Iron Heart

HarperCollins/Quill Tree. Sept. 2020. 416p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062823977.
Gr 9 Up–This is the thrilling sequel to Crier’s War, continuing the action with political intrigue and revolution while also featuring a sapphic love story for the ages. A revolution is brewing in the Kingdom of Rabu, where Automae rule over humans. Having been forced to suffer at the hands of the Automae, the humans, tired of fearing for their lives every day, have begun the rebellion against their rulers. Ayla is directly in the middle of this rebellion, having left Crier and her court to pledge her allegiance to Queen Junn. However, even separated, Crier and Ayla can’t leave behind the feelings they share for one another. This is a richly developed conclusion to the duology that displays the growth Varela has made in honing her craft. Because the first book gives readers the history of the kingdom, this book focuses more on the current events and expands on the characters living through the rebellion. The characters have shown much growth since the events of the first book. What Varela succeeds at most is creating an inclusive world. LGBTQ romances are casually mentioned throughout the story without any prejudice and the two main characters display a slow burn romance brimming with chemistry. Cryer and Ayla are both described as having darker skin and features.
VERDICT This sapphic love story set in a warring kingdom is the latest in a recommended series.

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