Katie(babs)'s Reviews > Heart of Steel

Heart of Steel by Meljean Brook
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's review
Oct 31, 2011

really liked it
Read from October 11 to 31, 2011

Heart of Steel by Meljean Brook is book two in her fabulous Iron Seas series. Last year, The Iron Duke ended up being my favorite book of the year. Heart of Steel is very different from The Iron Duke. The world is the same but the roles are reversed, plus the Steampunk elements are not so obvious. Here, the heroine is the alpha while the hero is a perfect example of what a beta should be. Whereas The Iron Duke was heavier on the sexual aspect regarding the main characters, in Heart of Steel it’s very restrained. It brings to mind those Victorian values where sex wasn’t mentioned and kept behind closed doors. Captain Yasmeen Corsair and Archimedes Fox are perfect examples of this. They embrace these values of the time, especially in the way Fox courts Yasmeen and how she keeps him at arms’ length.

While Heart of Steel has this subtle underlying sexual push and pull between Yasmeen and Fox that should please readers, the action that occurs and world building is first and foremost. Heart of Steel reminds me of an Indiana Jones movie (with a dash of the Da Vinci Code). I expected Yasmeen to don a fedora and carry a whip at one point. This is quite the rousing adventure tale where zombies are put to good use.

Fox was first introduced in The Iron Duke. Fox is an adventurer and an author of bizarre and fantastical tales. His and Yasmeen’s first introduction doesn’t go well, so much so that she throws him overboard her ship into zombie infested lands. Zombies have taken over certain parts of the world thanks to the evil Horde that imprisoned Europe and other countries through mind control and other devious means for hundreds of years. Fox survives but doesn’t want revenge against Yasmeen. He wants her respect and most importantly her love because he plans to fall in love with her. Fox, as you can see is a strange sort of fellow.

Yasmeen loves her life as the captain of her airship, Lady Corsair. She feels some guilt by what she did to Fox, although we find out she dropped him overboard in a specific spot where he could escape being eaten by zombies if he’s smart enough. But then again, she hasn’t seen or heard from him, so she assumes he’s dead. She’s in for a big surprise because Fox is alive. He drugs her with the intent to get back a Da Vinci sketch she has of his. He also tells her his plans to fall into love with her. Yasmeen is humored by Fox and she tries to cajole him into becoming partners and sell the sketch. Fox isn’t falling for that and leaves her. Unfortunately someone sets fire to her beloved ship and it goes down and Yasmeen is lost. Fox thinks Yasmeen is dead, but just like him, she rises from her watery grave, so to speak, and the game is on between them.

Yasmeen and Fox do join forces because she wants to find out who marked her for death and try to find the Da Vinci (Or I think that’s what happens because at one point I grew confused on what exactly these two are looking for) she thinks was the cause of her being attacked. As Yasmeen and Fox travel through distant lands, they not only have to stay away from zombies, but dangerous mercenaries who would be happy if they were both out of the picture. Plus Fox will do whatever he can to make Yasmeen fall in love with him because he refuses to allow her certain liberties with his body, even kissing.

Let me get this out of the way first and say at times Heart of Steel at times was confusing. My biggest issue was trying to figure out what Fox and Yasmeen were searching for and why it was so important to them to find it. What I do know is that this enables them to get to know one another and be in close quarters together, which leads to some interesting situations between the two (The scene where Yasmeen bathes Fox is “steamy”). Yasmeen and Fox are complete opposites. If you’re a fan of this trope, you’ll love Heart of Steel. Yasmeen is a salt of the earth type of person. Fox is a fop who enjoys nice clothes and comfort. He gives this up for Yasmeen who he’s so enamored with. As I read, I kept asking myself, why does Fox have such a bad crush on her? Is it because Fox is a dreamer and he sees Yasmeen as larger than life? I found his admiration and this idea that he must fall in love with her not layered enough. He has this immaturity and a false sense when it comes to his true feelings for Yasmeen. Eventually this does evolve in a believable way thanks to Yasmeen who knows Fox needs to man up and take the time to reflect more on why he wants her before they can have any sort of long lasting relationship. Yasmeen is more than willing to have sex with Fox, but he puts the brakes on that because he wants her heart to be involved and not just relief sex can give a person.

The romance here is more of an afterthought even with Fox’s mindset regarding Yasmeen. I was hoping for more love scenes between the two. Some may be disappointed in this aspect, but by not having Fox and Yasmeen constantly lusting for one another and acting on these desires every which way, it allows us to see the incredible world Meljean has created.

This world building and intricate dialogue is where Heart of Steel excels. The romance not so much, but Fox and Yasmeen make it work between them, especially with their banter. And how can I not enjoy a character like Yasmeen, who tells Fox she’ll bare her ass for his lips later when he says he wants to kiss her?

Heart of Steel raises the bar for me, just like The Iron Duke did. It all comes down to the writing. When I read a Meljean Brook novel, I can’t help but compare other books and shake my head because the majority of what I’ve read is nowhere near the level of excellence of a Meljean Brook book.
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by orannia (new)

orannia MUST read the first book! It's on my TBR list :)

Anna (Bobs Her Hair) Is Scarsdale getting a story?

message 3: by Melindeeloo (last edited Nov 03, 2011 06:52PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Melindeeloo I saw on Brooks' blog that there are supposed to be two more Iron Seas novellas one for Scarsdale and another for Mina and Rhys

Anna (Bobs Her Hair) @Melindeeloo...Thanks! More Mina and Rhys = Yay! Excited! :o)

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