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Publisher's Summary

Critically acclaimed author Nina Varela delivers a stunning sequel to the richly imagined queer epic fantasy Crier’s War, which SLJ called “perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass"

For too long, Automae have lorded over the kingdom of Rabu, oppressing its human citizens. But the human revolution has risen, and at its heart is Ayla. Once a handmaiden, now a fugitive, Ayla narrowly escaped the palace of Lady Crier, the girl she would’ve killed if she hadn’t fallen in love first.  

Now Ayla has pledged her allegiance to Queen Junn, who can help accomplish the human rebellion’s ultimate goal: destroy the Iron Heart. Without its power, the Automae will be weakened to the point of extinction. 

Ayla wants to succeed, but can’t shake the strong feelings she’s developed for Crier. And unbeknownst to her, Crier has also fled the palace, taking up among traveling rebels, determined to find and protect Ayla. Even as their paths collide, nothing can prepare them for the dark secret underlying the Iron Heart. 

©2020 Nina Varela (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers

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What listeners say about Iron Heart

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Slow Burn and Staying True to Their Character

This continuation of Crier and Ayla and their world's journey to a better one, are as expected yet unexpected.

What I have liked and respected about the writing is how the author (Nina) stayed true to her characters. They didn't change overnight! (Finally! some authenticity!)
Their experiences and past lives are deeply seared through to their cores, so their growth pace is just like in our reality.
It's a slow process. Lots of questions, lots of thinking, lots of learning. Simple, understandable and effective.

Even up to the very end, when their resolves are at the climax, a part of their core beliefs persists.

Since this is a love story in a fantasy world, and not a fantasy world that has a love story, the focus is on Crier and Ayla's relationship and how in the world are they going to get back together. Crier's feelings hasn't changed, so this is her journey to finally stand up and search it. While Ayla, who doesn't want to accept her own feelings, has a journey of letting her misplaced hatred go - and finally... give in.

Kim Mai Guest has done an amazing job. Specially in the consistency of her voice acting since the first book.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Crier’s War and Iron Heart are new favorites of mine!

This duology was a wonderful story, read by one of the best narrators I’ve heard on this app!

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Criers war, iron heart, my thoughts about it 😁

This book is all i needed in my life, its so good I seriously cant form words right now 😭. Its that kind of story that leaves you after finishing it just thoughtlessly staring at a wall, the last sentence echoing in your head, and you are just happy.
I love this book so much.

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Worth reading ig

So the duology wasn’t that bad but it wasn’t amazing either. I felt like the characters in general but especially two main characters, crier and Ayla, both weren’t painted to have much a individual personality. The story was confusing and boring and a little to descriptive in some areas. It was a very monotone book. That being said, it wasn’t that bad and it’s worth a read especially if war like books is your vibe. Many ppl said it was queerbaitish but I don’t see it. While I Ioved Ayla’s and criers relationship grow and play out (especially on aylas part) the first book I felt like their was a huge power inbalance that made it a little uncomfortable, and no one ever talked about it. Anyways, it was a decent and creative book. 6/10

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better than expected

a much better follow up to crier's war than I was expecting. the slow burn between the two MC was nice and I liked where the book was heading but thought the follow through was a little clumsy. the wrap up of events happened a little too quickly for me.

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Super-Duper!

Found myself having to explain to my mom why I am screaming, laughing and crying over a book.

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Very satisfied!

All I can say is amazing, such a slow burn that will keep you interested longing for more; Amazingly written.

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Great book

Ms. Varela wrote an amazing story! This book took me by surprise by how engrossed I became while reading/listening to it. I picked it up thinking it was a good deal, but after I know I ended up with a wonderful book. Lovely little romance, drama and some action. Can’t go wrong with that! Definitely recommend this book. The narrator did a fabulous job too.

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in love with this series, hope there's more

after the story began to unfold from all the dates and times at the beginning of the first book I was captivated and this second book has been non stop excitement

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    3 out of 5 stars
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A rushed sequel to an okay series

Hello, this review will contradict most reviews on this series and will include spoilers. The section of the book I am focusing on will be the last 5-6 hours of the audiobook. So, If you'd like to find out what I personally thought, please read on.

In general, the world building, throughout the series, is built through recollection, flashbacks, and stories. While it is inciteful, it is also incredibly boring to listen to something that is told and not experienced. While this series does have events happen, they are not impactful and leaves more to be desired. I will go more into that in the spoiler section of the review. Overall, the setting of the story didn't capture my imagination and it felt too much like listening to a supremacy complex.

The characters in this book were interesting. I find myself liking Ayla and Crier the further the story progressed. Crier is the more interesting of the two because of how her character develops into more of a human than a made. The supporting characters were also interesting and I found that my favorite character was actually Junn. So, overall, characters were well done and I liked how the author threw in stories and poetry. It was really refreshing.

The narration was fantastic and I would love to listen to Kim Mai Guest again.

Okay so the meat of this is the story itself. I am sorry to say that this is an incredibly rushed sequel and I must must must get into spoilers to explain this. Don't get me wrong, the first half of the book was good. The author had events happening left and right. Things were heating up. Then... it just felt like she gave up.

***SPOILERS*** FROM HERE ON OUT***

Okay, so the ending of the book in a nutshell. Crier gets captured by bandits. Ayla is sent out on a scouting mission by Junn. Ayla is attacked by the very same bandits that captured Crier (Coincidently). After they both beat the bandits they make a decision to go to the Aderos mountains to find the iron heart. Along the way they find a band of humans that have the 1 material they're looking for: Tormulin (or however it's spelt). But that's not all! Coincidently, one of the humans is Reika's daughter and she has the special compass to the iron heart! Their celebrations are cut short when they're attacked by shades then captured by watchers of the iron heart. Then they're tortured by Quinoc and saved by Junn who also just so happened to have disabled Crier's father and overtook his palace. They go back to the palace and find Yora's heart in the palace. Then they beat Quinoc and live happily ever after.

Now, my very first thing here is... WHY THE HELL WOULD YOU NOT GO BACK TO JUNN????? I mean really? Ayla and Crier, both respectively 16 and 17, are gonna go stop this genius automae in the most defended place in all the land by themselves? They really thought that somehow some way they would just single handedly stop his masterminded plans and the legions of Automae he had under his control? I mean there's stupid and then there's insane. Remember that at this time, they don't even have the freaking compass to guide them. They're literally just walking in the wilderness hoping to find something, bringing me to...

Too many goddamn coincidences. They HAPPEN to find a camp of rebels who HAPPEN to have tormulin and HAPPEN to have the exact compass they need to find the Iron heart. Then, when they're saved. Junn just HAPPENS to come along in the nick of time, even though it doesn't make any sense how she got there because they shouldn't have a goddamn compass to lead them there. And then when they get to the palace, they just happen to find Yora's heart. I MEAN COME THE **** ON!!!! Please, as a reader this is just insulting. Please don't destroy your own story like this.

And then finally the Plot holes. There's so many plot holes that it makes the story look like a honeycomb. First of all. Tormulin, apparently this stone wasn't as scarce as it seemed, it was just kept secret. SO WHY DIDNT THE HUMANS USE IT IN THE FREAKING WAR???????? You would think that being slaughtered and enslaved would be a pretty good reason to NOT keep something like that a secret. Secondly, how Junn simultaneously rescued Ayla and Crier and overtook the sovereign's castle one after the other. If I remember correctly, it took crier DAYS to reach the borders of Varn. HOW THE HELL DID JUNN GET THERE AND BACK? and Thirdly, why would Quinoc destroy the iron heart when he hasn't found tormulin and his black powder stuff doesn't really work? I mean that's just dumb for being the main bad guy. I'm sure there's more but the more I think about it, the more frustrating this story becomes.

OVERALL: It was a series that could have been great but was brought down due to lazy writing. If you want a queer fantasy novel, there's so many better ones out there that don't fall flat. If you want a romance novel, there are other books that will fit your fancy. This series is subpar and I honestly found it incredibly boring at the end.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Chantelle Robertson
  • 01-09-22

Amazing

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and the way it was narrated,the word naivety is pronounced very strangely though I must say yet it was more funny than irritating and gave the character a more posh accent. I definitely recommend it to those who haven't read it.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Archer
  • 12-01-21

An excellent second installment

This was an amazing sequel to Crier's War and kept me wanting more and more until the end! There was only one thing that stopped me from giving it a full five stars overall and that was the inclusion of they/them characters. It was very clearly 'fan' service for the gender brigade as it wasn't explained whether being a they/them was an identity or if there is a biological arrangement outside male and female which is instantly recognisable by anyone looking at a person. If it was the former, then how did our main characters recognise characters such as hook's partner as they/thems immediately without asking pronouns? If it was the latter, why was it conveniently left out that there are more genders than man and woman in the first book? The way the characters would avoid using gendered language around the they/thems was also very awkward and didn't sound natural. It was pure fanservice and my only problem with this book!

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  • Zooru
  • 09-02-21

epic

so after loving the 1st book I had to get the second. so glad I did, just as good.