Nov 1, 2011

Posted by in Reviews | 8 Comments

Review: Heart of Steel by Meljean Brook (Iron Seas #2)

Paranormal Steampunk Romance
November 1 2011
Trade Paperback
384 pages
Berkley Trade
Received from publisher

Yummy Man – Archimedes Fox
Kick Ass Chick – Yasmeen

From Goodreads –
Growing up in the dangerous world of the Iron Seas, the mercenary captain of the airship Lady Corsair, Yasmeen, has learned to keep her heart hard as steel. Ruthless and cunning, her only loyalty is to her ship and her crew-until one man comes along and changes everything…Treasurehunter Archimedes Fox isn’t interested in the Lady Corsair-just the captain and the valuable da Vinci sketch she stole from him. When it attracts a dangerous amount of attention, Yasmeen and Archimedes journey to Horde-occupied Morocco- and straight into enemy hands.

All romance books tell the story of how a couple meet and fall in love.  Some couples are odd.  Some couple are good.  Some couples are creepy.  And some couples are so perfectly matched they make you swoon each and every time they appear on the page together.  Yasmeen and Archimedes are one such couple.

We meet both Yasmeen and Archimedes in The Iron Duke, the first book in Meljean Brook’s Iron Seas series.  I liked them both immediately.  Yasmeen is the Captain of the Lady Corsair airship and a no-nonsense woman.  Yet she is fair in her dealings and with her crew.  But don’t cross her as she is not afraid to gut you and hang you from the side of her ship *gulp* For some reason, Archimedes finds this to be very attractive.  He loves how snarky Yasmeen is and wants her to be his.  He is a charmer with a slight addiction to waistcoats, is very smooth and very cunning.  He is also a bit of a celebrity thanks to his sister’s writing of his adventures as a treasure hunter.  Both Yasmeen and Archimedes are likable, endearing characters and I was very excited to find out that book two, Heart of Steel, was to be their story.

This is a Steampunk book but it is Steampunk done exceptionally well.  I’ll say it:  I have trouble reading some Steampunk titles.  When the gadgets and doohickies take over the story, I’m gone.  But in Meljean’s world, even though there are a lot of steampunk-ish details, they don’t overpower the story.  The characters are the focus.

I mentioned world.  Anyone who writes Steampunk needs to have an incredible imagination – especially if the author wants her world to be different from the many other steampunk worlds out there right now.  Meljean’s is amazing.  The background stories for Archimedes and Yasmeen are incredible.  You have no question when you are finished reading this book what events and people were responsible for making them who they are as adults.  And the airships and the Horde machines and the towers and the mechanical limbs and, heck, even the zombies are described in a way that you can see them clearly.  They simply provide the perfect backdrop for this series and for this book.

Meljean writes wonderful supporting characters in this book.  Characters from the previous book are mentioned but you don’t see any.  Instead you are introduced to some new supporting characters that play very well with Yasmeen and Archimedes.  And the story flowed very well in Heart of Steel.  Funny moments followed by heart thumping action moments followed by tender moment and over again.  A great read from beginning to end.

Heart of Steel’s story is great.  Full of action, adventure and charming humor.  I am not even going to try to explain the story to you – there is just too much that goes on.  Besides, I want you all to be surprised by the many turns of events like I was.  But I will tell you that the ‘prologue’ done in letters between Archimedes and his sister Zenobia was so much fun to read.  I found it was a really great way to start the book.

I feel as though you could read Heart of Steel on its own, but you receive a much more detailed look at the world and learn why the characters are in the situation that they are in in first book.  I believe your reading experience would be more fulfilling if you read the series in order.  Besides, The Iron Duke is a very good book so you wouldn’t be wasting your time if you read it first.

Overall, I was extremely happy with this book.  For me it’s all about the characters.  I just loved Yasmeen and I loved Archimedes and I adored them together.  Book three, Riveted, will be released sometime in 2012.  That one should prove interesting since it’s the story of how David and Annika meet and fall in love – two characters we have yet to meet.  Maybe they’ll be passengers on Yasmeen’s Airship or maybe they will be running to the Iron Duke for assistance.  Until we have a blurb, we don’t know and we can only guess.  And it’s fun to guess – even though the possibilities we come up with are probably ridiculous.  *g*

Heart of Steel is going on my keeper shelf.  If you are a fan of Steampunk books, you must give this series a try.  Even if it’s not your favorite genre but you like paranormal romance books, you should try it.  The characters will draw you in and make you fall in love with them as you watch them fall in love with each other.

5 stars

Giggle worthy quotes (there were TONS to choose from!)

“’Captain Corsair!  Just the woman I’d hoped to see. You owe me a drink.’

Possibly.  Yasmeen made so many bets with him, she couldn’t keep track.  ‘Why?’

‘You said that if I ever lost a finger, I’d cry like a baby.  But I didn’t.  I cried like a man.’”


“Perhaps drugging the woman he intended to fall in love with wasn’t the accepted method of kindling a passionate romance, yet Archimedes considered it the most sensible way to proceed.  If Captain Corsair had killed him immediately, their relationship would have been just as tumultuous as he could have hoped, but much too short.”


“’ I’ll make certain to drop you to the ground rather than the water this time.’

‘Ah!’  Elation lifted through him.  He braced his hands against the sloping roof and leaned in close.  ‘I knew you spared me.  Shall I tell you what I thought as you dangled me over the mob of zombies?’

‘Return the favour and spare me whatever idiot thought it was.’

‘No, not idiotic.’  He waited until she looked up from the bracelet and met his eyes.  ‘I thought, Finally, the mysterious and beautiful Captain Corsair is holding me in her arms.  And I swore that you would again.’

Her brows rose.  ‘And what part of that isn’t idiotic?’”


“Oh his captain was simply amazing  ‘I could kiss you.’

‘I’ll bare my ass for your lips later.’”

Books in the Iron Seas series –
The Iron Duke
Heart of Steel
Riveted (2012)

  1. this book sounds so intriguing. I didn’t know about it at all so thank you for the discovery. As I told you I don’t have read a real steampunk book yet, but I’ve one in my TBR pile, we’ll see… I really need to get the first one of this series, I want to lean more about these awesome characters !

  2. The first book blew me away and I can’t wait to start this one. It’s on my bookshelf right now calling to me. Nice review and I love the quotes 🙂

  3. Great review, I am glad you love it so much, but I really could not get into the first book. DNF for me.

  4. Yay! I’m so happy to see you loved this one so much. I’m dying to read it, as I adored THE IRON DUKE.

  5. I’ve heard a lot about this series…I’m holding off on placing it on my TBR list until later. Maybe I’ll wait until you talk about book 3. I really like the way the main characters sound and how she’s so tough. I’m just afriad of the continued overwhelming with placing more books on my TBR list. LOL. Of course then I get so far behind on series it takes me forever to catch up with them. 🙁 Oh, what to do. Anyway, fabulous review Julie. I’m happy that you are enjoying this series so much and I like that the steampunk world Brook has written doesn’t get you lost or lose your interested, that’s always a good thing. 😀

  6. *droools a bit*
    I want this one, what more is there to say. The iron Duke was so freaking cool

  7. Melliane – I will be very curious to see what you think. Especially since it’s a genre you haven’t read much. 🙂

    Paranormal Haven – The quotes! So many. I just love these guys!

    aurian – It’s not a genre for everyone. At least you gave it a try. 🙂

    Chelsea – You are going to LOVE it!

    Deanna – I find it’s easier to start a series that is not too far in yet. It’s less overwhelming. But you should try this series someday. It’s quite different than what you normally read. 🙂

    blodeuedd – Cool. That’s a good word. 🙂

  8. Yay! I’m excited about this one, I loved the Iron Duke (read it, the audio just came out yesterday) I just finished listening to a novella from this series “Here There Be Monsters” and the narrator was fabulous! I think she’s going to be reading this one too, looking forward to it.
    Now I’m dying to know wich book did you listen to that you thought you might had liked the heroine a little better if you’ve read it? dying to

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