by Jay Kristoff
Series: Lifelike #1
Published on May 29, 2018 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
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.
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Another sci-fi novel from Jay Kristoff? SIGN ME UP. LIFEL1K3 was pretty freaking amazing, I have to say. Not that I expected any differently after reading Illuminae (co-authored with Amie Kaufman) and Kristoff’s Nevernight (not sci-fi but a great read).
Take the United States in a dystopian future. Add in robots. Fighting robots, gladiator style. Oh, and a mysterious boy who isn’t exactly. . . human. It’s the recipe for an action-packed story.
I loved Eve’s character. She’s the punk kid fighting robots and taking names, scrapping it out in the remains of a once-human run world. Just as much as Eve wondered about her own history as the book progressed, I did too. Her character was a bit tough to latch on to sometimes because it did go all over the place but Kristoff knows how to create complex characters and she’s no different. If you liked Mia from Nevernight, I think you’ll like Eve.
At her side is the sassy Lemon Fresh (yes, that’s her name). But she’s not a sidekick so much as a strong secondary character. I would totally read a book about Lemon Fresh or something from her perspective because she’s interesting. All of these characters are intriguing and make me want more.
And sure, there were other characters but we’d be here for a while if I talked about ALL of them (except I’ll mention Kaiser because he’s a robot dog and I want one!).
The thing about Kristoff’s books is that there’s no time to ease into the story. You’re THERE from start to finish. Not just in the world but also how the characters act, what they say, the entire history that led up to this point in this alternate universe. The attention to detail is ON POINT.
Now there was a point in the story, somewhere between 50% and 75%, where everything started to lose its luster. My interest began to wane because nothing was really happening but there were too many unknowns to completely walk away from the book. BUT THEN THE ENDING.
So the entire book forces Eve to question what humanity is as she travels with a Lifelike who looks human, almost acts human, but. . . isn’t. When it comes time for the big fight scene, I’m not sure what I expected. I guess for the good guys to either do well and have something come up to carry the book into the sequel, or maybe they lose and that’s the big twist. Or, you know, Kristoff could just take everything I knew about the story and toss it in the garbage. There’s that too.
As with every book I’ve read by Jay Kristoff so far, I absolutely recommend this book, especially for you sci-fi fans out there looking for a bit of robot adventuring. And I am absolutely looking forward to another action-packed gritty dystopian sci-fi so the sequel better get here soon!