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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars an audaciously fun and imaginative adventure set in Victorian times filled with loveable, eccentric characters
Heart of Steel by Meljean Brook
Paranormal Romance -Nov 1st, 2011
4 stars

This fresh continuation of the author's Steampunk series is playful, outrageous, and inventive.

Yasmeen is the tough and audacious mercenary captain of the Lady Corsair. Her latest passenger, the irritating if charming rogue and treasure hunter, Archimedas Fox died...
Published on November 1, 2011 by Bookaholics Reviewer

versus
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I Didn't Like Yasmeen And Felt Like I Barely Got To Know Archimedes
*2.5 Stars*

I'm sad to say that this is probably my least favorite Meljean Brook novel to date. The writing style I love was still there, but I never became engaged by the story. I think everything would have been different if I had enjoyed the characters more. I didn't like Yasmeen much and I didn't feel I knew Archimedes well enough to truly care...
Published on January 15, 2012 by Amazon Customer


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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars an audaciously fun and imaginative adventure set in Victorian times filled with loveable, eccentric characters, November 1, 2011
By 
Bookaholics Reviewer (Bay Area, California) - See all my reviews
Heart of Steel by Meljean Brook
Paranormal Romance -Nov 1st, 2011
4 stars

This fresh continuation of the author's Steampunk series is playful, outrageous, and inventive.

Yasmeen is the tough and audacious mercenary captain of the Lady Corsair. Her latest passenger, the irritating if charming rogue and treasure hunter, Archimedas Fox died on her last flight. Feeling somewhat remorseful, she decides to visit his sister, Zenobia but finds Zenobia in danger. After quickly dispatching the miscreant, she tells Zenobia her brother is dead. For Yasmeen is in possession of a rare di Vinci sketch that he left behind and offers Zenobia a percentage of the sale. A strange generosity for a woman who is known to be utterly ruthless. But Yasmeen is assuaging her conscience, for she was actually responsible for Archimedas's death. But on her way back to her ship, she finds herself followed and drugged...

Archimedas admires the cunning captain and actually still has bit of a crush on her but that doesn't mean he will let her take his sketch, especially since he is deeply in debt and needs it to recoup his losses. After tailing Yasmeen, he tries to persuade her to return it. But the addition of others who also want the sketch complicates matters, and when Yasmeen's ship is burned the stakes only get higher. Will these two adventurers find love, the sketch, and stay alive to enjoy it all?

This was a playful even amusing book to read. Yasmeen doesn't take anyone's crap. I liked her brash confidence and can-do, no nonsense attitude. I felt that she and the hero could accomplish anything. She is a strong willed woman but unwillingly finds herself being persuaded and charmed by Archimedas even as she knows not to completely trust him. At the same time the plucky Archimedas really likes Yasmeen, but knows money is what really motivates her. It was fun to read the outrageous interplay between them as they tried to outwit each other and then finally decide to warily band together. Archimedas is an extremely charming and cheery rogue who will entertain even the most jaded reader. And you just know with the both of them, together they are an unstoppable force!

Archimedas's sister Zenobia is also an intriguing and quirky character, and I hope she will get her own novel soon. I mean, come on... just their names make you smile.

If you are looking for an audaciously fun and imaginative adventure set in Victorian times and filled with loveable, eccentric characters, you will not be disappointed in this book.

Reviewed by Steph from the Bookaholics Romance Book Club
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed it even more than the first in the series, December 24, 2011
By 
Darlene (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I received this audiobook for review from Penguin Audio. I did not receive any compensation for my review, and the views expressed herein are my own.

This is the second book in the Iron Seas series.

I was initially disappointed that this book did not feature Mina from the first in the series, The Iron Duke. Rather, the heroine is Yasmeen who was also introduced in the series debut.

Yasmeen is the Captain of Lady Corsair, the airship. She is a wonderful character and extremely complex. I love that she is so head-strong and loyal. She initially comes across as cold-hearted and never lets her emotions interfere with her head (hence the title, Heart of Steel). She thinks of herself as practical, never allowing herself to become involved in matters of the heart.

Yasmeen's heart is slowly melted by the dashing Archimedes Fox. I loved Archimedes from the moment he was introduced! He is such a romantic and is undeterred from his conquest, Yasmeen, no matter how much she pushes him away. Although they seem like an unlikely match at the outset, you soon see that he is the yin to Yasmeen's yang. I thought they were perfect for each other! I loved their banter, and there a lot of humour:

Archimedes to Yasmeen: "Goddammit. Can't I save you just once?"

And there is sweetness:

Yasmeen to Archimedes: "Ah," she said watching his face. Her sneer mocked him. "It is easy to fall in love with a woman who is always making you feel more of a big powerful man. You ought not have picked me, after all."

Archimedes: "That isn't it." He didn't question his abilities. "It is simply difficult to know I offer nothing at all to the woman I'm falling in love with." Her expression lightened.

Yasmeen: "You offer me nothing? Stupid man. You already give me what few men could. It is rare the man who has the confidence to let me be what I am, whether it is captaining an airship, climbing atop you in a steamcoach, or brawling in a tavern."

This book is more of an adventure than the previous book. I was swept up in their quest to find the da Vinci sketch. I really enjoyed the story!

Now that I have become accustomed to Adele's accent, I had no trouble at all with her narration. I thought she was well-suited for the book.

MY RATING: 4 stars! I really enjoyed it!!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Adventure and Romance in Steampunk World, March 25, 2012
This review is from: Heart of Steel (A Novel of the Iron Seas) (Paperback)
So far I've read and enjoyed everything in Brook's Iron Seas: the novel Iron Duke and the two novellas. The fun kept on going with book 2, although it is a very different story from what has come before it.

There is still a lot of action, but it is a lot less intense than the first book. Also, no Alpha-hero, which I really liked. There tends to be lots of Alphas in the PNR world - kind of nice to have a strong hero who didn't need to be in control all the time. Yasmeen (and yes, I have a girl-crush on Yasmeen cause she kicks butt) would NEVER do well with a Rhys or Eben. She also wouldn't do well with someone who needed her to order them around. Instead, she needs someone who doesn't need to order her around, accepts her for who she is, and be willing to back her up. She begins the story believing that this man doesn't exist.

Enter Archimedes Fox famous explorer and hero of several popular novels, last seen in Iron Duke when Yasmeen dropped him overboard in zombie-infested Venice. Archimedes is not an Alpha. He doesn't want to give orders, doesn't want to take them either. He prefers doing things his own way. And he is captivated by Yasmeen. He would have to be to not be in a killing frenzy over their last meeting. There is some history between them, and they do play some cat and mouse in the beginning before teaming up.

This one has some steam, but there is definitely a slow-burn getting there. I did really like how the relationship developed. There is action, but I was never really worried about the characters, just looking forward to how they would eventually triumph. Probably very similar to one of Archimedes' "best selling books". I was a little surprised by how easy some parts were for them, but overall I still enjoyed it.

It was a fun read and I'll be looking forward to the next Iron Seas adventure. If you liked the world-building in Iron Duke, but not so much the Alpha-hero or intensity, you might like this one better.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I Didn't Like Yasmeen And Felt Like I Barely Got To Know Archimedes, January 15, 2012
This review is from: Heart of Steel (A Novel of the Iron Seas) (Paperback)
*2.5 Stars*

I'm sad to say that this is probably my least favorite Meljean Brook novel to date. The writing style I love was still there, but I never became engaged by the story. I think everything would have been different if I had enjoyed the characters more. I didn't like Yasmeen much and I didn't feel I knew Archimedes well enough to truly care.

I liked Yasmeen's character in The Iron Duke but I wasn't completely sold on her as a main character. It's easier for me to enjoy certain personality types when I'm only viewing them from a distance, not stuck following them around. Unfortunately, I didn't grow to love her as I had hoped, and actually spent the bulk of the book trying to figure out what Archimedes saw in her.

I understood his determination to fall for her in the beginning. That had more to do with his fear of losing control of his emotions (like he did when the Horde signal dampened his moods) and less to do with Yasmeen herself. Actually, what I disliked about her was what made her ideal for Archimedes's goal. He went in planning on getting his heart broken and relished the opportunity to feel in all its agony. It was only when he actually fell for her that he became interested in convincing her to fall as well. Before that, it was all word games and grand ideas.

Yasmeen was a hard character to like. Brook is particularly skilled at writing strong, but likable, women, so I was eager to delve into her character and see what made her tick. Based on The Iron Duke, I had a few predetermined views of her character. She tended more toward the hard, cold end of "strong" and she had a worrying tendency to view the world and its occupants in terms of power games and manipulation. Points for me for being dead on. ;) The power games were my major complaint about her and the relationship between her and Archimedes as a whole. I wasn't thrilled with her in general--and her constant use of opium (Archimedes did it too) didn't endear her to me--but that was my main sticking point.

Everything in Yasmeen's life revolved around power. The power she possessed and the power that she was convinced everyone wanted to wrest from her. Every past bad relationship had to do with men not being about to deal with her and her role as captain, and every roadblock she faced in the present had to do with the same. I was irritated to find that the plot validated her belief that everything was about her. It was exhausting and irritating to have everything circle back around to this. I wanted to watch a relationship develop without the power games. Archimedes was perfectly content to let her steer and didn't want her role, but even after they had fallen for each other, the power games still impacted them. After she was hurt and unconscious, he had to take control of the ship and her men. After she woke up he was honestly concerned about her being angry and was willing (but uneager) to let her humiliate him in front of her crew so she could gain her power back. WTF? No thanks. I'll pass on a relationship like that.

In terms of Archimedes...I just didn't know him that well. I heard about his past and I knew what motivated him to experience emotions to their fullest, but I never got a handle on the core him. I was told these things but never had any particular resonance with them. I had the same trouble with Yasmeen, though. At one point she's telling a story that has to do with her race's origins and she starts to cry because she's so touched by thinking of the tale. But why? I felt nothing from her for it. It's like I spent the whole book just slightly out of sync with the events. I watched them from a distance and remained cold. I think if you enjoyed Yasmeen more than I did, then your chances of enjoying this book just shot through the roof.

I had some trouble adjusting to the Steampunk technology in the first book (my fault--my brain doesn't interpret machines well) but it was smooth sailing in this one. The technology and terms were much easier to understand and it was great to see the world and the aftereffects delved into more. I really liked that the author had the characters drift away from familiar territory and delve into new and exciting areas. I'm not sure who the next book will feature or where it will take us in the post-Horde recovery, but I hope I'm able to click with them a little better. I think that would have made all the difference in this book.

Favorite Quote:

"Stop letting yourself fall for me, Archimedes. Anything that makes you worry for someone else's ass over your own does you no favors, and I like you too well to see you die."

He couldn't have stopped now if he tried. "I'd die to protect you."

"Idiot."

*Review originally posted on Fiction Vixen*
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love how intricate the world building ..., August 15, 2014
~Reviewed by SUZANNE & posted at Under the Covers Book Blog

Archimedes Fox leads a life full of adventure and danger as a treasure hunter, searching cities long overtaken by zombie. But, it isn’t just his life in danger in his pursuit of a Da Vinci sketch that has been stolen from him, but his heart as he seeks the help of a woman, who last time he saw her throw him off his airship to plummet to his death. Yasmeen, captain of the airship Lady Corsair agrees to help Archimedes find and sell the sketch, for a cut of the profits of course, but although she can allow Archimedes to warm her bed, he can never warm her heart of steel.

The Iron Seas has become one of my favourite series, it’s packed full of adventure, intrigue and romance and Heart of Steel is no different. Meljean Brooks pulls us further into the her Iron Seas universe as we follow Archimedes and Yasmeen swashbuckle their way in and out of trouble.

Yasmeen and Archimedes are familiar characters from the previous books, and indeed Archimedes is familiar to everyone in the Iron Seas universe as his sister publishes his adventures in a series of books she writes based loosely around his various real life experiences. However, we also saw Yasmeen and Archimedes together in the first book of the series The Iron Duke and I am glad we didn’t have to wait long to explore the chemistry that was evident even in the few chapters they were featured in. What I really liked about this book was that Brook did a role reversal in the traditional male and female characters, Yasmeen was the hard hearted warrior, determined not to fall in love and Archimedes was the one eager to fall in love. This kept the book interesting as we watch Archimedes slowly melt the ice around Yasmeen’s heart.

As well as the romance this book also further expands the world that Brook has created, I love how intricate the world building is in this series, it is fascinating and I can’t wait to read more. It also allows a more interesting plot and the intrigue and adventure in the book was exciting and I was reading Heart of Steel not only to see the romance between Yasmeen and Archimedes but to see what new secret would be revealed and what scrape they would find themselves in.

Once again Meljean Brook has written a book that I can’t get enough of and I can’t wait to read more in the Iron Sea series to see what is in store for me next, if you haven’t read this series yet, I highly recommend you give it a try.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 stars - Not as much 'wow' but still a rollicking read, November 13, 2011
This review is from: Heart of Steel (A Novel of the Iron Seas) (Paperback)
In the previous installment of 'The Swashbuckling Lady Lynx and the Idiot Adventurer', Yasmeen the Captain of the Lady Corsair threw a desperate Archimedes Fox to the zombies... but I just knew that the colorful Fox couldn't really be gone - he'd survived zombies before and it would it would have been such a waste of a fabulous character.

Fortunately, Archimedes was just having an off day, because he was anything but an idiot here, actually both he and Yasmeen were so much more than was shown in their short screen time in the Iron Duke and I was surprised at how much that liked both the capable and not as ruthless as she seems, Yasameen, and the clever dashing roguish Archimedes who's determined to court her.

I was almost afraid to read Heart of Steel, I'd been looking forward to reading this second Iron Seas novel for sooooo long that I was worried about being over hyped - I was so blown away by the first book and the way the Victorian society was warped by technology and by occupation by the Mongol Horde, that I had really high expectations for this book. Since Heart of Steel is more of an adventure story and Archimedes and Yasmeen spend most of their time on an airship (or battling zombies while searching for treasure), Heart of Steel didn't quite have the same 'wow' factor for me - the worldbuilding doesn't jump to the forefront as much here even though the steampunk elements are still strong. As an adventure story however, Heart of Steel was a rollicking read, and the action alternating with interaction between the Archimedes and Yasmeen - which included some excellent sensual tension building - kept me turning the pages.

Expectations aside, if there was a weakness to the story it was that the two big conflicts facing Archimedes are resolved easily instead of capitalizing on all of the angst that went before. But that really was a minor nit, that didn't keep me from enjoying the book. On the positive side, some little things that I enjoyed: brief appearances by Ivy and Mad Machen from "Here there be Monsters" were fun and I also really liked Archimedes sister Zenobia - hope to see more of her. So now the excitement and the waiting begins again, next up for the Iron Seas according to Brook's blog are a Scarsdale short and a Rhys/Mina short next year.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great fun with intensity in the bedroom and on deck, June 2, 2014
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This novel has a great set of characters that are pushed through dire situations over and over again. The plot is solid, the personalities and habits of these wonderful and intense characters do not waver while undergoing these uncompromising events.
You're not wondering where the cut throat mercenary went after her hard fall into love with the seemingly foolish treasure hunter... she's still as deadly and steadfast in her authority as she was at the beginning of the book. She didn't go soft for a man, but because she now has someone to stand beside and weather the storms of a sky runner in this graphic, exciting and terrifying world, she is even more dangerous.
You’re also not surprised by any change in character for the fool, either. There is no secret that is revealed that makes this man any more than he is; no hidden side to him that once revealed changes his appeal. These are already laid bare to the reader…. Is discovery is how he deals with them, and then later how they deal with it together.
Overall, solid characters and a greatly imaginative world make for a wonderful read!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Indiana Jones & Lara Croft met & wrote a book together!, March 7, 2012
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The best part about this series is how much the author focuses not only on character development but also world development. I was fascinated with the Iron Seas' unique anthropology & history. After just making a passing acquaintance of Yasmeen & Archimedes Fox in the IRON DUKE & the prequels to the Iron Seas series it was refreshing to get to know both characters better. The action is pretty much non-stop, & Yasmeen's & Archimedes' back stories were so interesting. Yasmeen is a heroine who can pretty much take care of herself, so much so that the hero complains at one point that he never gets a chance to save her. Archimedes is charming, roguish & very clever. I wouldn't mind meeting him in real life. I very much look forward to the next book in the series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended!, January 1, 2012
By 
This review is from: Heart of Steel (A Novel of the Iron Seas) (Paperback)
It would be hard to find two protagonists I like better than Yasmeen and Archimedes! Wonderful novel. Incredible world. A story that's stayed in my mind long after I closed the book. Can't wait for the next Iron Seas novel from Meljean Brook.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rollicking good fun, November 24, 2011
This review is from: Heart of Steel (A Novel of the Iron Seas) (Paperback)
Have been waiting all year for this book and it did not disappoint. Absolutely loved the character of Archimedes, a man determined to fall in love, to feel, even if it leads to heartbreak, after his time under the Tower with deadened emotions. Yasmeen was simply glorious fun and the adventure started on page one and didn't finish until the last page. Perhaps my only quibble was the slightly rushed ending, but overall it left me with a happy glow, and I can't wait to read it again.
As for the steampunk... How cool are those war machines? I loved getting to know more about the Horde's tech and Yasmeen's origins too.
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Heart of Steel (A Novel of the Iron Seas)
Heart of Steel (A Novel of the Iron Seas) by Meljean Brook (Paperback - November 1, 2011)
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