He never liked that tone. It usually ended with them trapped in a mine on Cerces, or caught in the middle of a territory war between mercenaries. She wore trouble like royalty wore the Iron Crown, and it fit her a little too well.
Heart of Iron is Ashley Poston’s newest YA novel and the first in a series that will take place in this fantasy world. The story follows a seventeen year old Ana, an orphan who grew up on a pirate space ship and doesn’t remember anything of her previous life before the Metals revolted and killed the Royal Family. When Ironblood (aristocrat) Robb steals the coordinates she needs, they enlist in a long journey to find the ship together and learn that Ana may be the only one who can save the Iron Kingdom.
What I Love About This Book:
- IT’S AN ANASTASIA RETELLING!!!- I can’t believe I had to go back and add this first. I didn’t know this when I first saw the book at my library, but the book jacket sounded really interesting anyway. It was actually weeks later when someone else had it checked out that I learned it was a loosely based Anastasia retelling in SPACE and knew I had to find it.
- Found Family- Poston really explores the found family trope where a character finds their family through a group of friends/fellow outcasts. This happens not only with Ana, who was adopted into the Dossiers crew when they found her and her best friend (a Metal) floating in space at 14, but also with Robb, a boy who has never fit in or followed his family’s expectations.
- The Character Development- Robb and D09/Di are the ones who really develop over the journey. Robb starts out as a spoiled, rebellious aristocrat. In his time with the Dossier‘s crew, he’s able to find himself and who he wants to be.
- The Quick Plot- There were a lot of things happening very quickly. This through me off because I was expecting this to go slower. After all, it takes an entire film for the Death Star to be destroyed, but Poston did not limit herself to typical timing, instead blowing up the metaphorical Death Star early on to make way for the deeper plot and character development to take place.
- D09/Di- I didn’t think I would immediately enjoy the relationship Ana had with this Metal that had kind of raised her, but I did. Very much. Even more so, I loved D09’s journey through what it means to be an unHIVE’d Metal (which is when the Metals lose free will and are controlled by the Iron Kingdom- It is illegal for a Metal to be unHIVE’d). Di was honestly out here doing his best.
- Jax- A STAR KISSER. Basically, he can read the stars in someone’s body to see their future. Love love love.
- The Dossier‘s Crew- Mostly this means Captain Siege and her wife Talle who were both kick-ass. The remaining members are actually pretty easily forgotten, but, man, did Captain Siege make up for that.
What I Did Not Love About This Book:
- Ana- Ana wasn’t necessarily bad. I just felt she was being written out of the novel while remaining the main character everything revolved around. Her character did not develop at all after finding out her family background, and she dragged the second half of the book. She goes through a tough loss, but I don’t see her mourning after the initial heartbreaking hours following this loss. The next day it seems she’s off to save the world. When her loss was mentioned, it felt more Tell than Show.
- So Many Male Perspectives- Because the POVs switch between Ana and other characters, this novel is told overwhelmingly from male perspectives. The book was filled with Strong Female Characters but they didn’t get much screen time. When it was there, I soaked up every second of it, but I’d like to see more in the sequel.
- More Worldbuilding- I would also like to see more worldbuilding in the sequel. While this one definitely had some, there were many moments I was confused by what was happening and who certain people were and why they were relevant and how this world worked. I loved the world it was set in, but I’d like to see and understand more of it.
- Um, That Ending- You’ll understand once you’ve read it.
Home wasn’t always warm, and wasn’t always safe, but home was hers. And it was not this prison.
Heart of Iron was an amazing novel from an amazing writer. Ashley Poston is also the author of Geekerella which I now want to read, and she has a Tumblr if anyone liked her book and wants to tell her so. I’m super excited for the sequel and upset that I’ll have to wait a year for it. This is the first sci-fi/fantasy book I’ve read in a while, and it was a great jumping point for getting back into the genre. Everyone go read Heart of Iron right now!