My Rating: 2.5 stars: Finished it - take it or leave it (C)
Originally posted: http://www.twimom227.com/2013/02/review-iron-guns-blazing-hearts-by.html
Violet Whitcomb has lived a fairly isolated life as the only child of famous inventor Joseph Whitcomb. After her mother died, Violet spent most of her childhood helping her father with his top-secret creations, the biggest and best of which is about to be revealed.
Traveling through the Wyoming Territory aboard a luxury steam engine, Violet lives vicariously through her weekly reader “The Lady’s Fireside Collection” and the romantic adventures of John “Wild Wolf” Wallace. Yearning for adventure and a love of her own, Violet is immediately taken with a handsome stranger on the train. Soon the safety of her world is shaken when the Iron Scorpion sends his terrifying machines to kidnap Violet’s father. Enlisting the aid of her stranger, Logan McCoy, Violet sets out into the unknown to rescue her Papa.
Violet is extremely lonely, and I empathize with her desires to break out of her father’s shadow and live her own life. Yet, she comes across naive, with an innocent childlike quality, and I am uncertain she could make it on her own. This image of Violet is reinforced time and time again, especially in her interactions with Logan. The lines between stubbornness and childish were blurred as she argued with Logan along the way. I waffled between feeling sorry for and being annoyed with Violet.
Logan is a stereotypical western hero. He is tough and distant, but he is willing to help out the lady in distress. In addition, Logan is keeping a big secret from Violet, and while it is evident to the reader he’s not the man Violet imagines him to be, he continues to allow her to believe otherwise. Although he reluctantly agrees to help Violet, his constant stand-offish and distant behavior wore on me.
I had a hard time connecting with the couple, and I think partially (mostly) that's because the entire story (with the exception of the end) is told from the third-person POV of Violet. Being mysterious and secretive is one thing, but rude and distant is another. Yes, Logan did some kind things, but his attitude rubbed me the wrong way. And without the benefit of Logan’s POV, I had no idea of his true nature or intentions.
I enjoyed the use the weekly reader story, but it was evident that Violet would blur the lines between the fantasy story and real-life. During the rescue of her father, she viewed the situation with a naivety that bordered on reckless. And she saw in Logan the man from her romance weekly, not the true person, even as she was falling in love.
Iron Guns, Blazing Hearts is an enjoyable western adventure, but not the steampunk romance I was expecting. In fact, the romance was pretty much non-existent. Not that it is a prerequisite for a good romance, but there was NO sex - only one kiss is it, and that was on the last page! The developing relationship between Logan and Violet was based on mistruths and outright lies. I really don't know how it is that they came to fall in love during the course of this book.
With that said…. it is an entertaining, simple story. The characters are likable, and the adventure itself is pretty exciting. I liked Violet, but until the end of the book, she came across too childlike and naive, living in a fantasy world - believing what she wanted and not seeing the truth. Things are simple in her eyes and she wants to live the life of her romance adventures. Maybe we all need to be a bit more like Violet sometimes!