Heart of Steel by Meljean Brooks:
Just the swashbuckling book I needed to de-stress and have an adventure. Of course the fact that the story had zombies, airships, pirates, rebels, and nonoagents helped. I knew I liked Yasmeen and Fox from The Iron Duke, and I'm glad they got their own story. Lots of intrigue, mystery, adventure and romance.. The ending was a little sappy for me, but still good.
The best part of this book is the beautifully immersive world building Brooks does. The characters are defined and likeable. There is also lots of history and back story that makes you buy in and care. Lots of alternate history for Europe and the East, as well as for Africa.
I love that Brooks' protagonists are not ur typical blond blue eyed English women, even though the first book centered England as its main home. Mina was mixed with Hord blood and has Mongolian features. And Yasmeen is African American. Of course, I picture whatever I like in my head, but it's nice when an author gives me more than basic cookie-cutter characters.
All of that being said, don't judge this book by its atrocious cover! It doesn't even have enough sexy time to warrant it. Who is that supposed to be anyways? Fox? Pass. There is sexual and romantic tension, and some sexy time, but it's pretty minimal and the adventure and plot weave it in quite nicely. Easy, quick, distracting, entertaining, and surprisingly sweet read.
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