Rating: 4 / 5
HEART OF IRON by Ashley Poston is one that I saw recommended a few times. It was also perfect for this year’s Around the World in 52 Books challenge prompt for a book related to one of the elements on the periodic table of elements. In addition, it ticked off a few readathon challenge prompts this week and I do love multi-tasking!
HEART OF IRON begins with 17 year old Ana, a girl without a past. She was found as a child in space along with an android, D09 (Di to his friends). She was taken in by a space crew who became her new found family. Unfortunately Di is damaged and glitching and even more unfortunately this isn’t an easy problem to solve as independent unsanctioned Metals are illegal and therefore spare parts aren’t easy to find. Being told saving Di is impossible isn’t going to put Ana off her attempts to save the metal she loves.
In a desperate attempt to track down a way to save Di, Ana attempts to steal the coordinates to a lost ship which might hold answers. Her attempt is thwarted by an “ironblood”, a boy of more noble lineage with his own quest to pursue. With things going quickly awry, they must team up and go on the run with Ana’s family, combining quests as they can, often uncovering more questions than answers as they go.
This was a really fun read, full of action and adventure. The book is a retelling of Anastasia, but one doesn’t need to have any background knowledge of that story to enjoy this one. This book also brings a good deal of representation with characters of color and queer representation.
I did have some hesitations over the romance developing between Di and Ana. Firstly, Di is an android not programmed for feelings, but is depicted with feelings and this isn’t entirely explained as to whether he really had feelings, simulated feelings or what allowed him to break out of his code to develop feelings. Secondly, Di was found with Ana as a child and as an android, he didn’t age, so this left me feeling a bit questionable about their somewhat adult/child relationship. To be fair, Di had no memories before they were found in space, but it still was a bit much for me.
Overall, this is definitely a wild adventure. The book ends with some resolution, but also with a lot of unfinished business. The sequel just came out this summer and I will be tracking it down on audio to see where the story goes!