Title: Heart of Iron
Author: Ashley Poston
Release Date: February 27, 2018
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (HarperCollins imprint)
Seventeen-year-old Ana is a scoundrel by nurture and an outlaw by nature. Found as a child drifting through space with a sentient android called D09, Ana was saved by a fearsome space captain and the grizzled crew she now calls family. But D09—one of the last remaining illegal Metals—has been glitching, and Ana will stop at nothing to find a way to fix him. Ana's desperate effort to save D09 leads her on a quest to steal the coordinates to a lost ship that could offer all the answers. But at the last moment, a spoiled Ironblood boy beats Ana to her prize. He has his own reasons for taking the coordinates, and he doesn't care what he'll sacrifice to keep them. When everything goes wrong, she and the Ironblood end up as fugitives on the run. Now their entire kingdom is after them—and the coordinates—and not everyone wants them captured alive. What they find in a lost corner of the universe will change all their lives—and unearth dangerous secrets. But when a darkness from Ana's past returns, she must face an impossible choice: does she protect a kingdom that wants her dead or save the Metal boy she loves?
Heart of Iron is a book of secrets hidden among the stars, a book of fire and iron and blood. Of plots and plans, treason and murder. It's a book about one girl's search for a way to save her friend and the ghosts she uncovers, the darkness that unfolds.
Ana is rough and brash, an orphaned girl found with a Metal guardian in an escape pod, face scarred and memories lost. She has no family but the one that took her in, the pirate captain and her crew that helped Ana and D09, raised her and trained her. Cared for her. And she'll do anything for them, even if that means searching for ways to fix the glitching D09, who knows he doesn't have much time left before the glitches shut him down permanently. Robb is a Valerio, an Ironblood. One of the elite. And he's searching for someone. He's desperate to find his missing father, searching for the location of a lost fleetship. Desperate to answer questions he's had since he was a child. Desperate to get away from his plotting mother and evil brother. But then a dirty pirate girl and a Metal trying to take the coordinates from him. But then they follow him. But then he ends up on a pirate ship on a journey to the lost fleetship. On a journey toward the hard truth.
I was rather intrigued by this book. It moved a bit slowly at times, setting up for surprises and action in the later half of the story, but all the setting up needed to happen. I was curious how it would go, the author taking the idea of the lost Romanov princess from the early 1900's, putting it in deep space in the far future, and adding some deep dark galactic mystery to it. The different view points were a good choice. In a story like this, with players deep in their plans but a little shallow in others, seeing more than one side provides depth and characterization. The determined Ana, the glitching D09, the Ironblood elite Robb, the roguish pilot Jax. They all have their strengths and their flaws, and those flaws are often manipulated as they all try to stay alive. I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for the next book after that ending, and I would recommend this to fans of Defy the Stars.
(I downloaded an e-galley of this title from HarperCollins through Edelweiss.)