Trade paperback: 320 pages
Reading level: Adult
Genre: Steampunk romance
Release date: November 1, 2011
Series: The Iron Seas #2
Source: Personal shelf
Reviewed by: Jenn
Return to the gritty, alluring world of steampunk with the New York Times bestselling author of The Iron Duke.
As the mercenary captain of the Lady Corsair, Yasmeen has learned to keep her heart as cold as steel, her only loyalty bound to her ship and her crew. So when a man who once tried to seize her airship returns from the dead, Yasmeen will be damned if she gives him another opportunity to take control.
Treasure-hunter Archimedes Fox isn’t interested in the Lady Corsair — he wants her coldhearted captain and the valuable da Vinci sketch she stole from him. To reclaim it, Archimedes is determined to seduce the stubborn woman who once tossed him to a ravenous pack of zombies, but she’s no easy conquest.
When da Vinci’s sketch attracts a dangerous amount of attention, Yasmeen and Archimedes journey to Horde-occupied Morocco — and straight into their enemy’s hands. But as they fight to save themselves and a city on the brink of rebellion, the greatest peril Yasmeen faces is from the man who seeks to melt her icy heart…
In case you didn’t get it from my Daring You To Read post last week, Meljean Brook has won my heart with her steampunk romance. The Iron Seas series is filled with exciting adventures, bold characters, and steamy relationships.
In The Iron Duke, Yasmeen and Archimedes’ story is a tiny vignette in the larger story of Mina and Rhys. In Heart of Steel, a title that refers to Yasmeen’s outlook on romance, our lady airship captain and the dashing explorer are front and centre, in the midst of a thrilling adventure, complete with zombies, explosions, passion, and exotic locations.
Yasmeen is a fearless protagonist. She’s independent, crafty, brave, and loyal to a select few. As an airship captain with a mysterious past, she lives the life she loves and she makes no bones about her mercenary lifestyle, living with her own code of honour. (This is a woman who, at the start of the novel, takes the time to visit Archimedes’ sister Zenobia after tossing Archimedes off her airship, presumably to his death in the zombie-infested canals of Venice, to let Zenobia know that she was going to share the proceeds from the sale of the da Vinci sketch that Archimedes recovered.) Yasmeen is an alluring combination of toughness and femininity, particularly to Archimedes, who’s half in love with her at the outset of the novel, even though (or perhaps because) she threw him off her airship. And Yasmeen, for her part, is unwillingly intrigued by Archimedes, having read all of the stories about him and appreciating the way Archimedes comports himself with a combination of courtliness, dashing bravado, and brightly coloured waistcoats.
The non-romantic part of Heart of Steel revolves around that da Vinci sketch. First, Archimedes pursues Yasmeen for it and then Yasmeen and Archimedes team up after the sketch is stolen from her airship, the Lady Corsair. The adventure they embark on takes them into Horde-occupied territory, offering us a glimpse at the other side. In the previous stories, we’ve only seen the world from the perspective of people who have been threatened by the Horde so it was really neat to see how people affiliated with the Horde live. It was also a lot of fun to go on an adventure across the continent, as Yasmeen and Archimedes explored places people rarely go.
I can’t say enough good things about the world that Meljean has created for the Iron Seas stories. I hope she never tires of writing them because I don’t want to say goodbye to this world any time soon!
Read an excerpt (scroll down)
Visit Meljean’s website for more information about the series!