Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Two for One Review: Steel Lily by Megan Curd

Steel Lily (The Periodic Series #1)
Author: Megan Curd
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: August 12, 2013

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.

Sheri's Review:
Once again we decided to read a book at about the same time and agreed not to talk about it until we had both finished it. I've been looking forward to reading this book for several months for three basic reasons: it keeps getting stellar reviews, it's classified as steampunk/dystopian, and its self-published. 

Here is my review in 50 words or less: Girl’s parents go missing but other young persons and adults step up to help.  Girl has extraordinary powers while also mistreated.  Girl is persuaded and abducted to leave home.  Girl meets boy and they flirt and they bicker.  Girl discovers the world is more complicated yet simpler than she believed.

My original response: I loved it while reading it on my trans-atlantic flight home.  I couldn't put it down and I was very frustrated when the battery life on my e-reader failed.  What I loved most about the world created by Megan Curd was the idea of the domes themselves.  For some reason I kept thinking about that big silver sphere at Epcot Center and what it would be like to live in a self-enclosed space.  I generally liked the primary characters, even though I am not a fan of the, "girl falls in love with jerk who is really sensitive" storyline between the two main characters. 

I understand why so many have given this book such high praise. Even though I found some of the plot development weak and unrealistic I was thoroughly entertained.  I was also impressed by the quality of the writing and story for a self-published book.  I have only read a few other self-published books and this was definitely one of the most polished I have come across.  The most significant critique I can level at this book is I don't actually agree that this is a great example of STEAMPUNK as I understand the genre.  Had I not heard others identify it as steampunk I would not have.  While steam is definitely a central theme in the book I wasn't particularly aware of references to Victorian culture or technologies.

Pam's Review:
I was a little disappointed in this book.  I liked the premise (Avery being a water Elementalist living in a dome) and I enjoyed some of the bantering between Avery and Jaxon (who reminds me of Jace from The Mortal Instruments), and Avery is quite sassy, which I enjoyed.  Jaxon is the typical obnoxious hottie.  However, I had so many questions that weren't answered and there were things that just didn't make sense to me when it came to plot and characters.  There are so many interesting ideas, but they lack development.  The world building, the characters, the plot...all a bit lacking.  

Overall, the book is fairly enjoyable.  And I agree with Sheri, I have no idea why this is described as steampunk, but maybe I just don't understand what that means.  


  1. All the reasons you listed Pam, are why I typically avoid self-pub books. Maybe that makes me snobby, but a lot of times with self-pub I feel like things are missed (like world-building, characters, plot holes, etc.) Bummer that you didn't enjoy it.

    1. Yeah, self-published books have definitely been hit or miss with me. I don't read a whole lot of them, but there have been a few I have absolutely loved, so I still give them a chance. I just heard so many great things about this one I thought I'd read it. I wish I had enjoyed it more, it did have potential. ~Pam

  2. Pam, you and I practically have the same reviews. And Sheri, I agree -- it was well written and original. The world building was great. I just didn't 'get' steampunk and I definitely was lost and confused by a lot of plot and character choices.

    Here's my review:

    1. So funny that Jaxon reminded you of Jace too. And yes, I just had so many questions that weren't answered, but sometimes that happens with series and Avery was definitely left in the dark so it made sense she didn't know a whole lot. But there were so many things that didn't make sense to me that after awhile I just couldn't overlook it. ~Pam

  3. It sounds like this book kept your attention, but lacked some big world building elements. I'm always a sucker for those types of guys, as long as they don't get too jerky. Glad it was well written for a self-pub. I think I'll wait to see how the next book in the series is received before investing.

    1. It was a fun read, and Jaxon wasn't too jerky so I enjoyed him and the bantering between he and Avery. ~Pam

  4. I do not like when the girl falls in love with a jerk. And I am a little scared about the lack of development. I will keep this one on my radar but it won't take priority over some other reads. I really like the title - just as a side note.

    1. It's an enjoyable read, but with so many great books out there, I wouldn't make it a priority. And he's a jerk, but not too jerky. Sort of the typical cocky hot boy. ~Pam