Tuesday, September 10, 2013

eBook Review: Steel Lily

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

Part steampunky, part post-apocalyptic tale, part mystery, part teen hijinks--honestly STEEL LILY wears many hats depending on what you like/focus on.  Admittedly I almost gave up on the book--wait wait hear me out.  Almost from the start Avery is given the worst luck in the history of ever.  Her classmate pulls a cruel trick, several folks in the Polatzi (special police force) take advantage of her 'gift', her parents are missing, her gift makes her ill--and that's not even getting into some of the other stuff.

I'm not terribly fond of heroines (or heroes) who are so heavily tread upon from the get go.  Sometimes, if handled well I'll ignore it and move on.  But we all have those moments of impatience right?

Once the plot starts rolling...well actually Avery acquires almost chronically bad luck (mostly for those around her), but her proactive spirit to survive and help those around her (even the mean classmate) make her likeable.  Also I'm a sucker for sarcasm.

Jaxon (or Jax) is an odd duck to be sure.  He talks a lot, but most of what he says talks circles around itself and half of what he says is to get a reaction.  He's quite full of himself, or projects as much at least, and I found myself quite smitten with his kind of reckless behavior (though if I was in Avery's position I may not have).  His interactions with Avery tend to be him flirting, her smacking him down, him trying harder, her smacking him down harder and so forth.

I appreciated that Curd didn't have Avery just tumble into lust with Jaxon, but not question everything he said.   Until some reveals about his past come about, Jax's actions aren't what you'd call in Avery's best interests.  Secreting her out her first night to do something highly prohibited, talking about escape pretty quickly after knowing her--he seems reckless, problematic and disruptive to the new life Avery wanted to build.  His softer side is shown slowly and covered up by a lot of bluster when caught out.

There's a couple twists in the book that come as a one-two punch at the end, and the supporting characters are certainly worth reading about (Sari is kinda hilarious and Alice wavered for me, she felt less defined then the others, Griggs is oily and swarmy while Xander is...difficult to get a handle on).  I'm eager for the next book (Winter 2013 release, hopefully) and certainly hope that Avery finds some measure of peace eventually.