“May the stars keep them steady and the iron keep them safe.
Heart of Iron is my first dive into a world created by Ashley Poston. I’ve owned Geekerella for far too long and have yet to get around to actually reading it. I had heard nothing but great things about Ashley’s work, so I was pretty excited for this release — like “preorder and search endlessly for an ARC” kind of excited.
This book was pitched to me as Anastasia in space, and as someone who once owned stuffed animals, dolls, and Anastasia themed clothing as a child, intrigued was too light of a word to describe the way I felt. It might have also played a part in my super high expectations considering I was anticipating a clever sci-fi take on Anastasia, but I got something a little bit different.
Don’t get me wrong, the allusions to Anastasia were great — hallucinations of her siblings, the big reveal with her grandmother, etc. — and they reminded me instantly of the movie. I could see the scenes playing out just like they did in the film, and those were some of my favorite parts.
I think what disappointed me the most were the parts that didn’t feel new. Certain plot points felt copied and pasted. Long lost princess, robot sidekick who gets a new body, sassy pilot, space setting? Hello, Lunar Chronicles. I also wasn’t a fan of some of the descriptions and phrases. We as readers are thrust into this brand new world, and we’re apparently supposed to just know and understand their vernacular and slang. It was very confusing, and at times super annoying for things to go badly and everyone say “Goddess’s spark”.
There were certain kinds of people in this world that were minimally explained. There’s the Ironblood, royalty and high class. There’s also Solani, which are fortune tellers of sorts. And lastly, Metals, who are essentially robots, most of whom are “HIVED” and act as servants to the Ironblood. It was interesting to see this mix of people, but I hated how they were constantly referred to as their specific kind. Their only identifier was their race, and constantly sentences would say “The Solani…” or “The Ironblood…” as if they didn’t have names or anything else special about their actual person. It bothered me to read that so often.
One positive thing that stood out to me was the representation. There are gay and lesbian main characters, as well as people of color who play significant roles in the story. The diversity was something I really enjoyed, so kudos to Ashley for that.
All in all, it was definitely an interesting read. I’d recommend it for people who enjoyed the Lunar Chronicles or if you’re a fan of sci-fi in general. The technology parts are cool for those interested, and I liked the characters enough to probably continue with the series when the next one comes out. Sadly, it didn’t meet my dangerously high expectations (and my love, Dmitri, was a robot for crying out loud), but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t decent in its own right.
I received an e-ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.