Monday, August 12, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: STEEL LILY by Megan Curd


STEEL LILY (The Periodic Series, #1)
BY: MEGAN CURD

EXPECTED PUBLICATION DATE: August 20, 2013
SOURCE: ARC from Author

GENRES: Sci-Fi • Dystopian • Apocalyptic • YA • Supernatural Abilities • Suspense/Thriller • Action • Mystery • Mild Romance

 (Technically 4.6 rounded to 5)

OVERVIEW:

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.

• • • • • • • • • 

**Angels singing... oh wait.. its the minions** Let us take a moment to rejoice. A fresh, new take on supernatural abilities. Ahhhh.... soothes my soul.


I was graciously given this ARC in exchange for an honest review. So you know I'm not kidding when I get excited about a unique storyline. I must admit, I had images of Han Solo dancing through my mind at times. Jaxon was in similar situations and had that same swagger, cockiness, wit and intelligence.


There were a few housekeeping items that I found confusing. Another run through with an editor should have cleared these up. One concern I had was in the first chapter. The setting seemed to induce Victorian images in my mind. Then she talks about subways, masks and holograms which definitely land the reader in the 21st century or beyond. Some catch phrases seemed out of place. If these people are starving in a man made hole, with hardly any food and don't even know what a prison is, how could they know about Wheaties cereal?

   "But you know what? If I piss in your Wheaties, you'll know it. I won't try to hide it with a hologram." 


One other item that was confusing was the actual calendar date. At one point Avery is reading a journal and the date at the top reads 11 June, 2077 - 14 July, 2078. Then the very next line that starts the journal entry is 11 June 2019. I hoped it was just a typo, but there were a few other similar items that made me have a hard time grasping the time period.

That being said, I loved how detailed Curd was in describing the living conditions. The government was in shambles and people lived fear of the truth. There was a great deal of cogs mentioned in the book and I wish she would have explained their importance in more detail. My favorite aspect to the book is the plot. Curd injecting life into a dying genre. She mixed up a whirlwind of ingredients to produce an outstanding, scrumptious dessert of a novel. I can't tell you everything Avery can do, but her supernatural powers are far beyond anyone's ideas. Mix in other super intelligent characters, a rarely used idea of futuristic domes and a super mysterious subplot and you have a book that reminded me of the best all-you-can-buffet around! 

The mysterious secondary characters were shocking and gripping. I loved all the secret passageways, the dark hallways and the sneaking around. 


I found the characters to be incredibly revitalizing and a welcome change of pace. No self-pity monologues, no petty bickering, no rivalries. The girls are smart, resilient and selfless. That's not to say that they didn't have weaknesses or that they never stumbled.  These girls relied upon each other and worked together. Wow. What a concept!  

Jaxon and Alice were my favorite characters. Both of them had gone through so much in their lives and it showed. Even when they tried to hide with their coping mechanisms. They were much better people in the end for it. Jaxon and Avery's relationship was fresh and realistic. They applied self control and thought things through. Here's the kicker... they took their time and were cautious about getting involved. WHOO HOOO!!! **Breaking out the extra large plastic clapping hands and using them obnoxiously loudly** 


So many books these days have the characters jumping into bed, or in this case making out, without knowing the other person, let alone being friends. The co-dependency mantra most books are chanting is quite appalling and I am thankful to Curd that she wrote characters who understood that you have to live along side the other person, not jump into their soul at the cost of your own. Jaxon and Avery had this witty sarcasm banter that I found really appealing. There was so much you could read between the lines. Even their movements told a story. I applaud Curd for taking us on a roller coaster ride when it came to knowing who were the good and bad guys. She developed well defined characters and then twisted them worse than the AVALANCHE ride at Bush Gardens. My jaw dropped several times.


The last bit of the ending seemed a little rushed to me, as if she wanted to wrap up a few of the loose ends and lost track of time when writing. I felt maybe another chapter would have smoothed that section out. None the less, the ending was monumental and I found myself looking for another page. I needed to find out what happened next! So Megan, thank you for a great novel and I am eagerly looking forward to book two! Enjoy everyone :)