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?
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HEART OF IRON is a tough one for me. On one hand, I blew through this book, couldn't put it down- which is how I always am with Ashley Poston's books- and had a really fun time with the story. On the other hand, it really wasn't the amazing book I had wanted it to be. Which isn't to say it's not GOOD, because it really is. I think this one just kind of fell prey to my high expectations and has suffered a bit because of it.
Let's focus on all the good first. Heart of Iron is being pitched everywhere as an Anastasia retelling, and while it is just that, it's also so much more. Poston has built an entire universe that it really fleshed out and fun, and filled it to the brim with interesting tidbits. I really would love to see a bit more of the world explored in the sequel- pleasetellmethereisasequel- because I feel like there's so much of a solid foundation for her to build on now.
I also thought the characters were really well done. The cast is diverse, and everyone feels like they have a reason for being on the page, like they're more than just filler. Even smaller characters felt to me like they had stories of there own that I just couldn't see, which added to the authentic feel of the book. Plus, I'm a total sucker for sentient androids and AIs, so I fell in love with Di- D09- pretty much from the first page. He was SO much fun for me to read.
Now I want to move on to the things that made Heart of Iron fall a little short for me.
The character relationships felt either rushed or forced in my opinion. For a rather long book, I would have like to see the character's have more time to actually build there relationships, or in the case of Ana and Di, show me instead of tell me as the reader more of why they cared so deeply for one another.
I also felt that in many places the writing just wasn't up to par for the genre. Some sentences and paragraphs felt clunky, and as I touched on with the character relationships, I could have done with a bit more showing instead of telling. This obviously wasn't enough to turn me off of reading, but it was enough to pull me out of an otherwise compelling story.
Overall, I do think HEART OF IRON is a fun, easy read. It in some ways stands out from other books in the genre, while also not quite reaching it's full potential. The ending left off on quite the cliffhanger, so I'm really hoping for a sequel and would absolutely love to see Poston improve on what she's done with this one. In fact, I'm confident that she will, and can't wait to see more of this universe that she's created.
In the kingdom of Sempera, time is currency—extracted from blood, bound to iron, and consumed to add time to one’s own lifespan. The rich aristocracy, like the Gerlings, tax the poor to the hilt, extending their own lives by centuries.
No one resents the Gerlings more than Jules Ember. A decade ago, she and her father were servants at Everless, the Gerlings’ palatial estate, until a fateful accident forced them to flee in the dead of night. When Jules discovers that her father is dying, she knows that she must return to Everless to earn more time for him before she loses him forever.
But going back to Everless brings more danger—and temptation—than Jules could have ever imagined. Soon she’s caught in a tangle of violent secrets and finds her heart torn between two people she thought she’d never see again. Her decisions have the power to change her fate—and the fate of time itself.
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When I first heard about Sara Holland's EVERLESS, I couldn't help but think about that horrible Justin Timberlake movie from a few years ago. The concept of time as currency is SO COOL- that movie was so not. So I really, really, really hoped that Everless would be the everything that I'd hoped from from the JT-film debacle.
Everless was everything I wanted AND MORE. This book was shockingly good. I absolutely couldn't stop reading, I just needed to know what would happen next all the way to the last page. And now I still need to know what happens next, but unfortunately I ran out of book.
This book did not feel like a debut to me. The writing felt season, the pacing was excellent, and Holland has created a unique world with a darkly romantic feel to it. I loved how twisty the story was. And yes, some of the twists were predictable, but others weren't, so it evened out and the story never felt boring or derivative.
The characters were to die for. Jules is an excellent lead, she really holds the story on her own. A few times her decisions felt a bit infuriating, but overall I really liked where her character went along with the story. The side characters for the most part were well-developed and fleshed out. The romance was definitely lackluster for me, I felt like it was a bit forced and somewhat out of character for Jules. The friendships were really good though. And Holland did a fantastic job of making me question where everyone's loyalty lay up until the very end, which added to the fun of reading.
EVERLESS is definitely one of my favorite reads of the year. It's perfect for fans of Caraval or A Shadow Bright and Burning. I absolutely cannot wait to see where the sequel goes, and I can see myself diving back into Everless in the meantime.