The Automae did not deserve Ayla’s forgiveness. She would not give it. But she also wouldn’t let them turn her into that kind of monster.
Crier’s War carved out a space in my head when I first read it back in February and has completely refused to leave since, so when I got the opportunity to join this blog tour? I leaped at it. Iron Heart is a perfect follow up and make sure to pick it up on September 8th 2020 in the US and October 14th 2020 for the UK.
Rating: 5 stars!
Trigger Warnings: torture, murder, body horror, kidnapping.
About the Book:
An unstoppable love between two girls—one human, one Made—both set on destroying the Iron Heart.
For too long the cruel, beautiful Automae have lorded over the kingdom of Rabu, oppressing the humans who live there. But the human revolution is on the rise, and at its heart is Ayla. Once handmaiden, now fugitive, Ayla escaped the palace of Lady Crier, the girl Ayla had planned to kill . . . but instead fell in love with. Now Ayla has pledged her allegiance to Queen Junn, whom she believes can accomplish the ultimate goal of the human rebellion: destroy the Iron Heart. Without it, the Automae will be weakened to the point of extinction.
But playing at Ayla’s memory are the powerful feelings she developed for Crier. And unbeknownst to her, Crier has also fled the palace, taking up among travelling rebels, determined to find and protect Ayla. As their paths collide, neither are prepared for the dark secret underlying the Iron Heart.
What did I think?
I’ve been anticipating Iron Heart since before I’d actually finished Crier’s War, I loved the first book just that much. It reached a point where I was worried I was over-hyping and that it wouldn’t live up to it. But Iron Heart absolutely did not disappoint. I was swept away by the conclusion to this epic duology, particularly having had no idea what was going to happen next when I finished Crier’s War. I actually reread Crier’s War prior to reading Iron Heart, but if it’s been a while since you’ve read it, you’ll be okay. The beginning of Iron Heart gently reminds you of everything that you need to know – but who wouldn’t jump on the opportunity to reread Crier’s War?
Iron Heart is more political than Crier’s War with more of a focus on the conflict between ARM and the humans, which I really enjoyed as I had been so curious about life outside Rabu. I liked getting to see more of the world, Iron Heart delves into Thalen and the rest of Varn, which is a very different kind of world to Rabu. Seeing the relationships between Automae and humans was fascinating, as it was hinted at in the first book but properly delved into here that the way humans were treated in Rabu wasn’t the same as how they were treated in Varn. It also let Nina Varela gift us with a glorious fake dating scene that I didn’t expect but passionately, passionately loved. The titular Iron Heart is also featured, though I won’t go into detail how, and that really made me feel the depth of world-building in this story, as I had expectations in mind that were totally shattered. This is a fast paced and incredibly concluded series, with the secrets and mysteries from the first book carefully unravelled and leading to a satisfying conclusion.
And then there’s the obvious draw of this sequel. Crier and Ayla. Crier and Ayla. The end of Crier’s War was an emotional masterpiece and I couldn’t wait to see how it played out in the sequel. And oh boy, it was perfection when they collided again. I’m a sucker for enemies-to-lovers but I hate when the complex emotions between them are just dropped for love (yes, I love the yearning and the uncertainty, I’m a masochist). Iron Heart nailed it, with gorgeous conflicted feelings and so, so much yearning. Sapphics will be fed well in this one. The emotional pay off was so good, and I’m already planning on rereading the whole series the second I have my hardback in my hands.
About the Author:
Nina Varela is a nationally awarded writer of screenplays, short fiction, poetry, and novels. In May 2017, she graduated magna cum laude from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts with a BFA in Writing for Screen & Television. Crier’s War was her debut, and this is the sequel. She is originally from Durham, North Carolina, where she grew up on a hippie commune in the middle of the woods. She now lives in Los Angeles.
Title: Iron Heart
Author: Nina Varela
Publication date: 08 September 2020
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction
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