Review: Heart of Steel by Meljean Brook

Posted May 19, 2018 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 16 Comments

Review: Heart of Steel by Meljean Brook
Heart of Steel

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four-flames

Series: The Iron Seas #2
Genres: Steampunk Romance
Published by Berkley
Released on July 3, 2012
Pages: 320
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

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The Delight

After being enthralled by the gritty, intense steampunk world of the Iron Seas, I happily signed up to come aboard for a treasure-hunting adventure into zombie infested Horde territory with the deadly Captain Yasmeen and the intrepid opportunist charmer Archimedes Fox.

Review

Heart of Steel is the second novel-length entry in the Iron Seas series and works best following the Iron Duke where both the main characters and the world of the series is introduced.  Yasmeen and Archimedes’ story is standalone so could be read out of order, but the world makes more sense if the reader doesn’t skip.

Oh man, I was so ready for this one.  In the last book, Archimedes literally gets tossed off Yasmeen’s airship into the waters above Venice which is a zombie-infested town.  And, this was with the pair of them feeling a spark of attraction.  As a female captain who doesn’t exactly hold true blue and operates in a rough environment where strength makes right, she was forced to take action when he attempted to usurp command of her ship.

In this one, they meet up and are wary, but find themselves in a situation that requires them to team up.  I loved all the tension and the intrigue that surrounded the first part of the story when things twisted and turned.  Archimedes has a priceless Da Vinci artifact stolen on him and someone uses the situation to take out Yasmeen, too.  The twists came again now and then and there are some exciting scenes so that the book read quickly.

I confess that getting the mystery solved about Yasmeen’s past was as fascinating as watching how she and Archimedes could make a go of being together.  She is so used to men showing interest, but then trying to take charge of her and her ship.  Archimedes is smart and finds a way to show her that he can still be tough and strong and a hero without diminishing her or feeling the need to dominate.  He took a slow burn approached and raised need in Yasmeen and built trust so she would be open to gambling on something longer term than a one night roll in the bunk.  I love when a couple figures out this balance of power and when a romance develops before my very eyes instead of just leaping past several steps.  It didn’t hurt that they had sizzling chemistry, good banter, and pulled not just a few deadly tricks on each other.  Ultimately, they went back to back and made it through some tough spots.

Where the first book focused on England and the high seas, this book took things to the Continent and then into North Africa.  I loved the variety of the setting, but also going into Horde-held territory and getting more historical background on this alternate history steampowered world.

I really enjoyed the first book, but found this one was as strong as the first and I think the romance pair in this one nudges past the Duke and Mina for my affections.  Oh, and Mad Machen and his lady blacksmith get some good scene time in the beginning, too.  I can’t wait to dive into the next Iron Seas installment and definitely recommend this series to Steampunk Romance lovers.

Challenges

Romance Roundabout #176 SPR

Recommendations

   Review Scarlet Devices by Delphine Dryden

Preview

About Meljean Brook

Book info: I am the author of the Iron Seas steampunk romance series. I’ve written a guide to the world (including a map) on my website.

I also write a paranormal romance series, the Guardians. That series guide is also on my website, including a “The Story So Far” feature, which allows you to catch up on all of the books that previously released in the series if you start after the first installment.

Goodreads info: I am slowly, slowly adding to my shelves and reviews. It’s unlikely that I will join many book discussions (especially of my own work) simply because I don’t want to stifle reader conversation.

Bio: Meljean was raised in the middle of the woods, and hid under her blankets at night with fairy tales, comic books, and romances. She left the forest and went on a misguided tour through the world of accounting before focusing on her first loves, reading and writing–and she realized that monsters, superheroes, and happily-ever-afters are easily found between the covers, as well as under them, so she set out to make her own.

Meljean lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and daughter.

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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  • That sounds like it would be a good book. Reading a series in order is always best so you know who everyone is.

    • These are so exciting and well developed. I think they’ll end up being one of my recommended series to people who are first trying steampunk. 🙂

    • These are so exciting and well developed. I think they’ll end up being one of my recommended series to people who are first trying steampunk. 🙂

  • I have the first and second books for years but I still need to read them

    • I just read the first book last fall and loved it. I read a few of the novellas and then finally got to this second book. I loved it even better than the first. Now, I’ve borrowed the third book from the library already. 😉

    • I just read the first book last fall and loved it. I read a few of the novellas and then finally got to this second book. I loved it even better than the first. Now, I’ve borrowed the third book from the library already. 😉

  • gah this looks great, love the sound of the world building and the characters sound great! need to find book 1

    • You sure do! It’s call the Iron Duke. 🙂

  • Oooo, this sounds so good! Female captain, slow-burn romance? You pick up some great romance novels, Sophia. I’m glad you enjoyed this one!

    Have a lovely week. =)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    • I read the first one last year and the heroine was a police detective. Oh course, I had to go back for the novellas so now I’m finally able to get to the next book in the series.
      I’m enjoying them. I don’t pick up steampunk that often, but it can be fun.

  • Ahhh steampunk. I’ve not read too much of it but need to get in there again. I’ve read Brook as her other name and enjoyed them so not sure why not!

    • Yes, it seems to be one I don’t get to much. I never got to all the ones I was interested in so I’m hitting older books.
      I didn’t realize she wrote under another name.

      • She did an anthology with Ilona Andrews as Milla Vane. I think that’s the only one she’s done, though.

        • Oh neat! I’ll have to look it up. I like her writing.

          Just checked. I have that antho and only read the Nalini Singh and Ilona Andrews story so far. I forgot to finish the thing. LOL

          • It was a very good antho though a warning going in that hers does NOT fit the anthology at all. It was a big mood shift from the others going from flirty/light to really dark and gory. I know some did not react well to that. Gave me a struggle at first but it was a good story. Reading it separate from the other two might be a good thing, actually!

            • Oh, good to know. Her books do get dark and gritty so I’ll brace for the gore. 🙂