Author: Melissa Turner Lee, Pauline Creeden
Title: Armored Hearts
Published On: May 20th, 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Steampunk, Young Adult
Publisher: AltWit Press
Source: Tour Host
When a crippled young lord rescues a girl falling from a tree, it reveals a secret about himself and his mother's side of the family that could put him at the center of a war with beings he thought only existed in fairy tales. Tristan Gareth Smyth lived his entire life stuck at home at Waverly Park, left behind while his Grandfather makes trips to London, all because of his blasted wheelchair. Then an American heiress falls in his lap, literally, and he must find a way to keep her at a distance to protect not only his secret, but everyone around him from an assassin sent to kill him.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
There are few things in this world that annoy me more than reading a review for a book only to have the twists and surprises revealed! With that in mind here we go.
Armored Hearts is an interesting blend of genres in a Young Adult Fantasy/Steampunk story complete with all the swords, sorcery, gear-driven gizmos, & airships that you would expect from such a mashup.
Since he was 12 years old Gareth has had a secret. He’s perfected the noblemen’s condescending attitude and a surly disposition, mainly in order to keep everyone away from him for risk of finding what his secrets are, and also I think that affecting such an air of isolation has gone a bit of a way towards stunting his emotional growth. Not to mention the lack of normal parental guidance.
He’s always been in a wheelchair and since this appears to be set in late 1800’s or very early 1900’s (I don’t recall any specific date mentioned but based on an offhanded remark about possibly the Wright Brothers, I’ll make a guess) handicapped accessibility wasn’t a concern of buildings so Gareth had to endure his pride being wounded to go to and from his room or elsewhere while people were around. But really, would it kill someone to give the guy a bedroom on the ground floor?
There’s things we find out early on about a magical world around our characters that they’re going to get mixed into. And everyone around Gareth seems to have a secret of their own. It’s fun to watch them all come out, and I was pleasantly surprised by a few of them which I thought I knew but was completely wrong about!
The story does a good job of setting up the rest of the series, and really my only complaint at all is that it needs to be longer. We miss huge chunks of time as Gareth grows up where I’m sure there are some interesting details that could be told. We’re given some truly wicked villains but far too little time to enjoy them as adversaries. I really can’t wait for the next book in the series as it seems we’ll be diving deep into the thick of things then.
Armored Hearts was written by Pauline Creeden and Melissa Turner Lee. I couldn’t even begin to tell you which parts were written by whom as they seems to blend very well together.
Free at the time of this review is the short story Winter Fae which tells the prequel story of Gareth’s mother and is much more a fantasy story. I’ve been told to save it until after reading Armored Hearts as I’ll likely enjoy it more that way, so I’ll be starting that next!