’t feeling at first but I honestly fell in love with it. It was such a shock. I mean, this could be a whole point on its own but I feel like I can slip it into the characterization, right? Well, too bad, this is my review.

It’s not even the four main characters. Each side character has a level of depth to them that really makes them jump off the page for me. It is also always incredible to see an ensemble of characters where half are queer and/or people of colour. The representation felt very important throughout Heart of Iron.

SHOCK FACTOR

Things Ashley Poston did? That.

Honestly.

The plot twists throughout Heart of Iron basically had me reaching for a glass of water so I could do a comedic spit take. I said earlier that I thought this book was a standalone, so if you’ve read this book imagine my shock at how it ended. Due to the ending, I will definitely be reading the second book because I need to know what happens to this found family.

THE END MADE THE BOOK SO WORTH IT

I don’t know how else to put this. If you’re reading this book and debating DNF’ing. Don’t. Push through. I promise it is so worth it.

D I S L I K E S

FAKE CURSE WORDS

Not much to say on this point, there were fake curse words. I literally despise fake curse words in a text. I don’t know why. I just think saying the word fuck really isn’t as bad as people think it is. Though I’m a strong contender on the ‘they’re just words, now shut the fuck up dick face’ standpoint.

NOT SUPER INTO SPACE

No, really, I’m not into space at all. One of my best friends is super into space and the whole thing. I can’t even say much about it because I have literally zoned out every time he has tried to speak about it to me. So, basically, while reading Heart of Iron I really struggled with some concepts. This is probably due to the fact that I don’t typically know as much as the average sci-fi lover picking up this book. I didn’t take any stars off for this though, this is on me and not the book.

SOMETIMES IT WAS CONFUSING

This is 100% due to weak world building. Obviously, when you create a new world, and especially one that doesn’t exist on our planet, the world building needs to be strong. Heart of Iron failed in this element. I believe this is Ashley Poston’s first fantasy novel and that was really clear while reading. I don’t typically enjoy info-dumps in the text but I feel at some stages Heart of Iron could have really benefited from a massive info dump in places. Again, this could be something that is on me more so than the book but I don’t even understand the concept of Metals that well. Plus, there is a big lead up to a Great Dark coming and destroying everyone. The only problem is that it really doesn’t feel developed. It really feels as if Ashley Poston threw it in as a last minute thing. It really just doesn’t feel like it follows the storyline at all, which is unfortunate.

Not only that but at times it felt like we were expected to know things. Robb has a secret of something that happened at The Academy. It alludes to a lot but I don’t think it is every revealed what this particular thing is.

Overall, I really love Anastasia. Hell, I even named a cat after her. I think focusing on the story of Anastasia really took away from Heart of Iron for me. Looking back, it really wasn’t bad at all. I just put a lot of pressure on the book and my own expectations made the book fall short. I will be reading the second book but I’m not sure I will be pushing it to the top of my TBR when it releases. The potential is really there in this series and I hope it is highlighted in the sequel.


Happy reading everyone!

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