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Heart of Iron:  The Edwardian Cricketer Media Review

Heart of Iron: The Edwardian Cricketer Media Review

Author: EdwardianCricketer/Sunday, June 23, 2019/Categories: Blog, Book Review

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Heart of Iron, by Ashley Poston. New York. Balzer +Bray, 2018, first edition. 467 pages, hardback. ISBN: 978-0-06-265285-0. $17.99, Amazon. 


This review contains spoilers, including revealing the end of the book.


When Ana of the Dossier goes in search of an answer for D09, her android friend who is malfunctioning, her quest leads them both to chasing Robb Valerio, an Ironblood boy who has the data chip she was hoping to steal from a data broker. The chip contains the coordinates for the Tsarina, last surviving ship after the Rebellion and that possibly has a cure for D09.

While the Grand Duchess is preparing to name the next Emperor, D09 hears what he thinks is the HIVE frequency and also overhears Rasovant, the Iron Advisor and creator of the Metals, in conversation with a girl named Mellifare and learns that he is looking for his lost ship, the Tsarina. Rasovant had created the Metals to help rebuild the Iron Kingdom after the Plague decimated the population.

After Robb has to rescue Ana from his cruel brother Erik, who is destined to become the next Emperor, they flee to the Dossier, Captain Siege’s ship where Ana has lived the last seven years, since the Rebellion. Jax, the Solani pilot of the Dossier, outmaneuvers a pursuing Royal Guard ship and takes them to Palavar, an apparent death trap. While investigating the Tsarina, the crew of the Dossier comes under fire from rogue Metals and Siege is forced to kill one of her own crew.

Ana and D09, forbidden to go, sneak on board and go to the bridge where a computer greets Ana by name. D09 sacrifices himself to save her. Jax goes to the Tsarina to rescue Robb who has found the body of his father and has also found a human looking Metal. They bring it back to the Dossier and Robb tries to transfer D09’s memory into it. The ship comes under fire from a Valerio ship and the crew is held on the Dossier while Ana is taken to the Iron Palace.

The Grand Duchess sentences Ana to execution as a traitor but Robb intervenes, insisting that Ana be allowed to touch the Iron Crown. The Crown doesn’t rust in her hands, proving that she is the lost princess, believed to have been killed with the rest of the royal family in the Rebellion.

On the Dossier, D09 comes back online in the new body and rescues the crew. He learns Ana is the lost princess and that Siege knew but had wiped his memory at his insistence causing his glitches. They go to rescue Ana.

Jax is a prisoner in the Palace, and under threat from Erik, when they both learn that Ana is the princess. He makes a deal with Lady Valerio, promising to read her stars. Robb finds them together but Jax is wearing a voxcollar, rendering him unable to speak. She tells him she’ll have Ana killed to get Erik to the position of Emperor. Robb later apologizes to Ana for leading his mother to the Dossier. She tells him about the malware on the Tsarina and that Rasovant was the only survivor from the Rebellion until they found her. Robb goes to investigate Rasovant and his father’s motives for leaving the Palace.

Ana befriends Machivalle, one of her tutors, and meets Mellifare, her handmaiden. Machivalle tells her he can’t give her the information she wants about the fire or any Metals that might have been present with the Royal family.

D09, now Di, goes to rescue Ana but causes alarm when he rescues another Metal. Robb and Ana dance at a gala and Lady Wysteria passes her a note from Machivalle. Ana dances with Di and panics when she sees the Metal from the Tsarina. She runs and Di tries to follow but is distracted by the HIVE signal, following it to Rasovant’s study. Ana stops to read the note, which reveals the name of the Armorov’s private Metal – D09.

Di meets Robb who recognizes him and they continue rescue plans. Robb finds Jax but Erk nearly kills Robb. Jax frees himself from the voxcollar, putting it on Erik.

Ana follows the sound of her dead brothers’ voices to a secret room where she has to run from a HIVE’d Metal. She finds an old computer with information about the Plague revealing that Rasovant had created them to contain the memories of Plague victims. She wrecks the computer and Di leads her away from more Messiers. They hide in a parlor where Di convinces Ana of his identity. He is forced to run while Ana stays. A girl who calls him “brother” catches him and shuts him down.

Di comes back online as a prisoner to Rasovant and the girl, whom Rasovant calls Mellifare. Di realizes that his memory core held the memories of Rasovant’s son, Dmitri. Rasovant is HIVE’ing the Metals, building an army to fight the Great Dark. As Mellifare goes to erase Di, she reveals to him that she is connected to the Great Dark and that Rasovant doesn’t know.

A disguised Di tries to kill Ana at her coronation but Robb saves her. Di kills the Grand Duchess and Mellifare kills Lady Valerio who sacrifices herself to save Robb. Captain Siege arrives to battle the HIVE’d Messiers then joins Robb who is chasing Ana and Di. Ana confronts and kills Rasovant but is caught and severely injured by Di. Robb battles Di as Siege escapes with Ana.

Jax lands the Dossier near them and they get on board as Di emits an EMP that destroys Robb’s tracking chip, taking his arm off at the elbow. Jax gets them away from the pursuing Messier ships.   

Later, stranger walks into a meeting of the Iron Council and demands to try on the Iron Crown. They pass the crown to him.

Ana wakes up on the Dossier and is present on the cockpit with the crew when a newsfeed announces a new Emperor. It’s Di. Captain Siege wants to take everyone somewhere no one will look for them but Ana wants to fight and save the Iron Kingdom. The crew of the Dossier decide to follow her.


I WANT TO SEE THIS MOVIE!!! Ashley Poston has intricately built an incredible world in such a way that it draws the reader in. You get to see it slowly but steadily. Not that the book is slow. It hits the ground running and doesn’t really slow down for 80 pages where the reader not only gets to breathe but meet yet more of the cast of characters, each of whom is as different from each other as you’d expect people to be. She uses pacing to excellent advantage. Poston builds multiple plot lines for the main characters that keep you guessing and sometimes gasping in surprise as a new bit of information is revealed, another layer peeled back – or sometimes added. Her narrative style, her voice, shows the reader this vast world and the depth of characters in a way that is mostly easy to see. She doesn’t go for the technobabble but puts the elements the characters are familiar with right in the narrative in such a way that the reader doesn’t really need it explained. The elements belong in this world. This is new favorite book. I wrote this review a few weeks after reading it and found myself re-reading whole chapters as I’m writing. I had to make myself stop so I could write. Like I said, I want to see this made into a movie. Heart of Iron is a phenomenal book and deserves big screen treatment.







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