When I heard Anastasia Retelling, I began this book so fast. I always imagined I could be someone like Anastasia, do other adoptees do that too? As if I could be some long lost somebody who could find their family through a series of chance encounters. It hasn’t happened yet, but it didn’t stop me from loving this book.
Seventeen-year-old Ana is a scoundrel by nurture and an outlaw by nature. Found as a child, drifting through space with a sentient android called D09, Ana was saved by a fearsome space captain and the grizzled crew she now calls family. But D09—one of the last remaining illegal Metals—has been glitching, and Ana will stop at nothing to find a way to fix him.
Ana’s desperate effort to save D09 leads her on a quest to steal the coordinates to a lost ship that could offer all the answers. But in the last moment, a spoiled Ironblood boy beats Ana to her prize. He has his own reasons for taking the coordinates, and he doesn’t care what he’ll sacrifice to keep them. When everything goes wrong, she and the Ironblood end up as fugitives on the run. Now their entire kingdom is after them—and the coordinates—and not everyone wants them captured alive.
What they find in a lost corner of the universe will change all their lives—and unearth dangerous secrets. But when a darkness from Ana’s past returns, she must face an impossible choice: does she protect a kingdom that wants her dead or save the Metal boy she loves?
Because I am the biggest Anastasia fan, say hello to my music box in my room and the CD of the soundtrack in my CD player, I couldn’t help hearing the entire narrating voice in Anya’s voice. But besides my extreme disposition to love this book before I even began, I adored this book. The characters were fantastic and diverse, and included a crew, there were subtle discussions of issues of agency, and there was the perspective of our robot friend? This book took things I loved and combined them into this amazing story.
So let me begin with the characters. They are all precious snowballs. I loved Ana from the beginning, duh! I want to save Di too! (Is it weird I can totally imagine making better friends with robots than humans most days? Let’s come back to this another day). Jax was a super special character that only got more amazing as the book went on. And that was the same for almost all of the characters. The ways their story evolved revealed new depths about each of the characters. I am also so thankful we get to see everyone’s perspective through separate chapters! They quickly establish themselves in your heart, making camp, and taking all the prisoners they want.
(I also just found out that MC is on the ace spectrum and that it has been confirmed by the author, just out of cannon. Can this book carve a deeper whole in my heart! I LOVE THIS BOOK).
Issues and Themes
I am in love with how Poston engages certain issues such as agency and consciousness in a variety of ways. There are these vox collars that take away a person’s voice (they can talk, but it’s very painful) which is just terrifying. But also the aspect of robotics complicates the issue too! (This is the softest of all soft spots for me in SF – agency issues with technology).
We become attached to these people, and robots, immediately, and this connection propels you through the plot like a super fast spaceship (which would make a much better metaphor if I knew much about science and speed). But it’s true that these bonds you make carry you through the book, making you rush to finish its pages before bedtime, and often after bedtime. There’s unbreakable vows, daring rescues, and love the defies what we believe in possible. We are caught up in a whirlwind of discovery, betrayal, and conspiracy that runs deeper than we can fathom. It is a truly brilliant plot that has all these elements you may be familiar with but elevated, like a deeper more detailed and realistic Anastasia (which is high praise from me since that’s my favorite movie). There’s also a super cute m/m romance as well that is just pie. So it’s an overall slam dunk in my book.
Go get yourself a copy of Heart of Iron on Goodreads.