Title: Armored Hearts
Author: Pauline Creeden and Melissa Turner Lee
Series: Armored Hearts #1
Publisher: AltWit Press
Publication Date: April 16, 2013
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 find the steampunk genre to be hit or miss for me and unfortunately, this one was a miss for me. And the entire reason was that I hated the main character for 80% of the book.
So let's get this out of the way and talk about the main character Gareth. I don't think I've ever disliked a main character this much and still finished a book (which I guess speaks to the other qualities of the book). I understand that he is bitter because he's in a wheelchair. But I've honestly could not stand him for almost the entire book. He's bitter, arrogant, chauvinistic, self-pitying and incredibly grouchy. It was probably for the best that I read this on my breaks at work, because I couldn't handle more than a few pages of Gareth at a time. About 80% of the way Gareth smartens up a lot, but it's really too late at that to save this one.
Most of the secondary characters felt a bit 1 dimensional. Except for Jessamine, who really is bat sh*t crazy. The sheer amount of effort she puts into Gareth is staggering. Honestly, if it were me, I would have met him once, then said "screw it" and gone back to America. Like this chick is obsessive. In my mind, she is the Overly Attached Girlfriend meme.
I also had a bit of an issue with the paranormal aspect of the book. One paranormal aspect is introduced in the first chapter and then there is nothing else for about 70% of the book, so when that reveal happens, it felt too sudden for me and like the book has madly changed directions.
On the bright side, the fact that I finished this book, despite my intense dislike of the main character, should be a compliment for the authors. I did enjoy the writing and that's what kept me going through this one.
If you like steampunk and paranormal and don't mind extremely unlikable characters and a very sudden change in direction, give this one a try. But if you're like me and actually need to like your main character to enjoy a book, move along.
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