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I Belong

Review: Heart of Steel by Meljean Brook

Title: Heart of Steel

Author: Meljean Brook

Genre: Steampunk/Historical Romance

Series: Iron Seas (Book 2)

Publication Date: November 1, 2011

Format: Paperback, 384 Pages

ISBN-10: 0425243303 (Berkley/Penguin)

ISBN-13: 978-0425243305 (Berkley/Penguin)

Reviewed by: Michelle


As the mercenary captain of 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 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.

Quick & Dirty: A strong continuation of a daring adventure, the airship captain slowly opens her heart to a dashing thrill-seeker.

Opening Sentence: Yasmeen hadn’t had any reason to fly her airship into the small Danish township of Fladstrand before, but her reputation had obviously preceded her.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

I love Meljean Brook. After The Iron Duke, I became a fan. Who wouldn’t love pirates, steampunk, and zombies in a historical setting? With the next book in the Iron Seas series, Heart of Steel, I wasn’t sure if I was going to miss Trahaern and Mina too much to be open to another storyline. But Brook proved me wrong. She proved that anything set in this world is just as adventurous and daring as the one before it. Let me tell you why.

The Lady Corsair is captained by none other than Yasmeen. She is a mercenary captain with a ferocious loyalty to her ship and her crew. When a man she previously threw off her ship comes back from the dead and tries to seize her ship, she will stop at nothing to get her guy. Archimedes Fox wants what is his. He has an agenda, and a pricey one at that. He will do what he can to seduce the airship captain and get what he wants. Now whether that is the bounty or the captain herself, it will be up to the captain.

Yasmeen is a fantastic heroine filled with flaws and secrecy. We first met her in The Iron Duke, already with as much spunk that you’d want in a leading character. She has so much ferocity; you will never want to be on her bad side. But with all of these personality traits on the outside, we also get to see Yasmeen’s soft inside. Just don’t tell her that you see it, and you’ll stay alive. She is vulnerable and is a romantic. As a reader, we get to see her thoughts towards her ship, her crew, and delve inside the tidbits of her past that she allows. The growth of her character throughout the book is fascinating – from the anger and sorrow of her loss to the calm and contentment of the peace she eventually receives. I will always vote for Yasmeen, and you should also.

Mr. Fox is a dashing man. He is charismatic and witty, always quick to say something snarky. He is a wonderful match for Yasmeen. He has known her for a long time, since the days aboard his father’s ship. It is this that allows him to slowly work his magic towards melting her heart. But despite how positive and happy he seems, he has his own flaws and sorrows.

I spoke in depth about the Iron Seas’ world in my review of The Iron Duke. I thought that Heart of Steel would take me along familiar paths and places, but Brook proved me wrong. I was taken deeper into the world, past the borders of New London and the Horde territory. I was brought into a different culture that I knew of. It was fascinating to learn more about it all.

Brook’s two books so far has talked about loyalty to the captains’ crews. She showcases the bonds created between a group of people, respecting their leader and understanding what the crew needs. But she also manages to talk about the turmoil and pains that the main characters have gone through after the Horde. With Yasmeen, we are taken to another place, another part of pain that I wasn’t expecting.

Meljean Brook’s Heart of Steel is a wonderful story of adventure and love. But beyond that, it is also about loyalty and respect. Heart of Steel is a great story for the science fiction fan. Come for the pirates and stay for the zombies.

Notable Scene:

He’d known he was in trouble. He hadn’t realized just how close she’d come to turning the tables on him.

Thankfully, the opium had acted more quickly this time. He’d expected to dive into the hideaway until the drug had taken her down, but apparently even Captain Corsair didn’t have much resistance against a second dose. Was it too much?

No. Her breathing and pulse were both strong. She simply needed to sleep it off. He glanced at the bed but immediately recognized the folly of it. She might forgive him the trickery, but she wouldn’t if any of her crew came in and saw her drugged in bed, fully dressed.

She also wouldn’t forgive him if he stripped her naked.

Damn it all. He looked to the hideaway—and hoped she could forgive him this, too.

The Iron Seas Series:

0.5. Here There Be Monsters

1. The Iron Duke

1.5. Mina Wentworth and the Invisible City

2. Heart of Steel

2.5. Tethered

3. Riveted

4. The Kraken King (November 2013)

FTC Advisory: Berkley Trade/Penguin provided me with a copy of Heart of Steel.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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