When I was first contacted by Megan to review Steel Lily it took a while for me to reply. I had not heard of Megan or Steel Lily before, I have never read a steam punk book before, but I also had a small pile of review books to get through. She linked me to amazon so I could read the first few pages to see what I thought, and I can say I was hooked before I even ran out of pages to read.
After World War Three ravaged the earth, domes were built to home the people of the world, however the effects of the War can be clearly seen in people, they were divided into two groups, Traditionals who were normal and expendable, and the Elites, the rich, members of government or elementalists. Avery lives in a world were having the power of an element gives you the advantage over everyone else. She has power to create steam and her power is used to supply the steam generators in Dome Four with steam.
Not only is Avery is an elemental, but also an orphan. With no parents or family to look after her she is a ward of the Dome, and although she is an elementalist, she is not thought any better of, in fact her ability is abused by people of power, police, teachers, and seeing them bully and bribe her to generate steam for them broke my heart. All she can rely on are her friends, Legs and Alice, but visiting them means escaping from the school to visit them in the poorer parts of the dome
Jaxon pierce is a stranger who saves Alice and Avery from being captured by polatzi and takes them to Dome Seven where Chromelius Academy resides. The Academy welcomes Avery with open arms, and Alice is allowed to stay and live with Avery. On the outside the Academy wants to keep the elementalists safe and protected but also free to come and go as they please, but Alice and Avery soon discover that while things look good in this new dome, appearances can be deceiving, and leaving may not be as easy as they think.
Riggs is in charge of Dome Seven, and with his knowledge of elementalists he starts to teach Avery how to control her powers, in the process they discover she is capable of so much more. Xander is a doctor who looks after the elementalists, and also helps the people Jaxon brings in, making them better before sending them back on their way. While in the dome, Avery and Alice share a room with Sari, who is a computer genius. I instantly liked her personality and how she looks out for Alice and Avery. She makes a great third wheel for these friends and together this enigmatic group of friends certainly get up to some mischief, but also reveal deeply hidden secrets. Jaxon plays a big role in these adventures too, and a lot of what transpires would not be possible without him.
Steel Lily is full or rich storytelling and great attention to detail. You read the description of things and you can actually picture them in your head. I really wish a lot of the things described were real, and not just in the pages of a book. Steel Lily sucks you in immediately. The world, the characters, everything about it. Near the end of the book I was shocked, like literally jaw dropping sitting up in bed shock. What I believed all along was quickly wiped away and a whole new picture was painted, one that took a while for me to get my head around.
Steel Lily has so much going on but it's easy to keep track of what is happening, and it only enhances the story, not taking away from it. The minute I finished reading I needed the next book, I have to find out what happens next, and even though there is a sneak peak at what happens next, it's not enough for me.
The following quote is towards the end of the book, and after reading Steel Lily, the quote fits it perfectly.
Because humankind wasn't meant to live in a cage. Someday I would break free and fly. I would fly away far from this place with my family and my friends and never look back. And we would be free. Or we'd die trying.