ARC Review + Blog Tour: Iron Heart

If you know me (Anna), you know I absolutely adored Crier’s War. And if you don’t know, you can just read my review of it. So when Shealea @ Caffeine Book Tours announced she’s organising a book tour for the sequel, I immediately decided I need to be a part of that!

So here we are. Below you will find all the details about Iron Heart, five reasons why you should buy and read the book right this second (if you haven’t actually preordered it), and a very sapphic playlist. Enjoy! And please check out the full schedule for the blog tour so you can get more sapphic content in your life!

An unstoppable love between two girls—one human, one Made—both set on destroying the Iron Heart.

For too long the cruel, beautiful Automae have lorded over the kingdom of Rabu, oppressing the humans who live there. But the human revolution is on the rise, and at its heart is Ayla. Once handmaiden, now fugitive, Ayla escaped the palace of Lady Crier, the girl Ayla had planned to kill . . . but instead fell in love with. Now Ayla has pledged her allegiance to Queen Junn, whom she believes can accomplish the ultimate goal of the human rebellion: destroy the Iron Heart. Without it, the Automae will be weakened to the point of extinction.

But playing at Ayla’s memory are the powerful feelings she developed for Crier. And unbeknownst to her, Crier has also fled the palace, taking up among travelling rebels, determined to find and protect Ayla.

As their paths collide, neither are prepared for the dark secret underlying the Iron Heart.

In this stunning sequel to acclaimed author Nina Varela’s Crier’s War, the love that launched a revolution must now pave the way for a whole new era . . . and the ultimate change of heart.


Iron Heart

Nina Varela

Published: 8th September 2020
Goodreads | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository | Indiebound
Rep: lesbian poc mc, bi poc mc, poc cast, side m/nb couple, side mlm & wlw couples
TW: body horror (chapter 6 & 14), panic attack, torture, murder

5 Reasons to Read This Book

One: It’s a sequel to an absolutely amazing Crier’s War and that, in all honesty, is a good reason on its own. If you loved the first book, you definitely want to see what the girls are up to now, how Automae are fairing, how the humans are fairing, if the war that’s been brewing for a while now will happen and what will it bring. Iron Heart works great as a sequel, answers all the important questions, makes you feel welcomed in a world you have come to know and love.

Two: It’s sapphic. It’s sapphic in a very bold and unapologetic way. I have whole pages of quotes saved in a google doc which are showcasing the desire and love Ayla and Crier have for each other. But it’s also sapphic in a very authentic way. Showed in small glimpses, in passing thoughts, in a myriad of minute ways that are all obvious to a gay reader.

Three: The absolute lack of homophobia. I’ve been praising this aspect of Varela’s world ever since I read Crier’s War, but it’s still just as visible in Iron Heart. And I don’t just mean the fact that the main romance is between two girls. I mean that any time someone tells a fairy tale in this book (and it happens quite a number of times), it’s a gay one. Any time someone mentions having a spouse and it turns out to be a gay marriage, it earns no comments on that front. Any time a nonbinary character is introduced, no one has troubles with using correct pronouns. It feels a little bit like a miracle and like a gift.

Four: Plot and twists of it. A lot happens in this book, you will definitely not be bored while reading. And what’s more, Iron Heart keeps you on your toes. Characters reveal hidden layers, their motifs make more and more sense as you learn about their background. Surprises wait at almost every corner, so that rather than an easy sprint from point A to point B, you get a walk through a labyrinth and sometimes even circle back to get to the end. It’s great.

Five: It almost feels like retracing my last statement, but here we go – this book is very much focused on the political side of things. It comes from introducing new characters and from giving old ones (Queen Junn) more spotlight. It makes the whole world feel way more real, makes the stakes of the human-Automae conflict more real, the villains more evil. It allows for some sublte commentary on our world, as well. It basically makes everything better.

About the author

Nina Varela is a nationally awarded writer of screenplays, short fiction, poetry, and novels. In May 2017, she graduated magna cum laude from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts with a BFA in Writing for Screen & Television. Crier’s War was her debut, and this is the sequel. She is originally from Durham, North Carolina, where she grew up on a hippie commune in the middle of the woods. She now lives in Los Angeles.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram


I already prepared a playlist for Crier’s War and you can listen to it here! But now I want to introduce even more sapphic, yearning songs to y’all, so let’s go!

And if you enjoyed this post, please consider supporting me on ko-fi.

2 Replies to “ARC Review + Blog Tour: Iron Heart”

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