Iron Heart (Iron Universe) by M.C. D’alton, Melanie Page
Publication Date: January 24th 2020
Publisher: Vulpine Press
Genre: Historical Fiction / Steampunk / Romantic Suspense
Beauden Somerton is dying. Despite the efforts of his father and renowned medical expert, Dr Augustus Somerton, time is running out for Beauden. So, when the research of an enterprising young medical student catches their attention, they realise she may be their last hope.
Galena Tindale fears her unorthodox research has jeopardised her chances of graduating from Edinburgh Medical College. Still, she cannot turn down an opportunity to assist the infamous Dr Somerton in a ground-breaking attempt to save his son’s life. And, as she strives to mend Beauden’s failing heart, he succeeds in capturing hers.
But not everyone wants Beauden to survive, and it’s clear they’ll go to violent and destructive lengths to prevent his revolutionary treatment from going ahead. But how far will they go? Will Galena manage to perform life-saving surgery before it’s too late? Or will she be forced to live in a world that doesn’t include Beauden Somerton?
*** Note: I received e-ARC from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to Vulpine Press. ***
Iron Heart was steampunk romance that revolved around Iron Heart. It was about love, compassion, women’s position in Victorian era, men’s ego and their view towards women acquiring higher studies, medical inventions, greed and darkness in humanity.
Writing was great with smooth and fast pace. It pulled me in the world from the very beginning. If there wasn’t a title page or cover I couldn’t have guessed the book was written by two authors. Both authors did wonderful job in representing theme, world and characters. It was written in third person narrative from Galena and Beauden’s perspective.
It started with Galena’s moment of humiliation and hopelessness on failing to represent her research based on Bachvarov’s theory about replacing damage human heart tissue with suinae tissue that could mark her name in history. She was afraid she had lost her chance graduating from Edinburgh Medical College. But that didn’t last long as the famous medical expert, DR Augustus Somerton, was interested her research. He didn’t have much time. She was his only hope saving his son, Beauden Somerton. Beauden was born with critical heart condition, he would have died at age 5 but he lived as his father replaced his damaged heart with Iron Heart. But Iron Heart was failing, poisoning his body. Only Galena’s research combined with DR Augustus’ mechanical heart design can save his life.
Will Galena help him? Can she design a heart with Augustus that can give Beauden better life? Can she perform life threatening procedure? And then there is unknown narrator who didn’t want Beauden live and egoistic medical student who couldn’t stand Galena’s project and DR Augustus’ way of saving human life.
All characters were well written and developed. I loved the way author wrote protagonists. Galena was feisty and strong heroine who fought in all conditions bravely whether it was against bully or villain or performing life threatening procedure on her love. I loved the way she cared for Beauden and how well she got along in Somerton house.
Beauden was interesting character. I enjoyed reading his mindset and feelings. Though he had to compromise with life because of his heart condition, he never let bitterness and unfairness of life in his nature. He won my heart when he defended Galena in campus and in park, even though it could cut short his days. He welcomed the hanging threat of death bravely. He had soul and heart of gold, I mean literally.
DR Augustus was amazing in the book. All his research and the mechanism he made were wonderful. It showed to what length parents could go to save their Children’s life. At first I thought he wouldn’t accept Galena’s entry in his son life more than just his son’s doctor, he would behave like those aristocratic people of the era but he surprised me there. His decision in climax just filled my heart with admiration.
All other characters, staff and employee of Somertons were great. I’m glad I could know their importance in Somertons’ life.
The world was interesting. It was world where women were not respected for entering men’s profession, often bullied and told by male colleagues their place is at home and hearth; examining cadaver for educational purpose was considered unholy; any unconventional invention was not approved by society and considered unnatural; Medical students didn’t dare to follow Bachvarov theory as it used lesser species’ tissue and replacing heart with metal was considered monstrous. It was interesting to read people’s prejudice and beliefs. It made me think how they could oppose something that is going to save lives. I could imagine how first discoveries might have faced challenges.
Now that Bachvarov’s theory and Iron heart concept was fictional and so other contraptions like mirror messengers, unicarriage, and house system run by steam. It was pretty impressive though. I loved how it gave steampunkery touch. I don’t know when first prosthetic tissue valve was discovered but yes some part of the Bachvarov theory was true/plausible. Some other inventions/discoveries of the era were also used in the book like Grey’s Anatomy, dirigible, mechanical ventilator. It felt good to read heart’s anatomy and physiology once again. Readers aware of medical term and love idea of inventions would enjoy reading this.
I liked insight in the book about wickedness of human nature. Even though Beauden had iron heart, he was most human character while other normal humans acted like monsters. Greed for money and power, how low one can fall for their selfish gain was well presented.
I loved relationship between Galena and Beauden. It progressed a bit fast but I enjoyed reading their love, compassion, and admiration for each other. There was constant tension that tested their love and feelings, first with corroding iron heart and then unknown narrator and his plans.
My favorite scene was surgery and action in climax. It made me nervous and skip my heart few beats. Of course it was bit reckless decision by Galena in climax but I liked how things took turn from thereon. Author could have ended it here making it cliffhanger but I’m glad to see the end of the story and getting the closer. I wonder what might be in next book of the series. And don’t miss authors’ note at the end. It represented book perfectly.
Overall, it was compelling, well written steampunkery historical romance with wonderful world and characters. I definitely recommend this book to fans of steampunk or speculative fiction.
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