Heart of Steel

A Novel of the Iron Seas, #2

Yasmeen has become not only the well-known captain of the Lady Corsair, a flying ship, but the captain of her fate. She refuses to take orders from any man or have anyone undermine her position as captain. Her crew is loyal and Yasmeen takes good care of them, even if she doesn't split her profits as well as some captains.

Archimedes Fox is a treasure hunter. Archimedes isn't his real name but it's the one he's using! Yasmeen knows him well as she killed his father. Archimedes has one minor problem with Yasmeen; he could easily fall in love with her. In the meantime, he's hiring her for expeditions. He has learned that pulling a gun on her will get him thrown overboard into zombie infested areas.

Yasmeen and Archimedes start on an adventure of a lifetime after the Lady Corsair is blown up and the entire crew is killed and a da Vinci sketch that Archimedes found is stolen. They are going to have to pose as a married couple which makes life interesting.

Though Archimedes could fall in love with Yasmeen, Yasmeen has no desire to fall in love. She would like to bed Archimedes but he's not cooperating. Can they work something out? Archimedes wants it all but first he's going to have to convince Yasmeen that he's the man for her.

This is the second book in Meljean Brook's Iron Seas series. Though the main characters in the first book are mentioned in this one, they do not play a significant part in it. Therefore, you could read this book without having ever read the first and be able to follow the story line with no problems. However, I think the first book gives more details in the world that Ms Brook has developed.

The world that the characters are operating in is complex and a meshing of several elements. First, there are zombies. The zombies are mindless creature that infect by biting. There is no cure and the infection travels quickly. Next, there are airships and regular ships, each with its own unique style. The Horde has mind controlling towers and interesting war machines. It has control of most of the European world. Most of Europe fled to the new world to escape the zombies and the Horde.

Perhaps one of the most unique and interesting features of the world, is the combination of technology and humanity. The Horde would graft metal objects to people to make them able to do whatever work the Horde wanted them to do better; such as rollers or pinchers. However, limbs that are lost for whatever reason can be remade with metal skin. This is the norm and people are use to seeing artificial metal pieces on bodies.

Okay, enough about this totally interesting world. This book is one of adventure.

Yasmeen and Archimedes have seen a special killer in their vicinity. Is she after them, or someone else? They truly hope it's someone else as neither is sure they can take her, even together. Plus Archimedes really needs that sketch back as he owes money to a very powerful man. In their effort to locate this sketch, evade the killer and learn who killed Yasmeen's crew, this unlikely couple will brave the zombie infected cities of Europe. If they can stay alive they might be able to accomplish part of their goals!

Finally, the characters are awesome. They are well done with plenty of depth. There are no cardboard characters in the story at all. Everyone has a history as well as a passion. There are things going on behind the scenes showing different sides of many of the characters. Not everyone is as they seem.

I am totally loving this series. The steampunk elements add to what could just be a fantasy romance making it so much more. I get involved with the characters on so many levels; their romance, their adventures, their lives. Just when I get comfortable on how the story is going to go, something totally unexpected will happen adding interest and a new direction.

If you've ever thought about trying a steampunk romance, grab an Iron Seas novel. The only issue you might have is none of the rest will be able to match how well these stories are written.

Book Blurb for Heart of Steel

New York Times bestselling author Meljean Brook combines Victorian sensibilities with steam, steel, and adventure on the Iron Seas. As the mercenary captain of the Lady Corsair, Yasmeen is only loyal 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. But treasure-hunter Archimedes Fox isn’t interested in the Lady Corsair—he wants her coldhearted captain and the invaluable da Vinci sketch she stole from him. To reclaim the painting, Archimedes must seduce the woman who once tossed him to a ravenous pack of zombies…and she’s no easy conquest. When da Vinci’s sketch attracts a dangerous amount of attention, they journey to Horde-occupied Morocco—and straight into their enemy’s hands. But as they fight to save themselves in a city on the brink of rebellion, the greatest peril Yasmeen faces is from the man who seeks to melt her icy heart…

Night Owl Reviews Nov, 2011 4.75