Book Review: HEART OF IRON by Ashley Poston (OwlCrate Book March 2018)

“Heart of Iron”

Heart of Iron #1

by Ashley Poston

Nikki’s Rating: 8 out of 10

Summary: As a pirate on the notorious spaceship, the Dossier, Ana is no stranger to perilous situations and danger. And when her best friend and Metal begins to malfunction, she is willing to jump in headfirst and risk everything to save him. But as they hunt across space for the part he needs, they stumble onto a secret that shatters everything that they know about their world and each other. Now Di has been HIVE’d, absorbed into the super AI built to keep Metals in line, and is commanded to find and terminate Ana.

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8 Honorable Things about HEART OF IRON by Ashley Poston (OwlCrate Book March 2018)

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Anastasia

It appears that “Heart of Iron” may have been inspired by the fairy-tale story of Anastasia Romanova aka the 1997 cartoon movie Anastasia. I say fairy-tale because in reality Anastasia Romanova was assassinated with her family in 1918 but due to not finding her body and/or not being able to confirm thru DNA, there were rumors that Anastasia survived. In “Heart of Iron,” Ana, who doesn’t remember her life before the Dossier, turns out to be Princess Ananke Armorov. Her family was killed all on the same night and it was believed that she died as well but she in fact escaped. Also in “Heart of Iron,” the shady-ass bad guy is named Rasputin, Ana’s father’s name was name Nicholii, and there is a spaceship called the Tsarina. So yeah, “Heart of Iron” is a retelling of Anastasia in space, which is totally cool in my book! Anastasia is one of my favorite movies.

2. Space

Space! While I would never want to actually go to space in real life, I do enjoy movies and books that take place in space. There are so many options for different worlds, cultures, and species when working within a space setting versus just a world. “Heart of Iron” takes place in space, specifically on and between various planets within the same solar system and although all characters are human, one major character is from a people that originate from a whole other galaxy.

3. Love

Love can be hard to define and quantify, as many of our emotions are. Would an AI ever be able to understand these emotions or even experience them? Could a human develop feelings for an AI, even love them? Would the AI be able to reciprocate those feelings? These are just some of the questions that will come up while you are reading “Heart of Iron” because Ana is very much in love with her Metal and best friend, Di. While I’m not sure how it would translate in real life, in this fictional world I absolutely loved Di and Ana’s relationship! Their ability to work with each other and balance each other, along with their continuous banter made them a very enjoyable couple.

4. LGBTQ

“Heart of Iron” featured one LGBTQ relationship as well as a budding romance between two main characters. Captain Siege of the Dossier is married to Talle, a woman, and together they raised Ana. Sparks fly between main characters Jax and Robb as soon as they meet and hopefully will end with them being together. Although Jax can’t seem to touch another living being… It’s like Rogue and Gambit in X-men, so tragic!

5. Di

Di is my favorite character in “Heart of Iron” and there are many reasons for this. First is his dedication to Ana, being her bodyguard, partner in crime, best friend, or her caretaker depending on needs. Next his banter to himself and other characters was amusing af. And finally, that he was able to overcome the HIVE and not actually kill Ana. He’s still in there somewhere and I can’t wait for Ana to bring him back!

6. Ana

For being a princess, Ana is definitely not stereotypical. She is impulsive, loud, outspoken, combative, and rough around the edges. I like her a lot! Ana puts those she loves above herself and tries her hardest to solve all her problems on her own to avoid putting others in danger(which usually leads to more problems but at least she tries). She is also extremely inquisitive, which I totally relate to.

7. Writing

Overall, “Heart of Iron” was a blast to read! The story was intriguing with the mysteries surrounding the Metals, the HIVE, the death of the royal family, and Ana’s backstory. All the characters were likeable and relatable. And Poston kept things fast-paced, continuously moving the story along, while pulling on your heartstrings as characters endured heartbreak and setbacks.

8. Soul of Stars

Thankfully Ana and Di’s story continues in Ashley Poston’s Heart of Iron series, “Soul of Stars”, which is the second and final book in the series.


As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. If you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

Book Review: 7 Cool Things about THE CURSED SEA by Lauren DeStefano

“The Cursed Sea”

The Glass Spare #2

by Lauren DeStefano

Nikki’s Rating: 7 out of 10

Summary: As Wil deals with the fallout of killing her beloved brother, she is now on the run from two kingdoms. As the Northern and Southern kingdoms are at war, both are hunting Wil for their own reasons. The Southern Isles see Wil’s curse, to turn anything living into gems with a simple touch, as something to be exploited and used to kill and amass wealth. And in Arrod, her death is ordered by her own brother, Baren, who is haunted by death and seems to have cursed his whole kingdom. Wil teams up with her supposed enemy, Loom, the exiled prince of the Southern Isles,  as they fight to win back both their kingdoms before everything they love is destroyed.

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7 Cool Things about THE CURSED SEA by Lauren DeStefano

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. The World

The world created by Lauren DeStefano for The Glass Spare duology was an interesting combination of fantasy and technology. The world includes elements of the modern with electricity, machinery, and guns but also includes castles, alchemy, magic, and curses. It was a nice blend that ended up working together and didn’t appear disjointed.

2. LGBTQ

Lauren DeStefano included a LGBTQ relationship between the characters Espel and her guard Masalee. While I loved this dynamic simply for inclusiveness and reducing stigma, it really helped show the depth of Espel’s character and how much she kept hidden from the world. Through the love that she and Masalee share, it is revealed that Espel is not the monster she appears to be but rather is putting on an act to protect that which she cherishes most.in “The Glass Spare” but we learn that he committed a crime and was therefore cursed. Wil was born with her curse and the great mystery is why.

3. Mending Relationships

“The Cursed Sea” had a theme of mending relationships throughout. This theme is seen between Espel and Loom, Wil and Baren, and even Loom and Wil. When the characters take the time to try to understand where the other person is coming from, they are able to empathize and make compromises. They learn to trust and work towards mending the relationship or at least reach an understanding that causes a truce between them.

4. The Curse

Wil’s curse was the source of mystery throughout “The Glass Spare” and thankfully “The Cursed Sea” helps to explain why Wil was cursed from birth and it was not what I was expecting! There were so many twists and turns relating to the curse that even when I thought I figured everything out, there was another revelation. Ultimately, Wil’s grandmother and grandfather were terrible people.

5. Sibling Rivalry

Sibling rivalry was another theme seen in The Glass Spare duology. First shown between Espel and Loom, it is revealed that they grew up pitted against each other and while they believed that the other truly hated them, neither of them would kill the other when it came down to it. It is through this act of not killing the other that they realize that there is a love between them regardless of their upbringing. Sadly, the sibling rivalry between Wil and Baren doesn’t end as well but it is revealed that while Baren did have an overwhelming irrational hatred of Wil, she and her brothers also fostered this hatred by excluding him from their friendship. This allows Wil to comprehend that it wasn’t all Baren, that she contributed to this rivalry as well and that regardless, he still didn’t take her life.

6. Love

Always the sucker for love stories, I really enjoyed the experience of Loom and Wil falling in love and then actually embracing it. As they went from being angry, possibly even out right hating each other, to a truce, to then accepting their feelings for one another was a delightful journey to be part of. Most importantly, they respected each other’s boundaries, were willing to allow the other to make their own decisions, and were willing to accept whatever choices were made.

7. The Ending

Happily The Glass Spare duology had an overall positive ending. While not all dreams and aspirations were reached, each character got what they deserved in the end. Most exciting was the reunion between Loom and Wil, hoping they lived happily ever after together.


As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. If you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.