Steel Lily by Megan Curd
Series: The Periodic Series #1
My Rating: 2.5 out of 5 Stars
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Dystopia, Science Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Starry Sky Publishing
Release Date: August 12th 2013
Synopsis: AVERY PIKE is a commodity. No, more than a commodity. Her existence is guarded at all costs.
She’s a water Elementalist, the strongest of her dwindling kind. She creates steam to provide energy to fuel Dome Four: the only thing standing between humanity and an earth ravaged by World War III. No steam, no Dome. No Dome, no life.
Or so she thinks.
That is, until a mysterious man offers her a way out of having to donate steam. A way to escape the corrupt government of Dome Four. While the offer seems too good to be true, Avery is intrigued. But when she arrives to her new home, she realizes the grass isn’t any less dead on this side of the fence. Instead, the lies are just hidden better.
…Which means digging deeper.
When Avery enlists the help of her friends to uncover the truth, she learns that while some secrets are better left concealed, humankind was never meant to live in a cage. And when you can control the most sought after resource, you can learn to control anything…including the fate of your world.
Steel Lily has an interesting plot and world. Earth has become dangerous and barren after the war, causing humans to crowd themselves into domes in order to protect themselves from poisonous air. Avery Pike, a water elementalist, lives her life in Dome Four giving steam in order to power the dome, all awhile feeling like she’s being controlled.
One day, Avery is confronted by a man who tells her he can give her freedom and a life that isn’t controlled by the corrupt government. Avery is reluctant at first, but is later forced into a situation that requires her to leave Dome Four with her best friend Alice and go to a new home. But Avery soon realizes that Dome Seven has its own secrets…
As you can imagine, I picked up Steel Lily I was expecting an adventure in a damaged world, a compelling story that would keep me reading instead of sleeping. And even after a disappointing beginning, I still kept hoping. Unfortunately, Steel Lily, though it had its merits, didn’t have the adventure I seemed.
Instead, Steel Lily isn’t an adventure through a damaged world but takes place in a boarding school. Not that a boarding school is a bad place for a story to take place, but it just doesn’t work for a book like Steel Lily. The wonder of learning about a different world is gone and replaced by shared rooms and classes.
And even the giving of information wasn’t done well. The information about the war that killed the world and caused people to live in domes? Given through a boring video a teacher makes Avery watch. The rest of the information? Told through dialogue but never explained thoroughly. It all felt very lazy, and sometimes I just felt confused.
The main character Avery is also not a part of the book I loved. Avery is certainly a capable girl and knows how to take care of herself, but it really annoyed me that she always seemed to be merely reacting to things. She is constantly being led around by external forces and rarely causes anything herself. It’s Avery’s friends that collect the information and make things happen.
Speaking of Avery’s friends, I have to say that they were amazing and are probably the redeeming quality of Steel Lily. I loved Alice with her cheerfulness, Legs with his funny personality, Sari with her awesome hacking self, and Jackson with his funny, sarcastic comments (and eventual character development!). And the chemistry and relationships they had with each other and Avery was great.
I can’t say much about the villain, but I want to say that the plot twist that involved him was something I found ridiculous. It came absolutely out of the blue with no build-up at all. It just happened and left me rolling my eyes.
Curd’s writing is strong and well in control, for the most part. Her descriptions were often lovely. But I do think that the dialogue felt a little unnatural at times. A little editing bit more editing definitely wouldn’t have hurt.
Steel Lily isn’t a bad book and I was entertained by it, but lots of things fell flat for me, including an out-of-place feeling romance. Curd had thought up a great premise, it’s just that the execution wasn’t up to par. I might recommend this to a person wanting to try out a dystopia with a little bit of steampunk mixed it… Just be prepared for disappointment.