I just loved and adored Geekerella, so when I saw this duology by the same author I knew I had to pick it up. I listened to the audio book of Heart of Iron. It was good, the reader, Adrenrele Ojo did a good job, but I did have some issues with it. This might just be personal preference, but when whole chapters are dedicated to one character’s point of view, it is much better to have a different voice for each chapter. It was often hard for me to remember who was narrating when it was always the same voice speaking. But I enjoyed listening to Ms. Ojo and would certainly pick up another book read by her.
The first book, Heart of Iron, is basically a retelling of the Anastasia Romanov story. I did not realize this going in so was pleasantly surprised by that. It is a retelling worth reading. I loved the futuristic setting and some of the tech was pretty awesome. The second book, Soul of Stars, veers away from the retelling, but that was ok, it was a great adventure story with lots of battles and close calls for all of the characters. The ending was fabulous and all that I could have hoped for.
The series has four narrators, with Ana being the only girl. She is bold and sassy and has a wonderful relationship with everyone on the Dossier, the ship that she has lived on for most of her life. I loved her relationship with the captain of the ship, Siege, who was very much a mother to her. Siege was both strict but loving in their interactions. Ana is fiercely loyal to everyone on the ship and will do anything to protect and help them. Her relationship to D09, or Di, was also protective and she felt more than just friendship towards him. Di is an AI, but a pretty advanced one. Ana certainly never suspected who she was, and once she found out was dubious that she was up for the job of Empress. But she certainly couldn’t let the dark forces surrounding her take over either.
Jax was probably my favorite character. He is a Solani, which meant that he came from a different system than everyone else. Some Solani can read other people’s futures, and unfortunately, or so Jax thinks, he is one of them. But he is also the pilot of the Dossier, and a really good one. He is also witty and brave and loyal to his found family. He and Ana have a great relationship, but it is the one that he develops with Rob that will change his life.
Rob is an Ironblood, which in this world means he is royalty. His mother and brother are conspiring to get the throne, and Rob puts quite the wrench in the works to stop them. He did not have the best relationship with either of them and often found himself at odds with what they wanted him to do. When he meets Jax though, he decides that what he wants to do with his life is more important than his family. He also becomes quite loyal to Ana and is the one who figured out who she was.
Di is the fourth narrator, and probably goes through the most in this story. I really liked him. He had a good sense of humor and really wanted to protect Ana. I can’t say much else about him, because spoilers, but he is an AI that I can respect.
The plot of both books is very fast moving and full of twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The second book brings the tragedy of what was really going on with the metals (robots/AI) and how they were created to the forefront. It is a bit creepy. The Great Dark is also pretty scary in what it wants to accomplish. The futuristic setting is quite well done and the world building is phenomenal. I loved the skysailers, the little ships that they used to get around. There is also a cute little robot called E0S that was just adorable and often played a very important role in their adventures.
If you are looking for a first rate, fun science fiction story than this is the one you want. Lots of action, a little romance and a great evil that wants to destroy humankind are just what you will find here.