Heart of Iron – Book Review

Author: Ashley Poston

Publishers: Balzer + Bray

Published on : Feb 2018

Source: Audiobook listened through Storytel.in

First in a series , not a standalone.

Book 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. Heart of Iron (Heart of Iron, #1)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?

Heart of Iron is supposedly a sci-fi space retelling of Anastasia which I knew nothing of and had to google it before beginning the book. Let me warn you, I have not read that much sci-fi and haven’t really felt a liking towards the genre because its all very confusing to me. But I liked Heart of Iron and here’s why.

Amazing characters

The book is richly packed with diverse characters – Metals  (Androids that are both devoid and brimming with emotions), gay couples, a brown skinned female protagonist etc.

The book is told in four POV’s..

  • Ana – The girl who was found by Captain Siege in an escape pod in space, along with her companion Metal, Di or D09.
  • Di – The metalhead who is devoid of feelings but is very very loyal and protective of Ana.
  • Jax – the cool pilot of the Dossier, the pirate ship that Ana belongs to. He is queer and has the ability to read the stars, and has a mysterious past which is not revealed much in the book.
  • Robb – the Ironblood who is desperately searching for his father who is presumed dead by the Kingdom, during its Android attack seven years ago that killed the entire Royal family including it’s Princess.

So you would have thought that Robb and Ana would end up together, but no !! If it weren’t revealed towards the beginning of the book that Ana has not-just-friendly feelings for her Di, considering the amount of time Robb and Ana spend together in the latter part of the book, I would have thought that they were the couples too 😛

The plot twists

I’m not talking about discovering who the lost princess is.. There are a lot of tiny little plot twists that make the entire book enjoyable. Good become bad, Bad become good??!!, people end up dead, secrets revealed..

The writing

Its simple, fast paced (although a little lagging at the beginning) and has beautiful lines like these.

Her heart beat, and his wires hummed, and they were Ana and Di – and there were no words for that.

If he believed in the Moon Goddess, he’d be praying right now. He’d be praying really, really hard. And he’d be praying something like, Merciful Goddess, if you exist, please hand my ass to me some other day. I don’t want to die. I haven’t kissed Jax yet.

And E05!! 

This cute little bot stole my heart!! It can’t speak but comes in handy in several situations and is cutely called by Di as his can opener ❤

What I Didn’t like

Okayyyyy… coming to what I didn’t like.. Basically a little hard to understand who was what.. So Captain Siege has optical fibre hair that lights up different colours based on her emotions. One of the crew member has mechanical leg. But I wasn’t sure if they were also Metals like Di or Human or Humanoids.. And also not very clear about Di too.

I disliked the madman Lord Rasovant, not because he is the supposedly villain of the story but because of how poorly his character was built. He sounded like a lunatic to me and not a very powerful character that needs to be feared.

The world building could have been better, because I wasn’t clear on the planets and the Iron Kingdom or the Solanis. There were random places mentioned, planets and their moons but it lacked some in-depth and clear idea of the world Poston was trying to build.  I’m not sure if the books had a map, but I read an audiobook so it was all the more confusing.

The verdict!!

Yes, I will be looking forward to the sequel Soul of Stars that comes out in 2019 hoping to know more of that ending!! And more about the HIVE and Jax.

I rate the book  3.75 stars!!

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Hold Back the Stars – ARC review

Author : Katie Khan

Publisher : Gallery Books ( a division of Simon and Schuster)

Pub Date: 23 May 2017

Source : I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. (Thank you!)

Get the book from Amazon, B & N

Book Blurb :

A startling and evocative novel, harkening to both One Day and Gravity, a man and a woman revisit memories of their love affair on a utopian Earth while they are trapped in the vast void of space with only ninety minutes of oxygen left. 

After the catastrophic destruction of the Middle East and the United States, Europe has become a utopia and, every three years, the European population must rotate into different multicultural communities, living as individuals responsible for their own actions. While living in this paradise, Max meets Carys and immediately feels a spark of attraction. He quickly realizes, however, that Carys is someone he might want to stay with long-term, which is impossible in this new world.

As their relationship plays out, the connections between their time on Earth and their present dilemma in space become clear. When their air ticks dangerously low, one is offered the chance of salvation—but who will take it? An original and daring exploration of the impact of first love and how the choices we make can change the fate of everyone around us, this is an unforgettable read.

My thoughts

Woww this book was something! This is really a very good attempt at Utopian science fiction. And to think this is Katie Khan’s debut novel… !!

Max and Carys are floating in space with only ninety minutes of oxygen left in their tanks and with nothing around except for an asteroid belt that hit their spaceship leaving nothing useful behind. The chapters are alternatively told with how much time that is left with that of their past. The past was just a bit boring, cheesy romance of how they met and how they ended up in the spaceship with no other cosmonauts.

The story setting is based on fictional Utopian world that is formed after the destruction of the United States and the Middle East and the form of living the post-war world adapts to – The Rotation. For every three years, people who belong to the Europia and are in Rotation, will be moved to different regions of the world. There can be no relationships that are permanent until you are 35. Everyone is answerable to no one except their own and they take responsibility for their selves in this new world. No religion, race, ethnicity, caste etc.

Max is from the founding families of the Rotation and he lives by it. While Carys, is enrolled in it only after 18, has enough roots and commitments prior to Rotation so she hates the system. What happens when they meet is what follows and yes, eventually ending up in a spaceship.

Sci-fi wise the book was great and wonderful creative writing. Romance-wise it was nothing different.

“Science both advances and undermines itself over time. If we live long enough, most theories we currently accept as fact will be proved false. There is always better, more advanced science out there -we just have to advance our own knowledge first. “

As the minutes are ticking and there’s no miracle happening, i was intrigued and definitely wanting to finish the book to know its end. And boy was i surprised. I don’t want to give spoilers but those last few chapters were amazing!

My rating 4/5 stars 🙂

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