Heart of Iron, by Ashley Poston
Publish Date: February 27, 2018
Published by: Balzer + Bray
Genre: YA Sci-Fi
My Rating: ★★★★★ (4.75 out of 5 stars)
**I received this as an egalley from the publisher through Edelweiss in return for an honest review.**
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?
When I first heard the words “Anastasia in space” I knew I had to at least try this book. What I didn’t expect was how much I was going to fall in love with it. This whirlwind adventure of space pirates and lost princesses took me by surprise and just wowed me to no end. It is gorgeous, it is breathtaking, and it is completely impossible to put down.
With words that blend together in poetic beauty and steal the breath away with their loveliness, Ashley Poston has created a world and characters that just made my heart sing with pleasure. The quotes – so many lines in this book had me smiling and gasping and trying very hard to catch my breath with how gorgeous they were. And everything from beginning to end was just absolutely spectacular – the world-building, the characterizations, the plot – all of it was written beautifully and in a way that had me falling into the world immediately and not wanting to climb back out for one second.
It is fast-paced and moves quickly, but only once or twice did I feel were things moving too quickly. Mainly partway through the beginning, when they reach the Tsarina and suddenly everything is happening and there is action and Robb is suddenly realizing his feeling for Jax whom he had only just met like ten hours prior – I just felt like things were jumping the gun a little there. I was already on board with them two as a pair, don’t get me wrong, but I would have liked a little more time seeing them getting to know one another before they suddenly decided they wanted to kiss.
The characters, though – oh wow the characters. All four of the main characters – Ana, Di, Jax and Robb – had so much depth and wonder to them, and the way they grew and shaped themselves over the course of the novel was beautifully rendered. From the first moment I met him I knew I was going to love Robb and he did not disappoint. And as I grew to know the others I fell in love with them as well. Surprisingly enough Ana was the last one I came to really care about, but she is a great character and definitely grew on me. And of course the romantic relationships were absolutely breathtaking. I didn’t know mere promises could make one smile so much. The relationships these characters had with one another, and with others in the novel, definitely helped change and redefine who they were how they viewed themselves and who they wanted to be.
I thought the supporting characters were excellent as well, especially Siege and Ana’s relationship with her and the rest of the crew, especially when juxtaposed with Robb’s relationship with his family. Some of these characters did seem a little single-minded at times, but there were also times when there were hints at what lay underneath that showed there was more than what met the eye. I think there was one character in particular that I would have liked to gotten to know better, and that was Viera Carnelian, the Captain of the Royal Guard, because there was just something about her that I felt like I was missing. Even seeing her frenemy relationship with Robb some more would have been interesting, I thought. Otherwise, though, I thought all of the supporting characters were great and helped filled the story in wonderfully.
Honestly, I absolutely loved almost everything about this book – the plot, the characters, and Poston’s writing style is just oh-so-gorgeous. Half the time I kept forgetting that this was supposed to be a retelling because I was just so immersed in the story itself. It is definitely an edge-of-your-seat, breath-stealing adventure filled with mystery, intrigue, romance, and lots and lots of action. If you loved The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer then this is definitely a book for you.