Book Title: Lifel1k3
Author: Jay Kristoff
Series: Lifelike #1
Genres: YA Fiction, Sci-Fi
Pub Date: 05/29/18
On an island junkyard beneath a sky that glows with radiation, a deadly secret lies buried in the scrap.
Seventeen-year-old Eve isn’t looking for trouble–she’s too busy looking over her shoulder. The robot gladiator she spent months building has been reduced to a smoking wreck, she’s on the local gangster’s wanted list, and the only thing keeping her grandpa alive is the money she just lost to the bookies. Worst of all, she’s discovered she can somehow destroy machines with the power of her mind, and a bunch of puritanical fanatics are building a coffin her size because of it. If she’s ever had a worse day, Eve can’t remember it.
The problem is, Eve has had a worse day–one that lingers in her nightmares and the cybernetic implant where her memories used to be. Her discovery of a handsome android named Ezekiel–called a “Lifelike” because they resemble humans–will bring her world crashing down and make her question whether her entire life is a lie. With her best friend Lemon Fresh and her robotic sidekick Cricket in tow, Eve will trek across deserts of glass, battle unkillable bots, and infiltrate towering megacities to save the ones she loves…and learn the truth about the bloody secrets of her past.
I’ve been sitting here for days trying to determine the best way to review this book; it was so incredible that I’m finding it hard to put into words just how much I loved Eve and her merry band of misfits’ story. I’m terrified that I won’t do it justice, that I’ll keep writing and gushing and raving and STILL won’t capture the special qualities this trilogy’s debut has to offer. I also know that the majority of my following isn’t into young adult science fiction, but this book was so much more than a nerd’s wet dream. After much deliberation, I actually feel those readers looking to ease into the YA Sci-Fi genre, the ones who need a bridge to go from something more mainstream to a book with more pointed interest will take to this heartily. However, if you’ve enjoyed Kristoff’s writing in the past, you will EAT. THIS. UP. Seriously, this might be my favorite book he’s written to date.
Ok let’s talk about the plot. The synopsis makes it sound like this novel is a mash up of so many things that it could go catawampus at any given moment, but trust me, it works. Oh, it works so well. Muahahahahahaha. I buddy read this over a period of four days with Melanie “Meltotheany” Parker, and this worked well because the book is divided into four (more or less) equal parts. We get a few different POV’s along the course of the book, mainly from Eve and her bestest Lemon Fresh, but also in the gang are Eve’s logika Cricket and her pup Kaiser, plus some other peeps introduced along the way. There are machinas and cyborgs and automatas as well, but don’t worry, there are handy guides in the beginning to explain all the terminology that you need to know while reading. Some stuff happens, and our gang is on the run, hoping to not only save Eve’s grandpa but also stay alive for 400+ pages. Because that’s important, ya know? Aside from that, you honestly just need to read for yourself. I sincerely would feel like the worst friend ever if I spoiled one of the numerous plot twists for you.
The twists. Oh the twists. There are twists in the beginning, middle, and end. There are twists you’ll expect and there are twists you’ll never see coming. There are twists that make you leap for joy and twists that make you clutch your heart. Oh Jay, why do you do this to us? My heart is never safe while reading your books. There are twists that seem small and end up large, and there are twists that seem to be plot changers that end up red herrings. Also, there are just plain old bombshells that will twist right on through until the end of book three I imagine. Oh, did I mention that there are twists? Sorry, must have slipped my mind. THERE ARE TWISTS GALORE AND I LOVE IT! You can never let your guard down here folks, because you’ll be merrily reading along on the treadmill and all of a sudden BOOM! There goes your heart and everyone in public will stare at how weirdly emotional you are with your fictional characters. Be prepared-you’ve been warned!
Beyond the twists, fast-paced plot, and just overall well done writing style, the characters are simply phenomenal. I felt emotionally attached to each one, and in a different way, almost as if I was a part of this group and fighting alongside them in this dystopian world. The sense of humor between the gang kept a levity that was necessary to maintain the well balanced narrative here, and it was just so brilliant. Uff. The friendship between Lem and Eve was refreshing, the romance was minor enough to not be obnoxious but also relevant to the storyline, and even the bots were downright delectable. Cricket is such a precious pumpkin and I will fight anyone who tries to hurt him. I have unsuccessfully tried to convince Mr. Humphrey to buy/make/adopt a logika for me in order to live my best life, but he is not having it. *Sigh*
Bottom line- you need this book in your life. Obviously after that devilish cliffhanger (Jay, you rascal you) I’m going to die until the next book comes out, but I guess in the meantime I’ll just fangirl about this one. Ok, so there was a little closure in this book, but still, you’re left with a desperate case of the grabby hands and the gimmie gimmie needy needies. I’m not sure how Mel and I will every find a buddy read to top this one, because it was just so incredibly good. This book will definitely make my highlights of the year, so you should read it too, then we can hold each other and sob over what just happened in this story. Highly, HIGHLY recommended to anyone who enjoys a perfect book.
*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my copy for review.