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Review: Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston (Heart of Iron #1)

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Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston // VBC ReviewHeart of Iron (Heart of Iron #1)
Ashley Poston
Published: Feb. 27, 2018 (Balzer+Bray)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Reviewed by: Amy 

Rating (out of 5): 4.5 stars

Seven years ago, Ana was found by the dread pirate Captain Siege floating adrift in an escape pod. She has no recollection of why she was there or where she came from, only that she was accompanied by her Metal, D09, who protected her. Now, her stalwart friend is glitching and Ana will do anything in her power to save him.

Once they begin on this quest, however, nothing will ever be the same as they uncover a decades-old plot against the Emperor that led to a rebellion seven years ago and the Iron Kingdom’s Princess, the one foretold who would save the Kingdom from the Great Darkness being declared dead (you can probably guess where this is going). With the Kingdom under threat once again, Ana will have to decide where her heart truly belongs.

For those of you who, like me, may overlook this tidbit: Heart of Iron is a retelling loosely based on the story of Anastasia. It didn’t take me too long to make the connection on my own, however, and once I did the plotline was almost too glaringly obvious. Not in a bad way mind you. For every moment that Heart of Iron drifted too far into predictable territory, Ashley Poston would whip out an equal amount of moments where the twists and turns were lovely and surprising, keeping me on the edge of my seat in certain places.

The story hits the ground running and rarely stops to rest. For the most part this is to the story’s advantage. There’s not a lot of clutter. Every word, every description and piece of dialogue was important. There are things we know and expect to happen, but where the book really excels is figuring out the mystery of what happened to Ana those seven years ago. The piecing together of her lost memories will shape the direction of where the series goes from here I believe.

The book alternates in short chapters between the points of view of our four main characters: Ana, D09 “Di,” pilot Jax, and Ironblood Robb, and these relationships are the most important. Ana and Di’s stands out because Di, being a Metal, shouldn’t adhere to what could be considered “normal” human emotions. Yet he invariably feels a connection to Ana that’s more than simply programming, even if he can’t put a word to those feelings, and Ana feels the same. It’s sweet and heartbreaking, and it’s the relationship that the book revolves around.

Probably my favorite is the opposites-attracting pairing of Jax and Robb. I say opposites attract because at the base level that’s how it appears, but when you start to peel back the layers you find that these two characters are so suited. They both have to deal with the constraints put upon them by their families. While Jax has already broken away, Robb is just starting to understand that he doesn’t have to live by what his family wants, and maybe both can defy what’s written in the stars.

The only drawback I found was the very thing that moves the story forward: the quick revolving chapters. Unfortunately, while I loved the pacing it set, I felt like it also kept me from fully feeling the weight of the characters’ relationships with one another. As a reader, I wanted to have all the feels too, and it was just a smidgeon off the mark for me.

The setup of this story is spot on, however, and I’m hoping as the series goes my feelings will change. On its own, Heart of Iron is an interesting retelling, but really it’s such a fantastic sci-fi adventure. Perfect for fans of Merissa Meyer’s Cinder.

Sexual content: kissing

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