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Heart of Iron

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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?

467 pages, Hardcover

First published February 27, 2018

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About the author

Ashley Poston

19 books5,751 followers
Ashley Poston’s is a part-time author and full-time fangirl. She was born in rural South Carolina, where you can see the stars impossibly well...

Tweet her at @ashposton and read her inner-most rambles at www.ashposton.com.

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Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,398 reviews9,516 followers
July 28, 2019
UPDATE: $1.99 Kindle US today 7/28/19

Owlcrate!! OMG! Look at the purple stained edges! Follow link below picture for unboxing!

The Goods

Cancer be damned, I'm writing a review!! Then of course I really need to stop for a bit.

Far above the crown of stars,
there lay a kingdom cast in shadows
until a daughter born of light
drove the night away.
And so the Great Dark waited
a thousand turns around the sun
and promised on its heart of iron
to once again return.
-"Origin of the Moon Goddess,"
The Cantos of Light

I loved this book so very much!

There are 4 POV's in this book: Ana, DO9, Robb & Jax

I loved these characters so very much too! I knew I would just from the summary of the book.

Robb is a royal who ends up with Ana, DO9, Jax & and their crew. Well I should say the captain's crew (who is a woman btw) I love that crew too. Yes, some die in unfortunate encounters with jerk holes and robots and what not.

Ana, DO9 and Robb are after the same thing. Get to this ship and to look for things they all need. Jax is helping Ana and DO9 even though they all get hell when the captain finds out. Supposedly there is nothing but fear about this lost ship.

Anyhoo, they all get there and yes, all hell breaks loose. Sigh.... Then most of them get dragged back to the Space Station by Robb's evil mother and more hell breaks loose and revelations people. I love when the ole revelations come out!

But that ending! No! I'm hoping some good things will happen in the next book. And now I wonder why I read books before the trilogies or series are even finished because I always want to know what comes next RIGHT NOW! Makes me wonder. And hopefully I will beat this cancer and read more books that are going to drive me nuts because I won't wait until the series is finished!

Once again I loved the book and I love love love love love love my purple stained pages from Owlcrate! Thank you!

Happy Reading!

Mel ♥

MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List

Profile Image for Elle (ellexamines).
1,083 reviews17.3k followers
October 18, 2019
Yes, this IS a basically positive rating from me. Heart of Iron is basically Anastasia, in space, with lots of extra plotlines. And full disclosure: it’s basically entertaining fluff. But, you know, good entertaining fluff. With messy bits.

[This took me a weird amount of time to finish considering how much I liked reading it?]

This book follows a world in which the imperial families rule over everyone. In this world, robots were created to treat those infected with plague, but after a rebellion, most robots have had their minds erased and controlled. There are four lead characters, each with their own point of view.
➽Ana - our Anastasia character, sort of reckless and honestly… has a weaker sarcasm game than original Anastasia. But she’s also pretty badass. And also brown-skinned!
➽D09 - our Dimitri character and also a robot, which is… kind of awesome. But also totally could have been handled better. We’ll talk.
➽Robb - a spoiled Ironblood boy trying to escape his mother. A very lazy tragic backstory but a lot of potential for Character DevelopmentTM. Probably the most sympathetic character in this whole book.
➽Jax - probably the character that needed to be in this book the least in terms of actual plot and I’m mad about it. Buuuuut he was really funny and good. Give him his own subplots. Or explain what the hell is going on with his people being able to read the stars, because I swear to god it is never explained.

→ let’s discuss why this was kind of trashy ←

The beginning of this book was, for lack of a better word, weird, and I think I know what the problem was. First of all, the worldbuilding, which is that flavor of let’s-just-throw-worldbuilding-at-them-and-hope-they-don’t-notice-it’s-bullshit. [I noticed.] I think Poston wanted to avoid an infodump, which is a noble goal, but the result is that I actually don’t have a fucking clue what’s happening. I prefer infodumps. [I actually am not joking about this, I totally prefer infodumps to bullshit.]

Second and perhaps most typical, we have the famous Zenith problem: too many pov switches. You know what the problem is with too many pov switches? It feels messy, first of all. The book feels as if it’s jumping from place to place at breakneck speed. And worse, it impedes the actual feeling of connection with the characters. I somehow managed to like the characters anyway, but listen, I could have liked them more and Ashley Poston knows it.

Another kind of messy thing: rapidly changing goals. This book is fucking all over the place. It does not have an overarching plot. This leads to a very fast pace and a sense of not knowing what will happen, which is good. This also leads to several issues that destroy Heart of Iron’s overall quality. There is so much filler as characters wait around to be useful for the plot. This is a subset of the rapidly changing goals and all-over-the-place plot.

This is made even worse by obvious villain reveals. Listen, anyone who has seen the widely popular movie Anastasia or knows Literally Anything About Anastasia knows perfectly well that Dude Whose Name Sounds Like Rasputin is a villain. And even worse, you could know that from page two without any knowledge of Anastasia or basic Romanov history. It is just that fucking obvious. We do not care. Skip to the end.

AND THEN there is that stupid trope with Di developing feelings because he Meets A GirlTM. Listen. This trope is getting so old. We get it, robots falling in love and developing feelings is something you like, but it’s sort of boring when the falling-in-love part is the main part of that storyline. You could, I don’t know, show friendship or shit like that and do something new for once. [Revolutionary concept, right?] Personally, I think this would have been way better if Di felt things from the beginning and we just couldn’t see it. Can you imagine the amazing buildup? The tension?

→ let’s discuss why this was actually fun ←

I know I’ve complained a lot, but it’s worth noting that I did enjoy this. Even when plot twists were obvious, I found myself turning pages pretty quickly and enjoying the buildup to said plot twists. And wanting to find out what happened with these characters. Maybe there’s something to be said for being so fast-paced the reader doesn’t notice the crap?

Honestly, the main reason I liked this book was because I got fairly invested these characters and their relationships. The dynamic between Ana and Di didn’t do anything for me at the beginning of the book, but I ended up shipping them a lot - their dynamic is just inherently compelling in its broad concept, okay? [Also, fun fact, I just sort of am obsessed with the idea of touching foreheads.] Ana, as a character, is somehow really lovable despite being kind of whiny. And Robb and Jax have some major instalove, but they’re really cute. I admit it. Bottom line: if you like the book you will like it for the characters.

Really major bonus points for Going There with the ending. I'm actually kind of shocked at how Not Okay I was with that.

BONUS ROUND OF POSITIVES: Found family. Space pirate ship run by Ana's adoptive mom and her wife. [I think her wife might be an alien.] Literally half the characters are queer and/or people of color. This review was a mess. Thank you for listening.

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✨fun fact: I don't even like the movie version of Anastasia. however I personally feel that the broadway musical is brilliant and one of my favorite musicals ever and should 20/10 be listened to asap. [what are your favorite tracks?? I'm sort of obsessed with In a Crowd of Thousands, Land of Yesterday, and Still / The Neva Flows.]
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,156 reviews97.8k followers
March 31, 2018
ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

“Ana had never believed much in the Goddess. She only knew the origin story, as sweet as a bedtime lullaby. How, in a kingdom of shadows, the queen bore a daughter of light who chased the Dark away.”

Heart of Iron had all the potential in the world to be my new favorite book. Basically, it’s a new and unique Anastasia retelling but set in space with a crew of outlaws who end up entwined in secrets and mysteries! We follow four points of view:

Ana - Our true main character, who is on a mission to find a new robot body for D09. Also, she's a PoC!
D09 - A Robot who is in desperate need of a new memory core and keeps malfunctioning.
Robb - The next biggest character, whose brother is going to be Emperor, but he is too busy searching for his father that was pronounced dead seven years ago. Robb is also a PoC and queer!
Jax - The pilot of the crew he and Ana travel with. He is a different race than human, and his ancestors had the power to see the future in the stars. And he is also queer! Jax is EASILY my favorite character in this entire book.

Ana and Robb’s paths cross, because they are both after the same coordinates. Robb wants them in hopes of finding out what happened to his father seven years ago, when a rebellion happened that set fire to the royal family and left them all for dead, even though they never found the body of the young princess. Ana wants them in hopes of finding a new body for D09, the robot she is in love with, even though he can’t process or feel feelings, and she will jeopardize her crew’s other missions to try, because it is almost impossible for Ana to find a new body or parts.

Robots in this world were created to treat the infected people of a plague twenty years ago, but as I stated above, seven years ago a rebellion happened and now the only robots that people trust are the ones that are “hived” or mind controlled as the Iron Kingdom army, and they are called Messiers.

Meanwhile, back in Nevaeh, where many of the other royal families reside, Robb’s brother, Erik, is about to be anointed Emperor. The crown is said to be made of the Goddess’ heart, and only the worthy can wear it without it immediately rusting. And by worthy, I mean only the Armorov bloodline can, but they all died in the fire seven years ago.

“All stories are built from the bones of something true. You are the daughter of iron and stars. You are the symbol of hope in a time when light only shines from things that burn.”

If you guys have seen Anastasia before, you probably can guess how this plays out. But overall, I do think the story is pretty good. Also, there are some 5/5 twists at the end of this book. Sadly, the four points of view switch constantly, with very little pages or substance per chapter, and it made for such a disjointed read. I’m not sure if this is just the new trend with YA Sci-Fi, but I felt the very same when I read Zenith. It completely ruined the reading experience for me, and I had such a hard time connecting to the characters and to their relationships.

Ana and D09’s relationship was just too much for me in the first half. I didn’t enjoy it at all, and it had nothing to do with him being a robot, it was that he was a robot that didn’t feel things. I would have so much preferred them to just have a friendship. I’m not entirely sure, I just really wasn’t feeling their love story from the start, but I do have high hopes if we do get another book in this world!

Robb and Jax’s sexuality is never stated on page, but they are for sure queer. They are probably both gay, but my pansexual self never wants to erase any sexuality. But I loved these character’s representation and their story lines were for sure the strongest in the entire book. Oh, and their banter and jokes with each other was so freakin’ pure and wonderful. And, I’ll be over here melting into a puddle on the ground and swooning forever, bye.

I will say that there was a somewhat triggering comment made in passing about how Robb was in a relationship with a boy that ended up killing himself, yet it wasn’t very clear. Regardless it made me a little uncomfortable, and I think it’s important to note and use caution going in. Trigger/Content warnings for mention of suicide, abuse, and death.

As for more sexual representation, the captain of the ship, Ana’s adoptive mother, is a lesbian and married to another woman. Like, this book brings the sexual representation, and I’m living for it. And two main characters of color was also such a blessing.

This book does have a major theme spotlighting the importance of found families, and for that I am so very thankful. This book helps solidify that blood is just blood, but people who unconditionally love and accept you will always be family. I did love this constant theme and the many mentions, and for that I was so happy and grateful.

Overall, this is a super fast paced story, that is very easy to get through. And even though I didn’t love it, and maybe even felt a little disappointment, because I had such high hopes, I still enjoyed it. Also, there is a lot of good in this book, that I’m very thankful for. Also, Ashley Poston seems like such a sweetheart, and after reading this and Geekerella, I will continue to read everything else she writes! Which will hopefully be a sequel to this, because this ending is cruel, and I need answers!

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The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

This was in the March 2018 OwlCrate box!
Profile Image for destiny ♡ howling libraries.
1,621 reviews5,059 followers
October 9, 2019
When I heard this retelling of Anastasia was releasing, it immediately piqued my interest – even more so, once I heard there was a human/robot love story, because, uh, what?! – so I was incredibly excited to check this one out. There are some fun, unique ideas at play here (which is crucial for a retelling!), but unfortunately, there’s also quite a bit to unpack. I found myself trudging through this book and almost DNFed it several times, but I ultimately decided to finish it so that I could review it properly.

“To those who set sail into the night, may the stars keep them steady…”
“And the iron keep them safe.”

→ world-building & story-telling ←
What could’ve been this book’s greatest strength ended up being its biggest flaw: while the writing itself isn’t bad, it feels inexperienced, and the world-building leaves a lot to be desired. There are so many fantastically cool ideas thrown into play, such as a character who can see a person’s fate if he touches them – but we’re constantly left wondering why his people used to see fates, why they can no longer use their powers, why he is the last of them, and so on. We’re given a thread, with nowhere to follow it to.

It was more than a promise – it was an oath. Unbreakable. Strong like iron and steady like stars.

Likewise, there’s a running theme throughout the book in which people swear “on iron and stars”, and this is described as some sort of unbreakable vow, but we never learn why it is so important, what magic surrounds this particular phrase to enforce it, or what would happen to a person who broke their vow. Despite it being such an important notion, it is tossed around constantly and very quickly loses any form of impact.

Finally, my two biggest complaints about the writing:

1) There are too many different perspectives to cycle through. There are four narrators in this story, and it is not executed well.

2) There is a lot of senseless death in this book. It’s not a matter of violent content – this book isn’t one I’d consider particularly brutal – but it’s a matter of the fact that most of the deaths were rash, sudden, and pointless. By the end, it felt like they were being written in for shock value, which quickly becomes cheap.

No. He did not want. Could not want. But he did. He wanted so badly to exist a little longer beside her.

→ Ana & Di ←
Two of our main characters are the infamous human/robot duo I mentioned: Ana, the human girl, and D09 or Di, the robot. I know the entire idea of this coupling feels really gross to a lot of people I’ve spoken to about this book, and I can see why, but for me, personally, it was the most interesting aspect of the story. From the start, Di is capable of more sentient thought and emotion than any of the other Metals (robots) in their world, and he only grows more and more human-like as the story progresses. My favorite part of the entire story, by far, was watching him learn how to cope with human emotions and desires.

(Side note here: he also has a sidekick in the form of a little bot named EOS, who Di affectionately calls his can opener, and this little bot is somehow the best part of the entire book. He’s precious.)

Her heart beat, and his wires hummed, and they were Ana and Di – and there were no words for that.

Ana, on the other hand, is a far less interesting narrator. It’s not that she’s bad, problematic, offensive, or unlikeable… she’s just boring. There’s nothing complex to her and she is never really fleshed out. She’s self-contradicting – especially in the ending, to an infuriating degree – and never feels like a narrator. Despite it being her story, she never held the spotlight.

If he believed in the Moon Goddess, he’d be praying right now. He’d be praying really, really hard. And he’d be praying something like, Merciful Goddess, if you exist, please hand my ass to me some other day. I don’t want to die. I haven’t kissed Jax yet.

→ Robb ←
When it comes to the main narrators and their respective levels of interesting, complex personalities, Robb is, sadly, not far above Ana on my list. Again, there’s nothing to dislike about him, but there’s nothing to like, either. He has the potential for an incredibly sad, intriguing back story with his search for his missing/presumed dead father, and his over-bearing and abusive mother, or even his terrifying big brother… but it felt like we were only ever allowed to skim the surface of any of these intriguing things. Robb’s character is the main aspect that makes me think, had this book been limited to one, or even two narrators, it would’ve been so much better, because with the constant switching, we just didn’t really get to know anyone very well.

All fates in the universe connected in a river, and that river flowed only one way.

→ Jax ←
Finally, what seems to be the fan favorite of the narrators: Jax, the Solani pilot with stars in his veins. Jax was a major redeeming quality in this book for me, until we reached a point where we got to spend very little time with him, and the time we did get to spend with him was mostly used up on repetitive mooning over another character. While the romance Jax finds himself in is cute, it’s also fairly insta-lovey, which put a damper on the entire couple for me. That said, Jax is a really fun and enjoyable character, and if I had to pick any one character who I would’ve liked to have read this entire story through the singular perspective of, it would be a toss-up between D09/Di and this guy.

“I’ll always come back for you,” she whispered, reaching up on her tiptoes to press her forehead against his cool metal one. “I promise you on iron and stars.”

→ diversity ←
There is one positive note that I can’t finish this review without touching on, and that’s the diverse cast of characters we get to meet throughout the story. Not only is there a main gay couple, there’s also a lesbian side couple (and they are fantastic – could we please have seen more of them?!). Multiple characters are described as being people of color, and there’s even some disability rep! All of my issues with the story itself pushed aside, I genuinely appreciate how normalized Ashley Poston made all of these diverse characters feel in the context of their world.

“Because I will follow you anywhere,” he insisted. “To the ends of the galaxy, if I have to. I want to exist where you exist, and that is enough.”

→ final thoughts ←
At the end of the day, I really wanted to enjoy this book, but I had to look at it honestly and admit that it was a 2-star read for me. I considered rounding up to 3 for the sake of the diverse rep, but the fact that it took me over a month to trudge through what should’ve been a really quick read made it impossible for me to justify upping my rating. If you enjoy sci-fi and Anastasia retellings, or normalized diverse rep in the YA SF/F field, I would say to pick this up and give it a try. As for me, I do own a copy of another of Ashley’s books, but I don’t think I’ll be rushing to pick it up.

I have no idea if this book is a series starter or a standalone, as it totally feels like a series starter but, at the time that I’m writing this review, I haven’t heard anything about it continuing as a series. I personally absolutely hated the cliffhanger ending of this book, and will not be picking up any sequels.

All quotes are taken from an ARC and may not match the finished publication. Thank you to Balzer + Bray for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review!

You can find this review and more on my blog, or you can follow me on twitter, bookstagram, or facebook!
August 23, 2020
Holy steampunk!

➳A scarred in more than one way spaceteam.
➳➳A girl in love with her trusty Metal.
➳➳➳A harder-than-Ironblood kingdom space captain.
➳➳➳➳An Ironblood cult.
➳➳➳➳➳A princess of light, lost and found.
➳➳➳➳➳➳A prince of nothing, 'Of things forgotten. Of a people who couldn’t feel the stars anymore. Of a people who treated the one who could as a weapon.'
➳➳➳➳➳➳➳And some very F-F, M-M couples... Cheesy? Yes! But in a very good way.

May the stars keep us steady, and the iron keep us safe (c)
At the end of the hall was another set of double doors as big as the ones at the entrance. These were carved with moons and stars, the motto of the Iron Kingdom in gold across its length.
Dvarek et su Lait.
In Darkness We Shine. (c)
... they’re unpredictable.”
So were humans, Solani, and Cercians, but the kingdom didn’t try to control their minds. (c)
... the most prestigious Ironblood private school, the Academy of Iron and Light (c)
As a Solani, Jax prided himself in knowing two things: how to fly absolutely anything, and how to stay out of trouble. The first was a breeze. He had a knack for flying, and when he closed his eyes he could feel the stars orbit around him no matter where he was, so he could never get lost. (c)
the tone in her voice making his stomach twist like it did when he stared at the stars for too long.
He never liked that tone. It usually ended with them trapped in a mine on Cerces, or caught in the middle of a territory war between mercenaries. She wore trouble like royalty wore the Iron Crown, and it fit her a little too well. (c)
Goddess bright, bless my stars and keep me steady. (c)
“I’ll always come back for you,” she whispered, reaching up on her tiptoes to press her forehead against his cool metal one. “I promise you on iron and stars.” (c)
Metals didn’t have emotions, so how could she love something that would never—could never—feel the same? She often told herself, when her heart fluttered or her cheeks burned, that she didn’t love him. (c)
I’ll always come back for you. I promise you on iron and stars.
It was more than a promise—it was an oath. Unbreakable. Strong like iron and steady like stars. (c)
... Toriean el agh Lothorne”—their family’s motto, carved into every crest and every insignia with their name—“Glory in the Pursuit. Understand that. Be the man your father couldn’t, or you will ruin us all. (c)
Erik was good at wearing masks—he’d tricked the entire Ironblood society with an amiable smile and a few choice words, so that even the knuckle rings he wore looked polite. (c)
She looked old, but in a terrifying and timeless way, the way mountains looked old but immovable. (c)
It is an unspeakable tragedy to lose the light in our lives. (c)
He was to be their new Emperor? He didn’t embody any of those traits, unless the Grand Duchess wanted a resiliently strong asshole. (c)
Goddess, this day was spacetrash. (c)
“I’m sure they’d follow you to the ends of the stars,” the woman replied wryly, “but that doesn’t mean you take them there.” (c)
I think love is a powerful thing, Jaxander, and it sometimes makes us blind. (c)
But the way she pressed her forehead against his, and opened her golden-brown eyes, and looked into his as though he was the sun her life orbited around, stopped him from ever saying as much. (c)
“Who’s piloting the ship?”
Jerking straight, he gave a gasp. “I’m the pilot?” (c)
I’m prisoner on a ship going to where I need to go, Robb realized. How lucky was that? (c)
He listened, and that made him a talented communications specialist. He absorbed languages like a sponge, so many that Ana could only hope to wrap her tongue around a quarter of them. (c)
May the stars keep you steady and the iron keep you safe. (c)
He used to love looking at the stars, but he couldn’t remember the last time he had. (c)
Jax raised his eyes to Robb’s. They were more red than violet—like a dying star—and Robb felt as if the Solani was telling him a secret in that stare, one that his mouth could not form words to. (c)
“You are more than the sum of your parts, D09, and I’m going to save you,” (с)
“Remind me to kick your ass the next time I see you.”“A kiss’ll do.” (c)
“My girl”—the Ironblood woman shook her head—“we are not pirates. We don’t follow rules.” (с)
She wanted to die fighting. On a ship. Surrounded by nothing but light and space and sky. (с)
Where was the justice in that?
The thought broke something inside her, something so deep it reverberated through her soul. Where was justice at all? Where had it ever been? (c)
She would not be silent. It was not a virtue she’d learned from Siege. (c)
But Ana had never seen the Goddess in all the seven years she’d flown across the kingdom. Not in the sky, or in the worlds, or in the stars—she’d never seen the Goddess anywhere.
If she was the girl of light, then there was no Goddess.
But what if you were looking in the wrong places? a voice in the back of her head asked. (c)
This was the end, and she wished it weren’t here. She wished it were somewhere in the stars, beside her best friend. She just wanted to see him one more time. Being near Di had filled her with so much light and goodness that every moment without him felt like suffocating in space. He was gone, and there was no rescuing him. There was no way back. (c)
Goddess bright, let me see Di again, she prayed for the first time in her life, and pulled one hand away. (c)
But then one of the servants in the entryway fell to his knees, then the Royal Guard, then Robb, like dominoes tipping over. The Iron Adviser lowered himself to the floor and pressed his face to it, and the Messiers bowed with him.
And finally, the Grand Duchess stood from her twisted throne, and bent as low as her old age would let her, until Ana was the only one left standing. (с)
History. His history. Moments. Seconds. Days. Years. They took shape, every missed opportunity and fractured mo-ment and borrowed minute. The anythings, the somethings, the everythings, so vast and so full and it—it was over-whelming. (c)
Everything hurt like despair hurt, an ache so deep in his chest, it felt like a hole at the center of the cosmos. Like hope hurt, too, rising, suffocating, a tingling in the back of his throat. Everything hurt like laughter hurt, all over his sides and abdomen. Like anger hurt, nails buried into his palms. Like happiness, rushing across his fiber optics like fizzy soda. Like heartache.
Like love.
Remorse. (c)
Something curious, and something rare. (c)
And like a sunrise, he remembered Ana. (c)
All fates in the universe connected in a river, and that river flowed only one way. (c)
The glimpses of Robb’s stars were supposed to be beacons to be followed, not stories to be changed. (с)
She was the Goddess—she wasn’t allowed to have a childhood. (c)
“All stories are built from the bones of something true. You are the daughter of iron and stars. You are the symbol of hope in a time when light only shines from things that burn.” (c)
Jax watched him go, the sound of the unbreakable vow ringing in his head, sweet and strong, like a gold chain woven through strings of glass. (c)
We are a kingdom of many, after all. We are of different planets and different beliefs, but we will all be stronger with an army under the Goddess. (c)
“I will always come back to you.” ...
“You went because you always go,” she argued, “and I always lead you into trouble.”“Because I will follow you anywhere,” he insisted. “To the ends of the galaxy, if I have to. I want to exist where you exist, and that is enough.” (с)
The kiss lit a million suns in between his zeroes and ones, and made him infinite. (c)
So she memorized how the light from the windows slanted across the sharp edges of his face, the way he leaned toward her like a shield, how there were a thousand stars in his eyes, which sometimes made them shine as silver as moonlight—as they did now. (c)
“The Solani have a saying,” he said, his voice soft. “Al gat ha astri ke’eto. It means something like ‘Until the next star shines on you’—until we meet again. So, Al gat ha astri ke’eto, ma’alor.” (c)
Goddess, give us new stars, he prayed as the skysailer lifted into the starry night, and out into the darkness of space, watching Robb’s shadow grow smaller and smaller until it was nothing at all.Or give us the power to change ours. (c)
“Our family’s motto is Glory in the Pursuit—the pursuit of honor, of family, of love. It isn’t pursuit of your own glory. It never was. My father taught me that.” (c)
“Then if he is not a true Valerio, neither am I.”
He waited for a moment as the wind carried his words through the rosebushes and willow trees, picking the dying petals of the moonlillies into the air. (c)
“I will find you if you leave.”
“Then I will just escape again, and again, until you grow tired of finding me.” (c)
But to be honest, when he looked out of the starshield at the millions upon millions of lights, swirling in their nebulae of purples and blues and greens, he couldn’t think of a better view. (c)
Ana’s heart swelled. She held tightly to Di’s memory core, a lifeline glowing with hope in the dark. Once, she had not known who she could be without Di, and once she couldn’t have fathomed the thought. But now she knew she carried Di with her ...
758 reviews2,353 followers
January 29, 2019
God, that was boring. I feel like I just sat in math class for forty five minutes, just staring at the board and not comprehending a thing.

So glad this is off my currently reading shelf. I had 70 pages left and I didn't even bother reading. Good riddance. 😔✊🏼
Profile Image for Samantha.
406 reviews16.7k followers
September 22, 2019
Fun, multiple POV story reminiscent of Cinder but for Anastasia instead.
Profile Image for Brittney ~ Reverie and Ink.
258 reviews4,858 followers
January 3, 2018
First of all, I gotta say... the writing style was SO FUN. The author knows how to insert maximum personality into every POV. I'm seriously impressed... her way of getting into deep POV felt so natural and fun.

I'm going to keep the rest of this review short. I was drawn in by the pitch - Anastasia in space! Like... why not? Anastasia is my fav childhood movie. That also means the bar was high. So, I liked the story, but I kept searching for Dimitri and never found him. Also, Ana was only one POV out of four. Kinda bummed about that. BUT there were lots of other fun new characters!

There really was lots to admire here - I loved the references to the Romanovs and how the whole Anastasia backstory was developed. I loved the new characters (Robb was my favorite because smol prince) as well as the sassy pirate. But I felt like I didn't connect as much to Anastasia and the "Dimitri" character was a metal robot boy. I mean, he was super sweet, but again - Dimitri from the cartoon was like... my fav... so I missed that whole hate-to-love romance (though there is a hate-to-love between another couple!)

Either way, everyone should totally check this out, even if its just to study how fun and pacey the writing was! The world was super fun too (I'm not normally into sci-fi but I loved how this was a bit of a sci-fi/fantasy blend!)

My Blog ~ Instagram ~ Twitter ~ Etsy
Profile Image for ✨    jami   ✨.
655 reviews3,850 followers
March 13, 2018

“Stalo ban ach van’en. Stars are not afraid.”

if I was marketing you this book I'd say it's Anastasia meets Treasure Planet and you know what? Those are two of my favourite animated movies. Despite that, I didn't actually go into this with many expectations (which helped) and I ended up really enjoying it. It was entertaining. but I also spent three hours being perpetually frustrated about all the wasted potential. WE COULD OF HAD IT ALL THIS COULD HAVE BEEN EVERYTHING. Lets break down:

🚀 the good 🚀

CHARACTERS: god, I loved the characters. So loveable, so easy to get on board with. You know when characters just win you over and your heart is immediately set on supporting them in everything they do no matter what? Yeah, that.

ANA is our main character and she's fun. She's feisty and funny and courageous and determined to help her best friend/crush D09, an AI, restore his broken memory chip so he ... doesn't suffer robot death. (basically). AND I LIKED HER. I liked she was smart and fairly nice and had good friendships with people around her.

D09 D09 is basically Dmitri, but he's an AI. WHICH WAS INTERESTING. I thought it was an awesome, spacey concept and something fresh. I really am getting into the human/AI romance thing. But he was also probably my least favourite character? I mean, he was okay. but hard to get a grasp on. And I found him so frustrating in the second half.

Jax MY FAVOURITE. MY SON. Jax is an alien with a secret and I just really liked him. He was funny and the 'banter' member of the group (I always fall for them) and I just really liked him. I hope his problems and history come more into book 2 then they did in book 1. Also, he was queer !

Robb the prince on the run. he was definitely interesting and I liked his friendship with Ana and romance with Jax. He just seemed like a Giant Good and I always love those characters. I also hope he's in book 2 more.

• ROMANCE: the romance was so cute ! I loved Jax/Robb, Ana/D09 and also the two women who were the captains whose names I can't remember but they're married (bless). Anyway, I actually really heckin shipped everyone. Robb and Jax had fun banter and also angst which is the two most important ship ingredients so I was sooo in for them.

• ENTERTAINING AF: Seriously! this book kept me turning the pages. It just had that something that makes it so you physically can not stop reading. And honestly I appreciate that. It made reading this so enjoyable and really is a big reason why I ultimately feel positively about this book despite The Issues

• PERSPECTIVE: This is 3rd person, multi POV and if you didn't know that happens to be my FAVOURITE perspective style. Like, actually ideal. And honestly I really liked it here. I think the rapidly changing pov made the pacing more faster and allowed for some nice reveals.

• The Gays and the Lesbeans: There is an m/m and f/f couple in this ! we are blessed ! I wish the f/f couple had a more prominent role though :( but the relationship between Robb and Jax was nicely done and I'm just glad for the LG representation

🚀 the bad 🚀

• Worldbuilding: just ... not great. it feels like the author just threw their hands in the air and went "ITS SPACE. THERE'S STARS AND SHIPS ENOUGH SAID" and it's NOT enough said. I need worldbuilding. Throwing in random references to stars and space ships is not enough. the worldbuilding was confusing and kinda .. boring? I'm sick of sci-fi worlds having the same basic set up as star wars. more creativity please. The lack of worldbuilding was just really noticeable and definitely hindered my enjoyment of the book. It also made so many things unclear: like why they always made references to iron and stars. Also, big plot points like the HIVE weren't properly explained so it was hard to grasp why it was relevant and what it all meant.

• Obvious Villains Listen, if anyone knows mildly anything about the story of Anastasia / The Romanovs you're gonna know who the villain is immediately. I get this is a retelling and there's only so much you can do but if you know the story you already know every plot twist. Which I kinda understand it's not the authors fault, but I also think it would have been cool if my expectations were subverted instead of ... followed through exactly.

🚀 the weird 🚀

References: there are SO many references to other media and I'm not sure if it's intentional or if they were meant to be references but I noticed. Examples: there is a planet called Iliad, the throne is literally called The Iron Throne (Game of thrones?) characters called Rhys, Wylan, Robb and Tobias (ACoTAR, Six of crows, Game of Thrones, divergent ??) Maybe it wasn't supposed to be a reference to any of these things but so many familiar names in a row kinda made me 👀

• Awkward Dialogue: there is a bit where a character says "did I stutter" which is obviously a meme. There is also so many references to "iron and stars". Eg, "he would miss her more than iron and stars" WHAT DOES THIS MEAN. I assume Iron has an importance to the society, or that the catchphrase means something since it's used a lot, but the lack of worldbuilding meant I don't know why its thrown in so goddamn often.


Like I said, I overall really enjoyed this. And I actually want book two like, right now. Because god, this series has POTENTIAL. I mean, I am in love with the characters. And now the Anastasia bit of the plot is done I'm excited to see what happens. If the worldbuilding was shaped up ... if we had more surprise. We could have a good ass series on our hands.

Because honestly, I actually had a lot of fun reading this. It was so entertaining and fun and just a good ol' romp through space. With some work it really could be great.

So definitely looking forward to book two, and honestly I would probably buy this book if I saw it in shops. A solid 3.5 star read. Sure, it had it's issues. But I had a lot of fun reading it and really ? the entertainment factor kinda weighs out the other mess
Profile Image for Angelica.
805 reviews1,062 followers
May 10, 2019
Guys, I think I have a problem. I've been trying to figure out how it is that I feel about this book and I haven't quite managed it. I definitely didn't love it, that's for certain. But, did I hate it? I don't think I did. Maybe I liked it? Not too much, obviously, but maybe a little? How much is a little? I don't know! Hopefully, by the time I finish the review, I would have figured it out.

So, here we go I guess.

The main problem I had with this book is one that actually happens a lot to me while reading. It usually goes like this: The first 25% is golden. I love it. The middle 50% bores me and I crawl through it. The last 25% is actually pretty good but not enough to make me forget my past boredom.

And that's exactly how this book went.

In spite of that, the story is actually very fast pace and never was there a dull moment, believe it or not. I just didn't really care for about half of the book. Perhaps it was the lack of mystery in this novel. This being an Anastasia retelling it's pretty obvious who Ana is and who tried to kill her. I suppose I can't fault the book too much for this. In the last part of the book as new questions were being raised, and new villains were coming to light it did get better though.

Another thing that kept me from fully enjoying this book all throughout was the characters. Don't get me wrong, I actually liked the characters. There are four POVs and they switch about frequently with none of them feeling as if they are dragging on, and all of them sound unique to their character.

We have Ana, a thief, and pirate who would do anything for Di, her AI best friend, and love interest. Yeah, that's right, love interest! And no, it's not as crazy or cringy as it sounds! We have Jax, a pilot with a secret. Lastly, we have Robb, the second born son of one of the wealthiest families in the Iron Kingdom. Together this unlikely crew decides to defy the stars and go on an adventure, pissing a lot of people off in the process and getting into a lot of trouble. But hey, it wouldn't be fun if they didn't.

So, why did I have a problem with this fun group of characters? Because they consistently made bad choices!

So many things could have been avoided (admittedly, the book would have also been shorter) if only the four main characters would've sat down and had a five-minute conversation with each other!

There were also a lot of conflicts that they ran into that could've been easily solved, but for the sake of plot and drama were forced to go on.

Communication is the solution to so many problems in YA novels and this is no exception.

Overall, this is by no means a book that I would consider as being bad. It is simply a book that I didn't enjoy, and recognize that it wasn't for me. If the plot seems like one that you would like, by all means, give the book a chance. For reference, I also tried reading the author's other book Geekerella, and only got through the first 100 pages because I couldn't get into it. Maybe her writing isn't for me. Maybe you all would have better luck with it.

Let me know below if you've read it, or are excited to read it! Or if you've read Geekerella? Are you a fan of the author's writing? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

**I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much, Balzer + Bray! All opinions are my own.**
Profile Image for Carrie.
3,085 reviews1,508 followers
October 12, 2018
Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston is the first book in the new young adult science fiction fantasy series by the same name. This series is said to be a retelling of Anastasia set in space but truth be told I’m not familiar with Anastasia so I can’t compare the two. It’s also compared to Six of Crows but that seems way off when you simply compare the pacing of the two as this one is extremely fast paced.

The story is told by changing the point of view between several characters in the series including Ana, Robb, Jax, and D09 with Ana being the main character and the story focusing around her. Seventeen year old Ana had been found by a space captain and crew with D09 protecting her as she had been injured and lost all of her memories and was drifting through space.

D09 is one of the last remaining metals, or AI, and he and Ana share a bond from their experience together. Now however D09 is glitching and Ana vows to do whatever it will take to save him even if that means going against the crew but as she tries to steal the coordinates to an abandoned ship that may have the answers someone beats her to it.

Heart of Iron is an extremely fast paced read that drops readers right into full blown space action right on the opening pages. As much as I love a fast paced read I’d dare say this one might of needed a tad bit of a slow down with having so many points of views to learn and an elaborate world to build. It seemed to jump from one point to another without taking a breathe and as weird as it sounds coming from me I think it would have benefited from a bit more depth to things between. Otherwise it’s an interesting start to this space opera that I would say is worth checking out with me giving this first book 3.5 stars.

For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.com/
Profile Image for Alyssa.
1,069 reviews837 followers
November 20, 2017
3.5 stars. Trying to decide if I want to round up or down. It was okay... slow start... maybe I just wasn't as invested as I'd hoped to be. I have no doubt others will love this book. I'm sad a YA sci-fi didn't totally impress me but at the same time, I'm not disappointed. I'll be looking out for book two!

***Review to come***
Profile Image for Stacee.
2,691 reviews702 followers
February 1, 2018
2.5 stars?

I don’t even know where to start. I wanted to love this so much and all I did was struggle.

I liked Ana. She’s feisty and goes after what she wants. Di was sort of adorable, but I think Jax was my favorite. There are a lot of characters in this story and I gave up trying to keep track.

Plot wise, it was sort of boring. It felt like nothing happened. There was some serious action and a bit of a surprise towards the end. Unfortunately, it felt like the build up was nonexistent and I did spend a good portion of time wondering if I should DNF. Perhaps it’s because I don’t know anything about Anastasia?

Overall, I honestly have no idea why I kept reading. The characters had promise and there was some excellent representation, but I wasn’t ever captivated by the story. I’m not sure if I’ll read more than the ending of the sequel .

**Huge thanks to Balzer + Bray for providing the arc free of charge**
Profile Image for Cait Jacobs (Caitsbooks).
301 reviews14.1k followers
November 5, 2020
I have been obsessed with Anastasia lately. I got tickets to see the Broadway show over a month ago, and actually the show the same day I started reading this book, which was an awesome coincidence. Clearly, the book gods planned this. Also, I had way to much fun with the Anastasia references in this review (and while reading).

To see my review on my blog, click here!
Overall: 4/5 Stars
Characters: 4/5
Setting: 4/5
Writing: 5/5
Plot and Themes: 4/5
Awesomeness Factor: 5/5
If you don’t feel like reading this long review, here is my review in a nutshell:

This book is an extremely fast-paced read, full of mystery, adventure, and action, all set in a fascinating sci-fi universe. But at the heart, this book is truly about home, love, family.

“I’ll always come back for you. I promise you on iron and stars.”
(anyone else singing In A Crowd Of Thousands after reading this quote? Just me? Okay...)

Heart of Iron follows four different characters and is a loose retelling of Anastasia. First, there is Ana, who was found as a child with no memories of her past and raised with a crew of outlaws. She was found with D09, also known as Di, a Metal who is suffering from severe glitches and may not be able to function for much longer. Then there are Jax and Robb. Jax is the pilot of the outlaw ship the Dossier, and Robb is an Ironblood, a royal mess, who is looking to see if his father survived the rebellion so many years ago. The same rebellion that killed the royal family including the young Ananke, who was thought to be the Goddess herself. When Robb and Ana collide while searching for the same coordinates, Ana has no choice but to journey to the past to discover things about her she would never have thought could be true.

Since this is a sci-fi story, there are a few different planets and species to understand, however, the setting was never really that big of an aspect of the book. While the locations the characters went to were explained well, there isn’t much explanation of the rest of the universe. This isn’t a bad thing, the focus is instead on the plot and characters, which I enjoyed. The writing style was descriptive and very fun to read, but despite the technology and science aspects, a lot of this book focused on court and politics. This does make sense since it’s based on Anastasia, which is a historical fiction with just a touch of fantasy.

The plot was extremely fast-paced, to the point where it did feel a little jarring jumping into it. There is constant action and not a slow moment in the book. However, this does lead to some of the relationships to feel a little rushed. After less than a hundred pages through the book, it starts to feel more natural, but it does take a second to adjust. This does make the book almost impossible to put down though because despite how much you know about Anastasia and think you know exactly what will happen, there is an abundance of unpredictable turns. While it is an Anastasia retelling, a lot of the story differs, which is really important for good retellings. No matter how badly I want a word for word YA book version of Anastasia, what Poston added and changed really makes it stand out. Less of this book revolves around the rumor and the legend, instead focusing more on the mystery of the rebellion and what truly happened that night.

The characters in this book are so fun to read about. While, as I mentioned before, some of their relationships feel a little rushed, these characters are still awesome, and I still adore the friendships and love stories that this book creates. There are plenty of diverse characters, and a gay relationship so that made me super happy. Ana and Di were adorable, and I was shipping them the whole time. Robb and Jax felt a little more rushed initially, but I don’t care, I still loved them. The rapid switching of point of views may not work for everyone, but I really enjoyed their different perspectives and found it added a lot of suspense (to the point of frustration, but I guess that's the point).I especially loved reading from Di’s point of view, I found it the most interesting, but this could also be because I just adored Di as a character. There were a lot of great side characters as well, and all of them were well developed. I swear, every single time there was a scene with Di and EOS I couldn’t help but smile. My only complaint with the side characters was that due to the fast plot, whenever a character died I felt like there was never enough time to really have it sink in, although I guess that would be the same for the characters, so it isn’t that much of a complaint.

Also, if anyone has read it and wants to talk to me about the ending, please do!!! I’m dying here. I don’t want to have to wait until summer 2019 for the sequel! Ashley Poston really pulled no punches with that ending and I both love and hate her for it.

Pros- Fun characters, interesting world, gripping and compelling plot
Cons- Relationships felt rushed, the pacing was almost too fast
Overall- 4/5 stars.
If you are looking for a fun, action-packed read with cute relationships and a fascinating mystery, Heart of Iron is the perfect book for you.

Now excuse me as I continue to freak out over the ending and begin my countdown until the sequel is released.

--- Original Post-Read Comments ---
I will write a full review soon, but I had to share how my music was out to get me while I was reading.
I put the Anastasia broadway soundtrack on shuffle for the entire time I read, and the songs that played during certain scenes killed me. For example:
(Note: there is a reason these are marked as spoilers. They are major spoilers. Don't look at it if you want to read this book)

And yeah all the other scenes didn't sync with the music, but these moments were so freaking perfect that I couldn’t believe it.
Profile Image for ambsreads.
656 reviews1,400 followers
April 13, 2018

I was so excited for Heart of Iron. The idea of an Anastasia retelling is what I need to get me through this world. Unfortunately, this book definitely had some execution problems. I’m not sure if it’s because it was intensely science fiction, and sci-fi isn’t typically a genre I enjoy or simply because the beginning of the story was so slow. I keep seeing this book also being compared to the Treasure Planet film but I don’t really remember that film, so I can’t comment there. What I do know is that this was nothing like the Anastasia movie.

Heart of Iron is about a girl named Ana and a robot (really didn’t understand this part) named Di. They were found years ago floating in an escape pod. The pair was taken on board a pirate spaceship. That’s really all I can say without giving too much away about the plot. It is a confusing jumbled mess in some cases but it really was enjoyable. Once the book picked up the action was almost non-stop and I was sitting on the edge of my seat trying to anticipate what was going to happen. Spoiler alert: I sucked at anticipating what was going to happen next. To be fair, I really thought this was a standalone too until I just looked at the Goodreads page. Oops.


The characters are what make Heart of Iron. They really do. This book is told from four different standpoints. Ana, Di (D09), Robb and Jax. They all have their own internal dilemmas that make each circumstance interesting. Their voices all have a different tone and it just, overall, makes the book so damn enjoyable.

There is some instant love between some characters and some awkward relationship that I really wasn’t feeling at first but I honestly fell in love with it. It was such a shock. I mean, this could be a whole point on its own but I feel like I can slip it into the characterization, right? Well, too bad, this is my review.

It’s not even the four main characters. Each side character has a level of depth to them that really makes them jump off the page for me. It is also always incredible to see an ensemble of characters where half are queer and/or people of colour. The representation felt very important throughout Heart of Iron.


Things Ashley Poston did? That.


The plot twists throughout Heart of Iron basically had me reaching for a glass of water so I could do a comedic spit take. I said earlier that I thought this book was a standalone, so if you’ve read this book imagine my shock at how it ended. Due to the ending, I will definitely be reading the second book because I need to know what happens to this found family.


I don’t know how else to put this. If you’re reading this book and debating DNF’ing. Don’t. Push through. I promise it is so worth it.


Not much to say on this point, there were fake curse words. I literally despise fake curse words in a text. I don’t know why. I just think saying the word fuck really isn’t as bad as people think it is. Though I’m a strong contender on the ‘they’re just words, now shut the fuck up dick face’ standpoint.


No, really, I’m not into space at all. One of my best friends is super into space and the whole thing. I can’t even say much about it because I have literally zoned out every time he has tried to speak about it to me. So, basically, while reading Heart of Iron I really struggled with some concepts. This is probably due to the fact that I don’t typically know as much as the average sci-fi lover picking up this book. I didn’t take any stars off for this though, this is on me and not the book.


This is 100% due to weak world building. Obviously, when you create a new world, and especially one that doesn’t exist on our planet, the world building needs to be strong. Heart of Iron failed in this element. I believe this is Ashley Poston’s first fantasy novel and that was really clear while reading. I don’t typically enjoy info-dumps in the text but I feel at some stages Heart of Iron could have really benefited from a massive info dump in places. Again, this could be something that is on me more so than the book but I don’t even understand the concept of Metals that well. Plus, there is a big lead up to a Great Dark coming and destroying everyone. The only problem is that it really doesn’t feel developed. It really feels as if Ashley Poston threw it in as a last minute thing. It really just doesn’t feel like it follows the storyline at all, which is unfortunate.

Not only that but at times it felt like we were expected to know things. Robb has a secret of something that happened at The Academy. It alludes to a lot but I don’t think it is every revealed what this particular thing is.

Overall, I really love Anastasia. Hell, I even named a cat after her. I think focusing on the story of Anastasia really took away from Heart of Iron for me. Looking back, it really wasn’t bad at all. I just put a lot of pressure on the book and my own expectations made the book fall short. I will be reading the second book but I’m not sure I will be pushing it to the top of my TBR when it releases. The potential is really there in this series and I hope it is highlighted in the sequel.

Profile Image for Irene ➰.
397 reviews76 followers
January 2, 2020
In Darkness we Shine

What a freaking amazing start of the year!!

So a few days ago I wanted to read out of nowhere an Anastasia retelling and I remembered I had this book sitting on my shelves since FOREVER.
I picked it up immediately and I LOVED every single second of it.

It’s so much more than an Anastasia retelling mixed with a touch of Cinder, there’s a whole new world to explore, new people to meet and new adventures to live. I loved how the “old story” was mixed with a brand new one.

The book was never boring, we have various POVs and the action is always there.

That���s how a fantasy sci-fi should always be written.
I’m starving for its sequel!
Profile Image for Julie Zantopoulos.
Author 3 books2,248 followers
February 2, 2019
I am lucky enough to own the beautiful Owlcrate edition of this book with the stunning purple sprayed pages and it's been on my shelves for forever and a day. Then, I saw that my library had the audiobook and I figured, meh, why not? Anastasia in space? Not really my thing and I don't get into sci-fi and I typically dislike retellings...but I went into with an open mind and was super impressed with how much I enjoyed it.

It's got small A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet vibes, like a space crew that is hella diverse in so many ways. A female captain married to a woman, a non-human oracle, more than one robot/AI, a human, people of color, people of differing sexualities and ages...like, it's all there. Also, like what would happen if Kady reciprocated Aiden's love? Like...all of that in a novel along with a retelling of a classic tale.

I didn't hate it, the pacing was fast, and the audiobook was really well done. I'm not mad about it, any of it. I am hoping that the sequel continues to up the stakes, cause they're already pretty high. I will for sure be checking that one out. Worst review of all time? Maybe, but like, if this book is sleeping on your shelf, maybe give it a go!
Profile Image for Dani ❤️ Perspective of a Writer.
1,512 reviews5 followers
March 1, 2018
Check out more reviews @ Perspective of a Writer...

"Anastasia in Space" has been thrown around to explain this book... Ana was found drifting through space as a child with Do9, a Metal or sentient robot. Fast forward and she's 17 years old and desperate to save her metal... when she runs into Robb, a spoiled Ironblood boy, a son of the high aristocracy. Now on the run with the coordinates to a lost ship and perhaps a whole lot more...

The short review...

I don't like Ana... She has this build up of secrets around her that get revealed fast and furiously (pretty obvious... Anastasia DUH!) but she reads as a spoiled brat. And unfortunately I never did come to relate or bond or sympathize or anything with her... EVER! BUT... Blessedly there are three other characters that I came to love. Do9 is the one I read for... he's a pretty cold fish in the beginning which was disappointing but I understand why story wise, and boy does he get totally good midway. His end was messed up and I wasn't really a fan of how he became a plot device, but at least it was compelling and I cared, bonded and related to him!! Do9 is why I didn't DNF the book...

Then we have Robb... I liked him way better than Ana but not by much... it was more a comparison thing... I did appreciate his background and how it fit with his character and who he became. I wanted him to find what he sought! And even though his romance with Jax is totally instalove you enjoy the tragedy and redemption of it. Jax is just a plain fun character that you fall for along with Ana's entire crew, including the rockin' Captain Siege! The villains are very stereotypical but layered so not a total loss. The plot left a lot to be desired... it was all over the place, and I only really cared about what happened in the past...

(See under my typewriter for my conclusion!)

Cover & Title grade -> A-

I have ZERO idea what that huge metal thing is on the cover but boy was I sucked in!! I totally wanted to read this book due to a combo of the cover design and the premise... Every once in a while I peer at the cover trying to figure out just what that is... I can see tiny ships zipping around... ?! I LOVE the purple coloring and the night sky / galaxy look. It intrigues in the best possible way! (Half mark taken for not being able to tell how that thing pertains to the story even after reading it...)

Why do I TOTALLY suggest you read this mess of a book?

-The mega diversity...
Ana is a person of color. Robb and Jax are gay. Robb is a person of color. Do9 is a robot that can't feel who is able to even develop sexual feelings. Captain Siege is married to Talle her wife! If you EVER want to see the biggest casting of diversity then you've got it in this book. And since the characters are the BEST PART OF THE BOOK... yeah it pretty much means the diversity works to add all sorts of flavor and depth (i.e. its part of why the characters are so great!)

-It's a fun retelling of Anastasia...
While the present plot isn't that scintillating (IT IS a story we know...) the fact its set as a space opera causes the backstory to make for some great motivations (GO METALS)! I was most compelled by the plot when these revelations were coming to light, but together as a whole, even with the parts that don't quite work or are stereotypical, it makes for quite a fun story! We aren't getting things EXACT with only the most minimal development... and I suspect book 2 will be better as the darkness reveals itself...

-The multiple POVs...
Some may see the POVs as a problem... that the switching between characters makes it hard to relate to any one character... I say nay... I had ZERO problem relating to Do9. I was compelled in the beginning and even when I found him cold I was still wanting to learn more about him. And later when the story took its natural course I was even more compelled. Ana may be the one the story swirls around but she doesn't have to be the one you read for... that is the beauty of multiple POVs!

As a Writer...

This is a rare 2.5 star book that I totally suggest YOU READ! It IS a mess... I think a factor is the author going from writing contemporaries with ZERO world building to a space opera with MEGA world building. She was smart and relies on her character development which is quite good!! But it didn't hide the problems with her inconsistent and random world building.

Another problem was the multiple POVs hid the fact that a couple of her characters flat didn't make sense. Their reactions to certain situations were wrong and if written as separate narratives would have revealed MEGA plot holes. The multiple POVs in this case actually HELP the narrative by hiding how the characters actions didn't add up. Its these inconsistencies that caused lack of connection with readers, not the multiple POVs.

Multiple POVs actually compound the work of the author with each POV that is added. When you have two POVs you have to make things work for A alone AND for A on B, then they have to work for B alone AND for B on A. That's essentially 4 developments that have to be worked out by only adding 1 more character! When you add 3 more characters the work is even greater. The book could have been DYNAMITE if a little more time was taken to smooth the characters so they ALL work and not only Do9 (for the most part).

YES, it would have made for a cleaner story to drop Robb and Jax as POV characters... but what a LOSS that would have been too!! This isn't the perfect book... but its fun, draws on your heart and reassures us the book world is answering the call for diversity! If you read for anything... read so the Metals' story will be heard... (AND so you can join the adventure to defeat the darkness further in the series...)

⋆ ⋆ ⭐⭐⭐ Authenticity
⋆ ⋆ ⭐⭐⭐ Writing Style
⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⭐⭐ Plot & Pacing
⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⭐⭐ World Building

BOTTOM LINE: A MUST READ despite the rating... you'll have fun with it!!

Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. It has not influenced my opinions.

You can find this review and many others on my book blog @ Perspective of a Writer. See my special perspective at the bottom of my reviews under the typewriter...
Profile Image for Sheila G.
506 reviews97 followers
February 27, 2018
See my FULL review of this book on my blog along with others at: shesgoingbookcrazy.com

All included quotes have been taken from an ARC and may not match the finished publication. I received a copy of this book via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

DNFing at 40%

Content Warning: Suicide, Violence, Class-Segregation, Abuse
Today, the Grand Duchess would choose her heir--and the thirtieth Emperor of the Iron Kingdom. So naturally, with everyone distracted, it was a good day for a heist.

I think I need to take a break from YA Sci-Fi for a bit. Heart of Iron felt like a loose combination of Zenith and Illuminae, (but replace the creepy zombie people with creepy red-eyed “metals” aka robots) and Star Wars. The main problem I had with this book was that I felt that there wasn’t really anything new. Besides the religious system developed, everything else seemed too typical (and predictable) for this genre.

The story is told from multiple character point-of-views, shifting between the main protagonist Ana, to D09 (a robot), to Robb, Erik, and then Jax which makes it difficult to follow who’s head we are in. All characters are from variable backgrounds when considering class, status, orientation, and race. Robb and Erik, both sons of the royal Ironblood family, stand at opposing ends from one-another. Tensions between their family, including their queen mother, are high. Ana, a girl-turned-thief that has no recollection of her past and is searching for a new core to fix her beloved glitching robot D09. Jax, a Solani pilot from an ancient race of beings has special abilities to predict others’ futures. Clearly, diversity is highly represented between the characters on multiple levels, which is refreshing. However, there is little distinction between the characters themselves when the point-of-view is shifted from one to another.

This section will contain SPOILERS.

There are a couple of aspects that I want to discuss that turned me away from this book. This does not go to say that another reader won’t like this book. I just wanted to give a more concise depiction of why I DNF’d this read.

#1 There is one particular romance that is budding from the beginning between Ann and D09. While some people may not mind the fact that a human is in love with a robot, that’s fine. For myself, this is downright weird and something I don’t care to read about.

#2 The fact that this is said to be an Anastasia retelling makes it perhaps too-revealing? In the first portion of the book, we learn that Ana has no recollection of her past. She was found in space in an escape pod with her robot. Then, there is talk of a missing female heir. So...if my conclusions are correct…she’s the one missing. This is speculation, as I didn’t finish the read. However, all arrows seem to be pointing in that direction.


Overall, the plot is set up to be overly-predictable. Up until almost half-way through the read, I didn’t feel any unique pull grounding me to the story, and I lost interest. I also didn’t care for some of the connections being made between the characters, and decided overall that this isn’t a read for me.

Vulgarity: I counted 45 words (including made-up cuss words) up until 40%.
Sexual content: Kissing only.
Violence: Moderate - there are several fighting scenes.

Since this is a DNF read, I will not be assigning a star-review.

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Profile Image for Sara (A Gingerly Review).
2,678 reviews155 followers
March 6, 2020
3/5/20: REREAD for Trash BAEs in Space.
3/5/20: just as spectacular as I remember


Yall aren't ready for this. The OTPs. The heart breaks. THE FEELS. YOU AREN'T READY!


Full review can be found here: https://agingerlyreview.wordpress.com...

Y’all…. this story. HOLY SMOKES. I’m not sure the world is ready for this powerhouse. Anastasia meets Firefly but I’m telling you – Poston nailed this one. She knocked it out of the park. This will leave you screaming and yet begging for more.

Short recap: Ana and her robot, D09, know no other life than being an outlaw on a scoundrel ship. They were picked up floating through space and have no memory of where they came from or who they really are. Ana wants nothing more than to save D09 by fixing the glitching of her illegal Metal. With the help of the space pirates that saved her, Ana embarks on a very dangerous quest to find a long lost spaceship that could hold the answer to saving her beloved best friend and companion. Nobody could have predicted the events she sets in motion by going after this infamous ship.

I’m still reeling from this story and I read it months ago. This was everything I wanted in a sci-fi space pirate story and more. There was action, adventure, lies, betrayal, humor, romance, and unforgettable characters. From the very beginning of the story, I was hooked. Ana and D09 were brilliantly written. Immediately I had a soft spot for their Anastasia-ish backstory. Ana had no memory of her life before being picked up and therefore only knew the life of being a part of a ruthless pirate ship. Her absolute devotion to D09 was heartbreaking. This girl would do absolutely everything for the metal boy she loved, and D09 had the same feelings. I never thought my heart would break so much for a metal being but it did. If that doesn’t give you an idea of how masterful Poston is with words, I don’t know what will. But rest assured that Ana and D09 are not the only characters that will steal your heart away… enter Jax and Robb. I am not going to give anything away with these two but just prepare yourself for these two. Jax is one of the last of his kind, someone that can read a person’s future by touching their skin… hence the reason he always wears gloves. Robb is royalty and quickly discovering that everything he knew about his life and the life of his family may not be what he was raised to believe it is. I cannot say enough about how much these characters found a place in my heart with their wonderful development and growth. Where they started out at is not where they ended up.

The pacing, plot, and world building blew me out of the water. It was so action packed and engaging that it was over before I wanted it to be. You want twists and turns that you never see coming? This book has it. This world Poston created was rich and diverse that I truly felt I was in the story with the characters. But that ending though… that ending had me screaming! I hope Poston is ready for people to love and hate her at the same time because it is going to happen.

This review has been a struggle for me to write because I adored this story so much. When I have such strong love for a story, I feel as if I fail at properly expressing my thoughts without giving spoilers away. What I am trying to say in my review is this: read this story. You want to read this story. It is set up perfectly for a sequel and there is no doubt Poston has to continue this story. When it is announced, I’ll be one of the first to preorder. I need more Ana and D09, Robb and Jax. I need these character like I need air.
Profile Image for Nicki Chapelway.
Author 24 books229 followers
July 19, 2018
DNF'ing about 30 pages in.

It started getting weird when I realized that the girl had a crush on her robot. The robot that has no emotional feelings, and cannot feel anything physically, who has also practically raised her.

I skimmed ahead and yup, this doesn't look like a book I want to finish.
Profile Image for kaylaaaaaaaaaa kaylaaaaaaaaaa.
Author 1 book112 followers
March 10, 2018
This book! Anastasia meets sci fi, I had to obviously love it. The books everything- Characters, Plot, Romance and Diversity were amazing and so well crafted.
I think this book could have been a standalone if changed a bit but hopefully the sequel is just as good.
Profile Image for Lilly (Lair Of Books).
332 reviews180 followers
February 25, 2018
***3.5 STARS*** RTC on Lair Of Books (link is in the Bio)

Full review can also be viewed on Lair Of Books

***3.5 stars***


Heart Of Iron immediately appealed to my love for all things Sci-Fi & the bio pitched a ragtag crew of outlaws that I just had to meet on the pages. I’m not familiar with the story of Anastasia but it’s now on my list of flicks to watch during one of my ME time days. That being said, I went in strictly for the space adventure, outlaws, and D09 cause whether he was a droid, robot, or A.I., this is my sweet addiction & it all started with a sassy android named Iko but I digress…

We meet Ana and D09 in the opening scene as they are about to get themselves into some trouble. She was warned by the captain of her ship not to deal with a shady info broker who fell through on their last deal. However, Ana is feeling desperate. D09’s memory core is glitching & time is running out, she figures why not try her luck since they’re out of options & need to find D09 a replacement. The info broker is meeting with a Iron Blood aka of the elite class to sell him the coordinates Ana & D09 are looking for. These coordinates lead to a ship where they believe they can find the solution to D09’s memory core glitch. Things of course don’t always go as planned & so begins the fast paced adventure between Ana, D09, and a Iron Blood who is also searching for answers…


Ana- Our MC is a bit of a loose cannon, she’s willing to take all the risks as long as it means saving D09 from permanently dying down due to his memory core glitch. I found Ana a bit frustrating, she wasn’t above putting her crew mates in jeopardy & it just made her look hella selfish.

D09- the android Ana loves, D09 cannot process feelings…he shouldn’t technically have them to begin with. We see him call these feelings he is having “glitches” & so the chemistry between him & Ana never really sets off until the very end.

Rob- The Iron Blood who happens to be a Royal, more specifically he is the youngest heir to the throne. Rob is searching for his father who he was told perished back in the rebellion led by Metals (this is what they call droids like D09). Rob is actually one of my fave characters in this book, the author ships him with Jax (see below) & I found his inner dialogue whenever Jax is around to be so endearing! ?

Jax- The pilot of the ship & another one of my faves! he is confident as hell & isn’t afraid to show it. Jax comes from a race of people who used to be able to read the future in the stars. He holds some secrets that make him all the more interesting. I would’ve loved to have had more time with this character…also his need to protect Rob is seriously swoon worthy!

Crew- I seriously NEED more of this crew! we have MC who is a POC, a gay pilot, a lesbian Captain & her wife, and a disabled crew member. LEGIT I was LIVING for this crew!

My only wish was to have had more time with these characters. Told in short multiple POV chapters, I found it very hard to connect with any of the characters. I do favor character driven over plot driven stories but welcome with open arms any book that manages to balance these both out. Heart of Iron is definitely more plot & action. Nonetheless, I appreciate the diversity in this cast & hope to spend more time with them in the follow-up.


This is a first for me…Heart of Iron was a real page turner & I really enjoyed this story. The bits & pieces of world building we were given throughout the crews adventure was SOOOO interesting! but that’s just it, it was scattered & sparse making for a disjointed reading experience. I LOVED this crew but the short chapters made it hard to connect with any one of them. We get some history on a rebellion that took place when the Metals took up arms against humans that I really wanted more info on. There’s this process called “HIVE” where I assume Metals free will is taken away & it’s made mandatory for all as a direct result of the rebellion. However, not all Metals are evil & there was a time where they helped & were medics to humans. There’s a scene where humans are viciously attacking a Metal who isn’t hurting anyone, he was just trying to show his respect at a royal event. This piqued my interest…how many other Metals are out there living in hiding…not HIVED? I have many questions & can honestly say I will be picking up the follow-up in hopes of satisfying my curiosity. Heart of Iron was a fast paced fun adventure that will have you flipping pages til the wee hours of the morning. Yes it’s true I wanted more from the characters & world building, but I’m choosing to see this as a sign that I enjoyed what I read & look forward to seeing what Poston serves up next ??

*HUGE thanks to Balzer Bray/Harper, Edelweiss, and Ashley Poston for the early review copy in exchange for my honest opinion
Profile Image for Jordan (pagetravels).
232 reviews88 followers
April 14, 2018
THIS BOOK WAS AWESOME. An incredibly built world, characters that just popped off the page, and a plot that was nonstop excitement for the entire 450+ pages.
Profile Image for Lauren.
374 reviews132 followers
October 14, 2021
This story deserves a star rating of all the stars in the galaxy if I'm being honest.
Ana. DI. Robb. Jax.
These characters have coveted my heart until the end of time.
Ashley is a prime example of an author who puts her characters through hell and back. I can't even list out all the times she made them suffer!
DI stole my heart the most in all honesty. Throughout the entire book I just kept feeing my heart melt whenever he was either with Ana or trying to help her in the best possible way. He reminds me so much of Iko, but I think that's because they're both androids- though he just is too precious for this world! I really just need to hug him right now, and also I need to have a conversation with Ashley about him because W.H.Y.
I'm trying very hard to not spoil you guys at all because all I want to do is rant about how amazing this story was, but I can't since that would involve spoilers.
Though I'll just say it now: I'd recommend you know nothing going into this book.
I mean the ultimate plot twist of the story happened, and I was left in a state somewhere between shock/ horror/ revulsion.
It has been so long since I've enjoyed a sci-fi book to this degree, and I can't thank Ashley Poston enough for that.
The character relationships are probably my favorite part besides the writing/ jokes. Jax's sass and jokes are the essence of this story as much as Ana and DI's friendship.
Then my heart has to go and burst because of that ending. I just HAVE to mention the ending because W.H.Y.
Heart of Iron is in my top three favorite books of the year, and I'm begging all of you to read it once it is released February 27, 2018. I certainly was not disappointed in the slightest by this beautiful, heart wrenching story, and I hope you guys are just as fascinated.
This squad of four took me on a journey I'll never gonna forget.
Profile Image for Andy.
2,360 reviews184 followers
August 27, 2019
Heart of Iron is a sci-fi retelling of Anastasia. Ana is an outlaw or so she believes. She was raised with her Metal (basically an android in a metal body), D09, on the ship Dossier. Captain Siege and the crew have always been her family. When D09 begins to glitch, Ana will do anything to save him, including stealing from an Ironblood royal to find the parts D09 needs.

I did a super quick reread via audio so I could refresh my memory before diving into Soul of Stars and I am so glad that I did. I definitely would have been so confused had I gone straight into the sequel. Ana and Di are such adorable troublemakers. Ana is the real reckless one and Di is just trying to keep her alive. I loved this whirlwind adventure of exploring space and the royalty in this society.

There are two other characters given POVs in this story: Jax and Robb. Jax is a Solani, a sort of Elf-like race with pale coloring and white long hair. Jax also has the gift of reading the future in peoples' stars via touch. Robb is part of the Ironblood family, Valerio. Known for their might and ability to get what they want, Robb has always felt like a black sheep in the family after his dad's death. He's also not convinced his dad is dead and this is what leads him to track down a black market chip with coordinates to his father's lost ship.

I loved all of the relationships in this story. Ana and Di were too adorable and heart melting. Jax and Robb gave me all sorts of feelings. Then there's Captain Siege and her wife, Talle. Their love was so indomitable and it made me so happy whenever they were somewhat sappy or being supportive of each other. This is what I want in all my books, happy gays.

The pacing was decently fast, though some of the parts in the castle were a bit slower. I loved the overall story from start to finish. I'm also almost finished with Soul of Stars and omg it's amazing!!!!
I feel like my heart went on a roller coaster and I have major vertigo! I loved this book and the characters so much. I felt pulled in from the beginning and the book did not let go. Please someone send me an ARC of book 2.

I loved the relationships in this book from the family bonds of the Dossier to Siege and her wife Talle, and finally to the beginnings of Jax and Robb's flirtation. So much gay I want to cry happy tears of joy. I loved the people, races?? I'm not sure what exactly to call the Solani, or Cercians vs humans. But it was so cool!! I would've loved to get more information about the different people, but this cast was so effortlessly diverse it was amazing.

The plot was pretty crazy. I guessed a lot of things, but it made me happy when I took the small pieces the author buried and figured it out. There was still more I missed, but what a ride.
Profile Image for Danielle (Life of a Literary Nerd).
1,144 reviews249 followers
March 6, 2018
“Stalo ban ach van’en. Stars are not afraid.”

I have wanted to read this story since I heard it pitched as “Anastasia in space”, and while I definitely see some Anastasia elements, Heart of Iron truly shines in it’s characters and relationships. We follow Ana, a girl with no memory of her past, as she fights to save her Metal companion, Di from a broken memory core. Along the way, Anna meets new friends and uncovers secrets about her past that leads to revelations she would never have expects.

Things I Liked
I loved Ana and Di’s relationship. I instantly felt their history and connection. They have a fun and vibrant friendship that feels real, but they also had some deeper emotional moments that drew me in as well. You can just tell that they really love each other.

I also really liked Jax and Robb. They were beyond ADORABLE together. They have some pretty instantaneous flirty when they meet and banter that was so fantastic to read.

I liked a lot of the worldbuilding elements in the story. I really learning about the Solani people, even if I feel like it took a little long to get the info. I liked learning about the Iron Kingdom and their customs - who rules, how their political system is setup. And I thought the use of Androids , or Metals, was interesting, especially with the looming HIVE threat.

There was a lot of diversity in the story, which is always fantastic. There’s a gay couple( Jax and Robb), a lesbian couple (Captain Seige and her wife), and many people of color.

The chapters were so short and easy to read that I flew through this book!

Things I Didn’t Like
While I really liked the 4 main characters who have POVs in this book - their personalities all felt pretty similar (apart from Di). Ana, Jax, and Robb all have a confidence and sarcasm that, while engaging, felt kinda the same.

Heart of Iron was a super quick, fun SciFi read, and I honestly think I would have liked it even more if it was a standalone. But I thoroughly enjoyed the many different character dynamics we see, and they really drew me in. Heart of Iron is a story of self discovery and fighting to create a better future.

I received a copy of the book from Balzer + Bray via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
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