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Review: Heart of Steel

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Heart of Steel
Author: Meljean Brook 
Release Date: Nov. 1, 2011
Publisher: Berkley Trade
The Iron Seas #2
ISBN: #978-0425243305
Genre: Steampunk Romance
Format(s): Paperback (320 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Publisher

About the book:

     As the mercenary captain of the Lady Corsair, Yasmeen has learned to keep her heart as cold as steel, her only loyalty bound to her ship and her crew. So when a man who once tried to seize her airship returns from the dead, Yasmeen will be damned if she gives him another opportunity to take control. 
     Treasure-hunter Archimedes Fox isn’t interested in the Lady Corsair — he wants her coldhearted captain and the valuable da Vinci sketch she stole from him. To reclaim it, Archimedes is determined to seduce the stubborn woman who once tossed him to a ravenous pack of zombies, but she’s no easy conquest.
     When da Vinci’s sketch attracts a dangerous amount of attention, Yasmeen and Archimedes journey to Horde-occupied Morocco — and straight into their enemy’s hands. But as they fight to save themselves and a city on the brink of rebellion, the greatest peril Yasmeen faces is from the man who seeks to melt her icy heart…

What Im talking about:

     Book #1 of The Iron Seas series, The Iron Duke (review HERE) was hands down the best book I read last year, so it was with great anticipation that I opened the cover of Heart of Steel. I can tell you right now, I was NOT disappointed!
     Although it takes place in the same intricately-crafted, alternate world as Duke, Heart has its own feel and rhythm, primarily due to the differences in the main characters (who were introduced in the first book). Yasmeen and Archimedes are not Mina and Rhys, and this story is a reflection of their uniqueness.  One could easily read Heart of Steel as a stand alone – but this series is SO incredible, I don’t suggest you skip the first book.
     The story opens shortly after the conclusion of The Iron Duke, with Yasmeen seeking out the sister of the famed adventurer, Archimedes Fox, to inform her of her brother’s death.  However, when Yasmeen arrives, she discovers that someone has beaten her to the home and plans to rob Yasmeen of the expensive da Vinci sketch she stole from Fox.  Soon after that, she is taken captive by the not-so-dead Fox himself – who also wants the valuable sketch.
     Yasmeen is a mercenary, a Captain and a trained assassin. She is accustomed to dodging danger and surviving the rough side of life. She enjoys her freedom and feeling the wind on her face as she travels from port to port. Ms. Brook does an excellent job of creating a tough woman that doesn’t “go soft” for a man. Yasmeen cares fiercely for her crew and those she finds worthy of her trust and loyalty. She can love another and will show compassion, but on her own terms. She’s happy in her life, which doesn’t change because she falls for Fox.  It’s just amazing story-telling!
     Archimedes Fox is determined to fall in love with Yasmeen. He is taken by her ways and exotic look. He is a man that is used to being chased, hunted and surviving close calls, and as such, understands where he fits in Yasmeen’s life. As expressed in this quote, Fox understands and appreciates all that is Yasmeen:

Perhaps drugging the woman he intended to fall in love with wasn’t the accepted method of kindling a passionate romance, yet Archimedes considered it the most sensible way to proceed.

     Yet, he is no push-over to her demanding personality.  I LOVE that he stands behind her – not as a subservient man, but to always have her back. He is unafraid to express himself, but is willing to live by her rules. They truly are the perfect fit.
     The story flows seamlessly and has a bit of a mystery at its center. As Yasmeen and Fox work together to figure out who has stolen the sketch, they discover several little sub-plots, which all weave together to create one fantastic story. And the humor… just sublime. Without giving spoilers, I felt that the “neat and tidy” ending was a great little twist away from what I assumed would occur.
     Once again, Ms. Brook builds a fantastic adventure on the backs of amazing characters.  I seriously cannot say enough about how phenomenal I find the world of The Iron Series, and now I’ll stalk Meljean patiently wait for the next book (Molten – late next year).

My Rating:

Loved it – enthusiastically recommend (A)

Stories in the Series:
Burning Up – contains Iron Seas Novella
The Iron Duke (The Iron Seas 1)
Wild & Steamy – contains Iron Seas Novella
Heart of Steel (The Iron Seas 2)

  • Ooooh…I need to read this one! Love this world!

  • I love the sound of this series. I must track down book #1!

  • I have heard that even though steampunk is not my thing that I would like this series. I am going to have to try it….

  • I only read The Iron Duke recently but I loved it so I can’t wait to get my hands on this one, fab review Jen – I’m even more excited about it now :o)

  • Una

    I read the short story and The Iron Duke and LOVED them!! I cannot wait to read this one!!!

    Great review, thank you!!

  • Oooh I forgot this one is out Tuesday- thanks for the reminder!

  • Great review! I can’t barely wait to get my book!

  • You are so right. I loved how Archimedes stood by Yasmeen, completely understanding her need to be in charge. I found these two to be a wonderful, pretty much perfect couple. Great review!

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