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Underneath The Rust

Ashley Poston's Heart of Iron is an entertaining—if formulaic—retelling.

Underneath The Rust

BOOK REPORT for Heart of Iron (Heart of Iron #1) by Ashley Poston

Cover Story: Space Bulb
BFF Charm: Yay
Swoonworthy Scale: 6
Talky Talk: Retelling
Bonus Factors: Androids, Found Family, Not a Love Triangle, LGBTQ+
Relationship Status: Friends

Cover Story: Space Bulb

I’m not a gardener, but this space station (?) sure does look like something you’d plant in a flower bed.

The Deal:

Ana’s on the hunt for the coordinates of a missing space ship—a ship that houses the answers she needs to save her best friend D09, a Metal (sentient android) whose internal systems are glitching more and more often. Ana would do anything to find the ship, even if it means crashing a society party and stealing the information from a member of an elite family. But what Ana doesn’t know is that she’s not the only one who’s searching for the ship and the answers hiding onboard.

BFF Charm: Yay

Although Heart of Iron is divided into four separate POVs, Ana is the de facto main character, as most of the other characters’ storylines revolve around hers. She’s stubborn, rash, and quick to act before thinking, but she’s also loyal, dedicated, and someone you definitely want on your side of any situation (particularly if said situation might turn “sticky”). She’d probably find me a bit boring, but I’d certainly be honored to call her a friend.

Swoonworthy Scale: 6

There are two relationships in Heart of Iron that have a lot of promise, but events and situations conspire against any real swoon. One of the relationships we don’t get enough backstory for, and the other is a case of instalove, but I hope there’s more to both in the subsequent novel(s) in the series.

Talky Talk: Retelling

If you’ve ever seen/heard Poston talk about Heart of Iron, you know what this book is a retelling of. And even if you don’t, it’s pretty easy to figure it out if you put some of the events and plot details together (and watched any non-Disney animated movies in the late 90s). I’m not totally familiar with the source material, but I remembered enough while reading that some of the major twists in the novel were no longer a surprise.

Of course, that’s what you get with retellings; it’s up to the author to make it fresh and new. Poston introduces enough new storylines and characters to make it interesting—I enjoyed the read—but, unfortunately, the plot was slow to build, and the characters repeated the same mistakes multiple times. And although the story’s not complete, I worry that a second novel* will be repetitive; unless Poston blindsides me with a huge twist, I feel like I know exactly how it’ll all play out.

*I’m not sure how many books are planned for this series, all told.

Bonus Factor: Androids

I really love the idea of androids who are more human than robot, and the discussions that always surround such characters, specifically those about the true nature of humanity. I strongly believe that just because your neural pathways are made of wires and polymers rather than nerve cells doesn’t mean you’re not alive.

Bonus Factor: Found Family

Found families are one of my favorite tropes to read about. I love the camaraderie that’s inherent in such groups, and the way they often function surprisingly well for all their dysfunction. The crew of the Dossier, the adopted spaceship home of Ana and D09, remind me a little of the crew of the Serenity, in that they might be rogues, but they’re better than most “upstanding citizens.”

Bonus Factor: Not a Love Triangle

When you first meet a certain character in Ana’s life, you might get the uncomfortable notion that there’s a love triangle looming. However—and thankfully—that notion is soon quashed.

Bonus Factor: LGTBQ+

Love is love is love is love.

Relationship Status: Friends

We didn’t have the spark I was hoping for, Book, but I had a good time with you nonetheless. We all have off days, however, so I wouldn’t turn down a second date. Just know that I’m leaning toward a platonic relationship, and don’t get too many romantic notions in your head.

FTC Full Disclosure: I bought a copy of this book with my own money, and got neither a private dance party with Tom Hiddleston nor money in exchange for this review. Heart of Iron is available now.

Mandy Curtis's photo About the Author: Mandy is a small town girl living in a nerdy world, or—if you want to get literal—an editor/writer living in Austin, TX. In addition to yearning for YA books—the more dystopian or fantastical, the better—she can also be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.
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