Rating (out of 5): 4.5 stars
Meljean Brook’s Heart of Steel is a straight-up adventure. Daring escapes, explosions, zombies, treasure hunting and one man’s quest to fall in love with the woman with a heart of steel.
While Heart of Steel is set in the same world as The Iron Duke, the tone is different. At times it’s rollicking, others deep, but where the first Iron Seas book brought the heat often, the second offers a slow burn. We met both Captain Corsair and Archimedes Fox in the first book. She the captain of Lady Corsair (Yasmeen), a mercenary airship, and he the hero of adventure novels. At the end of the last book, Archimedes had found himself flung overboard into a zombie-infested Paris. And Yasmeen was sad to see him go.
He wasn’t gone though. Not Archimedes Fox. Months later, he finds his way back to her determined to fall in love with her. Yasmeen’s past won’t let her open her heart, but she’s willing to take him to bed. He declines, sure he can make her long to kiss him. Instead he helps her seek vengeance and she helps him seek treasure. Both looking for purpose and a new place in the world.
Watching these two fall for each other is poetic. It’s never easy or quick. The gradual building of trust and complete acceptance resonates and makes the wait for that kiss very much worth it.
There are some nice twists and Yasmeen is ruthless. Sometimes you just need a hero who knows when to let his lady do the ass kicking. Archimedes gets this, and it’s undeniably sexy. Expect bar brawls, wild use of machetes, assassinations and the like.
Bottom line: Heart of Steel has characters worthy of adoration, a gripping adventure and a romance to cheer for.
Sexual content: Kissing, sex