I first watched the Anastasia movie a few years ago. The story, after all, sounds amazing. The movie, however, bored me. I could hardly focus on it. Despite my movie boredom, my appreciation of the story made me eager to read Heart of Iron. Unfortunately, this led to yet another Anastasia disappointment. Maybe I’m not as enamored by the story as I thought I was.
Criminal Ana is on a mission with metal (robot) D09 (Di) and alien (by our standards) Jax to find coordinates that lead to a long forgotten ship that could save D09 from a memory core glitch fatality. This mission puts them in the path of Robb, of semi-royal blood, who needs the coordinates to find his long missing father. After a lot of sci-fi intrigue and some royal revelations, I’m still not sure how I feel about this book.
It’s hard for me to pinpoint exactly what I didn’t like. There was a lot that gave me pause. And its not like I hated the book, either. There’s nothing explicitly unlikable about the book. It just didn’t strike my fancy. It dragged on and on. I wanted to know what would happen, but I also wanted so badly for the story to wrap itself up. This situation is the epitome of me feeling indifferent toward a book. So really, here is a string of indifferent thoughts.
Heart of Iron has four likeable narrators. Except for Di, sort of? He isn’t supposed to feel, yet his narration was always with emotion. And then he actually got emotions, and it just got crazy. I didn’t get him at all. Having four narrators, no matter how likable, was still a disservice to the novel’s pacing. Nothing against Jax (but yes against Di because I especially dragged through his chapters) but I think Ana and Robb narrating would have been enough. It also might have added more suspense when we get to some shocking, but yet not so shocking, later scenes.
This book is true-blue science fiction, something that I thought I liked, but I am beginning to wonder if my assumed liking of sci-fi is a misunderstanding. Is my undying love of Star Wars blinding me to a truth about sci-fi: that beyond Star Wars and sci-fi lite Marvel, I don’t really like sci-fi? With the exception of The Illuminae Files, it feels that every sci-fi I’ve read since the creation of this blog has been a clear miss. It’s becoming unclear what I like these days. Or maybe what I’ve thought to be true in the past, but then dismissed, is the real truth. I can like just about any genre, because my reading likes are inconsistent. Because I love thoughtful, emotional, soft historical books like Midnight at the Electric, but equally love the sinister, mind-blowing, fantasy suspense of The Cruel Prince.
But all of this is getting away from what this post should be: a book review. I liked but didn’t love the characters. The pacing was inconsistent. The science, tech stuff was complicated and boring a lot of the time. It’s an okay book, and some exciting stuff happens, but it could have been more. So if, unlike myself, love Anastasia and always adore the hardcore sci-fi books, this is a book for you. It just wasn’t for me. And it makes me wonder a lot about whether I have a reading taste consistencies, or if my liking is all random.