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Heart of Iron Paperback – July 19, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Prime Books (July 19, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 160701257X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1607012573
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,815,416 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jesse Bullington on August 15, 2011
Format: Paperback
I was fortunate enough to get an advance copy of this, and then July exploded in my face and I dropped the ball on posting a proper review when it launched. Better late than never, granted, but still--this book deserves attention, and a lot of it. Sedia's one of those authors who mines something new with every project rather than working the same material ad nauseam, and this one should have the broadest appeal yet while still tackling the weighty issues Sedia's never shied away from. Her fiction always deftly balances escapism with engagement, and the juggling act she pulls off here is tremendous. Although not marketed as such, it should appeal every bit as much to young-adult readers as the grown folks, and serve as a grand introduction to Sedia's work for audiences of all ages and predilections.

I won't get into into the plot, as I prefer to go into book's as clueless as possible, but the AV Club's review of the novel hit the nail on the head in pointing out that the main draw of the book isn't the plot but our narrator Sasha Trubetskaya. She's such a great, perfectly-realized protagonist that even without any plot whatsoever Heart of Iron would be an engaging read, but I enjoyed Sasha's literal journey every bit as much as her internal one. The supporting cast, in particular Sasha's aunt Eugenia, are deftly rendered and enjoyable, and Sedia's tweaking of history is both clever and ingenious--rather than assuming that actual persons would be the same individual in any mildly altered version of our history, Sedia twists familiar figures into intriguing new shapes. It's a great subversion of our expectations, and enjoyably raises more questions than it answers regarding other discrepancies between our historical record and Sasha's world.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This novel tries to mix steampunk action with "realism" about race, gender, etc in the 19th century and it fails at that, being in fact a YA adventure with an enchanting heroine, but action without tension or danger in pulp mode, while said "realism" about women in the 19th century society and to a lesser extent about races is very simplistic and soon essentially forgotten in the quest of our heroine to make everyone happy, the world a better place and the baddies repent.

Very fairytale and the last half is pretty boring since despite that supposedly things happen at an accelerating pace, there is no tension, no sense of danger, you know all will be cheery/peachy and even the bad guys may be redeemed so to speak, while the characters besides the narrator remain one dimensional throughout.

The one thing that kept me reading and for which I would give this a B- rating is the narrator who is engaging to the end and it was a pleasure; sadly this novel could have been so much better were it to either embrace steampunk in its essence - pure wish fulfillment adventure - or if it would have been darker and indeed realistic and one in which actions have consequences
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By the golden witch on July 31, 2011
Format: Paperback
If there's no other genre I love, it's alternate history/steampunk. Why? It lets us dream about what could have been had we chosen another path. And one of the most recent masters of alt-history lit is Ekaterina Sedia, who I've been hearing nothing but good things about. Her newest book, "Heart of Iron" does not disappoint, and if you like historical fiction and/or sci-fi, you should definitely give it a read.

One thing that Sedia does well (to put it lightly) is immersing her readers in the scene and characters. I've never been to Europe, much less Eurasia/Russia, yet I felt as if I were right there with Sasha, Jack, and the rest. Her prose is lush and gorgeous, and so comfortable that it's like one of those old couches that you've worn a butt grove into that you're loathe to leave after you sit down. It sucks you right in, and you don't want to leave.

However, one of the pitfalls of the novel early on is that there is a bit more telling instead of showing than I could tolerate, but that was soon fixed as the novel went on. I guess, in an alt-history book a certain amount of telling is something that can't be entirely avoided, so I will give that to Sedia. But at least it's not ALL telling, and once we're with Sasha in school, the telling stops and the showing goes into glorious overdrive.

And then there's another added element which she kind of sneaks in under the reader's nose - the paranormal. Paranormal in alt-history and steampunk genre books isn't at all rare, but the way Sedia wove it into her story was so subtle, I actually had to go back and reread a small portion to catch it. One of the problems with being an aspie is to over-notice things, and the fact she got it by me is an achievement in of itself. And the best part?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Eliza Wyatt on May 23, 2013
Format: Paperback
When I picked this book up, I was in love with the prose and style Sedia was using to build this beautiful alternate Russia. Wonderful beginning, lovely to read. I wish she'd kept it up.

The pacing completely runs aground at the 65% line. It floundered and flopped like a beached fish for a while, and then the climax ran by in such a blur I was left wondering, 'what just happened?'. And for some reason, every single character who gets more than a few lines is an unlikely intellectual and deep thinker. It felt fine when the book was set in the University, but once we left it felt grossly out of place.

Amazing writing style; you'll love it if you're a prose junky.
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