{Review} Heart of Steel by Meljean Brook

Well, this is embarrassing. 

Heart of Steel was recommended by Noelle, whose taste is very similar to my own, so I reluctantly looked past the heinous cover (thanks to my ereader) and aversion to steampunk and gave it a try. And, holy moly, am I glad I did.

Heart of Steel is seriously badass: in bullet points.

  • Yasmeen is a fantastic lead character. She’s tough and smart and capable. I loved her as the captain of an airship, and her loyalty to her crew. 
  • Archimedes Fox, the male lead, is delightful. He’s funny and a clotheshorse and awkwardly in touch with is feelings. He’s brilliant character.
  • Holy hell! The world is phenomenal. I’ve had a hard time with steampunk in the past because I’ve been driven to distraction by the detailed description of gadgets, etc, but did not have this problem in Heart of Steel. The world is very complex (I had to look at Brooks’ website to get my head around it), but not overwhelming. There’s so much richness, it seems that this series could go on for a long time without it feeling stale. 
  • Hello, diverse characters!  
  • Witty dialogue. I love me some snappy dialogue that feels real. 
  • The gender dynamics are fascinating and very well-handled. 
  • At its core, the is an action-adventure novel and, gosh, it’s been a long time since I’ve read one that I’ve gotten this sucked into. The pacing is fantastic. 

Seriously, Berkley, what the hell is up with the cover of this book?

This is such a better novel than the way the publisher chose to package it! I read this on my Kindle. In the days before ereaders, there is no way I’d pick this book up, regardless of the enthusiastic recommendation I received. It’s nonsensical and badly designed and tell you nothing about the story. Check out the fabulous cover for the German edition:

Now, that, I would pick up in a heartbeat, even if it hadn’t been recommended to me. Thank goodness for ereaders and friends who make good book recommendations… 

Recommended, especially for folks like me who have tried steampunk and not had it work for them (but read up on the series on the author’s website). I did try reading the first book in this series, however, but I had a huge issue with what I perceived as a rapey element to the novel and I could not get past that (Laura had the same issue). 

Verdict: Highly Recommended

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