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Heart of Dust

(Death's Embrace #1)

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  90 ratings  ·  52 reviews
"Doran had a problem, and it wasn’t that he’d been stabbed."

Iole City is in turmoil. Doran Ó Seanáin, leader of the Black Lung Gang, is determined to bring the Lord Archon – Iole's tyrannical ruler – down for his brutal treatment of the miners. But Doran has more to deal with than getting stabbed, a stalemate and city-wide lockdown that’s seeing his gang of ex-miners being
Kindle Edition, 253 pages
Published February 19th 2018
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Average rating 4.22  · 
Rating details
 ·  90 ratings  ·  52 reviews

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Xia Xia
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: suspense, lgbt, fantasy
Good luck at the coalface

The story follows Doran Ó Seanáin, the leader of the Black Lung Gang, an underground group (literally, they're miners) fighting for the rights of the miners in Iole. The book starts with Doran staging a riot where he is stabbed. He runs for his life and ends at the door of an apothecary owned by Nathaniel Morgenstern, a stranger who patches him up and saves his life, without asking anything in return.

Nathaniel and Doran will end up attracted to each other, but a dark sec
Nov 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: suspense, first-book
This story grips you hard and never lets go. It hit the ground running and kept its steady pace with suspense, grit and ever so subtle love subplot that was barely there but at moments felt so potent. There was no steam between the MCs Doran and Nate but plenty of longing, restraint and intensity. But the plot twists in the end, oh wow, just blew my mind and made me look at Nate with my eyes wide open as well as many others. I didn't see it coming. The story is told from single POV, Doran's, so ...more
Sep 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, lgbt, 2020
Full Disclosure: I received a free copy of the book (ebook) in exchange for an honest review.

Further disclosure: I was looking for a book to read after reading the Captive Prince trilogy.

So, I'm going to say this. Anyone wanting to read something after Captive Prince when they are in love with or obsessed with Captive Prince probably should step away and read something really different before diving back in with something similar. If you are obsessed with Captive Prince (CP), then I'm guessing
Joyfully Jay
Sep 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sue
A Joyfully Jay review.

4 stars

The plot sounded more than intriguing and I decided to try it and I’m glad I did. Heart of Dust is well written and hooked me from the first page. The author has done an excellent job of conveying the poverty and danger in which the coal mining families of Iole City are forced to live. Death is constant and suffering a way of life. But it’s the only job for the poor and the conditions are beyond horrific. Doran’s strike is well intended, but since the murder of his
A free copy of the book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

(I wavered a bit on the rating - this is probably more of a 3.5)

It seems fitting that I read most of this book on May Day, since Heart of Dust is really about labor disputes and organizing. This was, for me, probably the most compelling aspect of the story - there are no easy answers to be found here when it comes to balancing the costs of revolutionary action against their hoped-for benefits. Organizing and acti
Andrea Mountain
Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book all in one day, no, all in one sitting. I found myself enthralled, absorbed and unable to put this book down from start to finish. H.L. Moore made me care about these characters in a way that made me physically ache when they struggled, when they hurt. I wanted the protagonists to succeed, and when they suffered hardship, I hurt for them.

I screamed when Doran - the downtrodden title character - lost his daughter to his mortal enemy. I cried when he recounted the particulars of h
A.L. Lester
Feb 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I downloaded this and read it in one evening. It is set an incredibly well crafted world with normalised queerness. The romance is incredibly slow burn and complex and is part of the story rather than it's entire focus. I loved it and can't wait for the next one. ...more
Jaye McKenna
Mar 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, lgbt
Great world building, intriguing characters, compelling plot, and lovely writing--exactly what I'm looking for in a book. Definitely recommend, and can't wait to read the next book!
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, dbml
I received the book in exchange for a honest review

4-Stars for the first sentence alone:

"Doran had a problem, and it wasn’t that he’d been stabbed."

That first sentence was actually, what made me request the book for review.
The book is well written. The characters are well thought out and distinguishable.

As that first sentence indicates, the story starts with Doran, the rebell leader being stabbed and fleeing the (city) guards of the Lord Archon. In all the hectic and blood loosing he ru
Sep 25, 2020 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: freebie
🎁 FREE on Amazon today (9/25/2020)! 🎁
Alex Linker
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
fantastic book! i couldn't put it down :) ...more
First things first, I recieved a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, which I will do my best to give.

To start this review I want to say that I really enjoyed this story and immediately bought the next book, Soul of Ash. I needed to know how the story continued.
The story follows the coalminer-turned-gangleader, Doran Ó Seanáin as he tries to win labour rights for the miners of Iole City, as the archon has steadily deceased their rights and their pay over several years. We are dr
Apr 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received this free copy from the author in return for an honest review via the M/M Romance Group DBML program.

4.5 stars from me! This was such an entertaining read!
I absolutely loved the world-building, the pacing of the story, the characters (all of them!) and the slowburn UST between the MCs.

This book introduces us to Iole District, based in a fantasy/parallel world- very earthlike- where mysticism goes hand in hand with science. We are introduced to druids and doctors and engineers and ar

Sep 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbtqia
I received a free ebook copy of Heart of Dust in exchange for an honest review

Doran Ó Seanáin was born and raised a coal miner in the city of Iole and has lived a life of hardship and loss. Since the murder of late wife, Doran has tried to continue her work of championing the rights of the miners but continues to face extreme oppression from the city’s leader, Lord Archon. When a failed rebellion and a life-threatening injury lands Doran on the doorstep of apotheker Nathaniel Morgenstern, a myst
May 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received a copy of this story free of charge from the author in exchange for an honest review as part of the M/M Group’s DBML program.

Wow, it’s hard to find words for this hauntingly beautiful story. Told solely from Doran’s POV, the coal mines have been a fixture in his whole existence and everything he does is realted to them. Eventually the mines took everything away from him and the only solace he finds is being the leader of the Black Lung gang. There he takes on his late wife’s legacy in
Shan( Shans_Shelves) 💜
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is incredible. From the moment i started reading to the minute it was over, I was totally and completely captivated. Well written, well worded. The characters were so so so human and perfect in their little imperfect ways. Reading this book made me so hungry for more that I immediately bought the next book. I had heard of the book through tumblr where one of my mutuals reblogged H.L.Moore's post about their book and i got curious. When I reached out to the author about my thoughts on t ...more
Nov 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A stunning story that weaves deftly crafted characters and intriguing storylines without falling into the pitfalls of becoming tropey. So much care and precision is evident in the plotting and pacing of the action that it’s hard to believe this is a debut!

The world, including Iole City, is built so easily and cleverly that within pages you are transported into the land of the Black Lung Gang. The rivalries, friendships, heartbreaks and restrained passion are all sublimely real and engaging. Can’
Larissa Molina
Oct 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The reader is thrown into the action immediately, which is always exciting. This story has wonderful world building with complex and interesting characters. The complexity of the main characters is what makes their relationships, and subsequent drama, pull at you emotionally. I read this not knowing is was part of a series but now that I love these characters so much I'm off to find the next book! ...more
I super super enjoyed this story! It felt very unique and original. Doran is precious and I wish him nothing but happiness. There is so much packed into this that it was a tad confusing on world building at times, but overall very very intriguing and amazing. As well, it could have used another edit for some errors, but I am dying for book 2 already!!!
Sep 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was immediately and unwillingly invested in this story from the first page. The detail put into
this world - each city, religion, culture - everything is explained so wonderfully it really made this story come to life. It's like I'm traveling through the alleys of Iole City with Doran himself. I was so immersed in the drama and the lore I was compelled to stay up well into the night to finish reading. I'm so glad I decided to read this book! It's definitely one worth picking up.
Nov 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this was really interesting.. it kept me curious.. on edge... kept me excited and couldnt wait to see what was going on next. i enjoyed the suspense and fun.. and it was enjoyable and action packed and i liked it a lot
May 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

Oh man, I am having a hard time figuring out how I feel about this story. This was a great world that the author built and reminds me of the districts in the Hunger Games but all right together than far apart.

The story’s focus was the turmoil within Iole City much more than any romance. Doran is barely keeping everyone afloat and grateful for Nathaniel’s care and healing in his time of need. While Doran continues to fight and get help from Na
I've read this book twice so far and every time has been a pleasure. There is some grade A slow burn happening here along with some quality angst. I can't wait to dive into Book 2!!!!❤️ ...more
Laura Wade
Sep 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I recieved this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review.

This book has everything: rebellious workers fighting to overthrow The Man, protests, intrigue, and a slow burn romance that gives me the feels.

It's tightly written and fast paced, every word is perfectly placed. H L Moore paints a vivid picture of Iole City, and her characters are lifelike and relateable.

There are some pretty sad parts, this is not an easy journey for the main characters, and there are scenes which
Louise F
Oct 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A much easier and read than Lovecraft.

The world Moore builds is one of industrial, low level fantasy - where apothecaries are quite at home, but no fireball slinging wizards. Moore teasingly releases crumbs of this world; just enough to sink you into the prismatic city, but never bogs the reader with encyclopedic entries.

But the real winners are the characters. Every person is beautifully far from perfect with their prejudices, tempers, and mistakes. Even the romance itself never takes from the
May 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well written with interesting world building and politics. If you’re looking for something exceedingly romantic this may not be for you because the focus is most certainly the plot, but in a good way. Hoping to see more of a development of Nate and Doran’s relationship in book two however, for which I’m very excited to read when it comes out.
I really enjoyed this! It reminded me a lot of Dishonored (and Dunwall especially) and Captive Prince, which made sense once I reached the end because H.L. Moore lists C.S. Pacat as one of her inspirations.

I’d definitely recommend to anyone who enjoyed the Captive Prince series, and I’m looking forward to the sequel!
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was one of the best books I've read. And having been reading full novels since second grade, I don't say that lightly. The plot moved very smoothly, and was very well paced. The characters were all nicely developed, and I can't wait to see more of them in future books. The plot twists were very well executed, and the writing style keeps a person entertained. It's not a book that's easy to put down at any point, and I shamelessly stayed up until two in the morning reading it a few times. I c ...more
˗ˏˋ eg ˎˊ˗
3.5 stars

I have to admit this was one of those books that I randomly picked up, not really knowing anything about. I guess it was just that the synopsis sounded cool? But hey.. I'm so glad I picked it up now!

The world was rich and diverse, the plot was super engaging, those plot twists were shocking and the female characters were an 11 out of 10. Also, the slow build up between Nathaniel and Doran was Excellent!

I do feel though that this book would have benefited by being just a bit longer. I
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Goodreads Librari...: Book cover change/update 3 19 May 29, 2018 06:01AM  

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H. L. Moore is an Australian writer of LGBT+ fiction. She holds a Master of Arts in International Relations (2015) and a Bachelor of Media in Communications and Journalism (2012), both from the University of New South Wales.

She is a Jewish lesbian of Middle Eastern (Egyptian) heritage. She has been writing stories since she was old enough to hold a pen. Her biggest literary influences are Adrian T

Other books in the series

Death's Embrace (2 books)
  • Soul of Ash (Death's Embrace #2)

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