Written by Jay Kristoff
Published by Knopf, May 29, 2018
My star rating: 5 stars (is anyone surprised?)
On a floating junkyard beneath a radiation sky, a deadly secret lies buried in the scrap.
Eve isn’t looking for secrets—she’s too busy looking over her shoulder. The robot gladiator she’s just spent six months building has been reduced to a smoking wreck, and the only thing keeping her Grandpa from the grave was the fistful of credits she just lost to the bookies. To top it off, she’s discovered she can destroy electronics with the power of her mind, and the puritanical Brotherhood are building a coffin her size. If she’s ever had a worse day, Eve can’t remember it.
But when Eve discovers the ruins of an android boy named Ezekiel in the scrap pile she calls home, her entire world comes crashing down. With her best friend Lemon Fresh and her robotic conscience, Cricket, in tow, she and Ezekiel will trek across deserts of irradiated glass, infiltrate towering megacities and scour the graveyard of humanity’s greatest folly to save the ones Eve loves, and learn the dark secrets of her past.
Even if those secrets were better off staying buried. Find it on Goodreads
When it comes to Jay Kristoff, there’s something vital that you must understand – Always expect the unexpected. But, even though you think you’re prepared, he will still find a way to catch you completely off guard! And Lifel1k3 is a shining example of that! I am absolutely fascinated with every detail of this book. From the earths destruction, how people are living now, the robots and AI’s, the other things created by big companies….. all of it! There was just so much to soak in and I was loving it every step of the way! I might also mention right off the bat that this seemed to be an Anastasia retelling…… so there’s that!!!!! So exciting right?!
First of all, this book starts with a bot fight – a legit BOT FIGHT! I mean…. I was sold on this book as soon as it had Kristoff on the cover, but this first introduction sealed the deal! This is a little more into the science fiction genre than Illuminae was. There were a lot of robots, genetics, and things created by the players of the plot. It was never overwhelming for me though, but I can see how this will be a little over the top for some people who don’t necessarily love science fiction. But it all made sense and worked so well throughout the story. I appreciated that he used the tech as the plot points throughout the whole book. There are regular robots and then there are Lifelikes. Each of these beings (who were put in place to assist humans), must follow 3 simple rules. It’s those rules that govern and propel the plot and it’s genius!!!
The other thing that was done so well was the female friendship between Eve Carpenter and Lemon Fresh…… that’s right ladies and gents, there is a character named Lemon Fresh! Yes, there’s a reason, but I won’t be telling you! These two were true friends in every way. They were there in the best and worst of times, but especially in the worst. They acted out of pure trust and loyalty, taking action without complaint or question. They had a saying – “Stronger together, together forever” – and it was said and done in the most sincere way.
Along the same lines of relationships, there was also the relationship between human and machine. The lines were blurred and seemed different depending on the situation. On one hand the machine was created for assistance and protection. The machines needed to follow direction and would place themselves in harms way before letting their master/mistress get hurt. But, along the way, humans started to feel for their machines. Some agreed while others strongly disagreed. Though the machines were “created”, it wasn’t believed that one should have feelings for another. It was incredibly interesting to see who fell on what side of the line and why. I can’t say any more without spoiling something, but it made me consider a lot of things. Eve had a robot named Cricket and a mechanical dog named Kaiser, and it was through her relationships with them that we understood that machines may be more human than human.
The writing was in true King Kistoff style. Even though it was a little higher up on the science fiction end, it was never confusing. In fact, some of my favourite parts were the info dumping parts where we were either learning about the world or the tech. But it’s his humour and one liners that made this book shine! The dialogue from the characters (more specifically Lemon Fresh) was so funny and it was as if they were hard asses speaking without a filter. My favourite line was:
“You shake that thing at us again, your sisters going to bed disappointed tonight”
Not only was Lemon and Eve well developed, but they all were! There were main characters technically, but they all felt like a giant cast/team. We learned so much about all of them, they all just felt so multi dimensional! He was even able to write the machines/robots so well that I often forgot they weren’t human….
I also need to mention that there is quite a bit of slang in this book. Both in the way they talk in general and also the tech that’s used. It took me a little bit to get the understanding under my belt enough that I didn’t stutter by reading, but in the end I felt fluent in their language. It actually helped me to dive deeper into the world and the characters! And what an insane world to live in!
And, like I said, expect the unexpected…… the ending had my mind spinning so hard that I didn’t sleep until 3am. It prompted me to ask so many questions!!! And my jaw was on the floor for about an hour.
Safe to say, this book was a glorious masterpiece of science fiction! King Kristoff did NOT disappoint!!! Proved, yet again, why I put him on the throne as my favourite author!!!
Until next time, happy reading!