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Review: Heart of Steel by Meljean Brook

>>Sunday, February 5, 2012

Title: Heart of Steel
Author: Meljean Brook
Series: The Iron Seas #2
Format: Paperback
Pages: 311
Genre: Romance, Steampunk
Publication Date: November 1st, 2011
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Rating: 8.5

From Goodreads: Return to the gritty, alluring world of steampunk with the New York Times bestselling author of The Iron Duke.

Growing up in the dangerous world of the Iron Seas, the mercenary captain of the airship Lady Corsair, Yasmeen, has learned to keep her heart hard as steel. Ruthless and cunning, her only loyalty is to her ship and her crew-until one man comes along and changes everything...Treasurehunter Archimedes Fox isn't interested in the Lady Corsair--just the captain and the valuable da Vinci sketch she stole from him. When it attracts a dangerous amount of attention, Yasmeen and Archimedes journey to Horde-occupied Morocco- and straight into enemy hands.

Why did I read this book? I read and loved the first book in the series, The Iron Duke.

Source: Review copy provide by Penguin Canada

My Review
This book was one of my most anticipated releases last year due to my love of the first novel, The Iron Duke. Even though I’ve had Heart of Steel for a while now, I kept putting it off because I was just a little afraid it wouldn’t live up to the high expectations The Iron Duke set. That fear was definitely unfound as Heart of Steel lives up to the steamy romance and steampunk adventure established in The Iron Duke and in some cases surpasses it.

There’s definitely going to be some comparison between the two novels. They are both set in the same world but follow two sets of different characters. This time around it’s Yasmeen, captain of the Lady Corsair airship and fierce fighter and adventurer. Her love interest is the infamous Archimedes Fox, legendary raider of ruins left by the zombie infestation. He also is the star of a series of novels written by his sister about his adventures.

The Iron Duke left me with a bigger impression, perhaps because everything was entirely new to me (even the author). However, I think I enjoyed the characters and romance more in Heart of Steel. Mostly that comes from my love of the character Yasmeen. She’s so badass yet so believable in her faults. She’s a loyal yet ruthless mercenary and possesses a heart of steel – no man has loved her and lived to enjoy it. Until Archimedes Fox, who is determined to win her heart even if it costs him his life. Yasmeen won’t sacrifice her independence for him, though. What’s great about Archimedes is that he never asks her to stop being who she is: a great captain and strong fighter. Even stronger than him.

The other part of the plot is that Archimedes is on the hunt for a treasure that can repay a huge debt and Yasmeen is thrown into things when she finds herself hunting for revenge. Chaos ensues including many zombie brawls, attempted assassinations and run-ins with many contraptions that really solidify this as my favorite steampunk series.

I also preferred the kind of story this was: an adventure. There’s a lot of treasure hunting going on throughout this alternate Europe. This really appealed to me especially since Brook’s Horde-occupied world is so dark and rife with danger. That also means that most of the time is spent on or near airships and really, you can’t get much cooler than a story set on an airship.

Rating: 8.5
Overall, I’m super pleased with this latest edition to the Iron Seas series. The romance is sweeter, the characters fiercer, the adventure more thrilling. It’s a great companion to the previous book and really fleshes out the world even more. I definitely recommend to romance and steampunk readers. There are references to the first book’s characters but this can be read as a standalone (but why do that? The Iron Duke is a great read in itself). The next book comes out this year as is titled Riveted. I'm not sure who will star in that one, but I’m hoping for more of the character Zenobia, the sister and writer of Archimedes Fox.

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