Official Rating: 2.5/5
“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.”
I honestly love the title Steel Lily as well as how the name arrives in the book. I rather enjoyed myself reading this, but I still had to give it a review of 2.5.
Avery Pike, the heroine, wasn’t as complex as she needed to be. In a dystopian world where you can hardly trust yourself and, in Avery’s case, your class hates you because of your abilities, you need to be complex. Firstly, you need a poker face. Throughout the whole book at least three characters comment on how Avery’s face is a snitch when it comes to how she feels. And this never changes, which I will get to shortly. Secondly, be more than just your superpower/what makes you stand out. Besides Avery’s special power, there wasn’t much to her. She was just a pawn in her own book! Avery felt very naive to me and for the most part, just wandered around hoping to uncover “secrets” even though she wasn’t doing much. All of the secrets were conveniently given to her by a few of the friends that she surrounds herself with. It wasn’t the heroine the world needed after what everyone says was a terrible World War III, which I will also get to later. Thirdly, don’t swoon over the first guy you meet. It’s just so sad. All it takes is one look and suddenly “Does he feel the love too?” Please don’t do that, focus on your goal in life, you know, the one that involves people you love that may die? Thanks. Curd tried to make Avery seem somewhat quick-witted, someone who bravely (or stupidly) pushed her captor’s patience to the limit, but it fell flat. I found myself rolling my eyes when she tried to be a smart-aleck towards anyone besides Jaxon because at least Jaxon wasn’t taking her seriously. She never fixed her poker face issue either, she just continued to walk around with her thoughts written out on her face and eventually everyone just accepted it. It was very unrealistic.
Speaking of Jaxon, I’m still having trouble picturing him with dreadlocks, but it’s an interesting hair-style choice. I have to give props to Curd for choosing it because I was surprised. He still had the traditional blue eyes, but the dreadlocks kept it from being totally cliché. Jaxon was a tortured hero (literally) and I liked his character. He wasn’t a 24 by 24 inch Rubik’s Cube with 9 different colors, but he had some complexity to him. Some of his banter with Avery and the rest of his friends made me smile and the occasional vulnerable moments he had were well done. He needed some improvement when it came I felt that the relationship between him and Avery was a bit rushed. They didn’t have all of eternity to develop it, but it moved from stage to stage too quickly.
The plot was interesting and I liked it, but it was missing some things. There was no world building. All I knew was that there were domes, some domes had bad air, and the dome that Avery lived in runs on steam. Otherwise, there wasn’t much history at all. You weren’t told much about World War III, who fought in it, what caused it, and other stuff that you would need to understand why the world has changed so much. There definitely could have been more information on that because I was lost.
The whole reading experience was almost ruined because of Curd’s unnecessary need to insert sexual tension. There was no sexual tension whatsoever and the story would have progressed just fine without at least two characters insisting there was tension of some kind. They never went farther than making out, but their “sexual tension” was uncomfortable. It was equivalent to sitting with a couple and you’re actively being the third wheel but each time they look at you, they automatically have to start making out. That’s awkward. There were inappropriate conversations passed between Avery and Jaxon that I absolutely hated and I was ready to completely drop the book. I was honestly going to give Steel Lily at least a 3.5 rating, but because of the sexual innuendos I dropped it down to 2.5 and would not recommend the book.