Review - Lifel1k3

Title: Lifel1k3
Author: Jay Kristoff
Publisher: Knopf
Series: Lifelike #1
Published: May 29, 2018
Source: bought
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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.


Despite having Kristoff's solo adult novels on my shelves since 2012 I had only ever read the Illuminae series that he co-wrote with Amiee Kaufman (which you totally need to read if you haven't), but when I heard he was writing a solo YA novel that was coming out this year I decided I would finally dive into a book written entirely by him.  I honestly wasn't too sure what to expect considering I'd only read his co-written YA work and his adult stories have been known to be somewhat hit and miss, but in the end, I was pleasantly surprised with what I got.

First things first I went into this book thinking that it fell more into the sci-fi genre, but having finished it, it feels like more of a dystopian novel with sci-fi elements.  There's nothing wrong with that and either way it was still good, but in case you were looking for something hard-core sci-fi like Illuminae just be prepared for something different.  That being said the sci-fi elements were really strong in some parts of the story, and what I consider a huge part of what makes a good sci-fi story, some kind of larger question about humanity/life/ect., was something I found very prominent in the book.  The setting though, completely dystopian, through and through.  It might sound a little weird, a dystopian world with a mostly sci-fi plot, but I thought it worked surprisingly well and really enjoyed it.

While the plot was fairly original and I enjoyed a lot of the questions brought up in the book I think my favorite thing about it has to be the side characters.  Now, I don't want to say that there was anything wrong with the main character and her love interest, they were fine, but I found myself hoping to see more of Lemon Fresh, and getting excited when we got to see things from her point of view.  If Kristoff wrote a book about Lemon Fresh I would read that in a heartbeat, doesn't even matter what was happening in it.  I'm really hoping we'll see more of her in book two because she's probably my favorite character.  Cricket probably came in second as far as favorites go, and even the Preacher was interesting enough that I'm also hoping we'll get more from him in book two as well.  No

There were a few things that I felt detracted from the book slightly, the main one being that you're just dumped into the world without much explanation.  When I was discussing the book with some bookseller friends of mine I noted that it felt very Maze Runner-esque in the sense that we're just dropped into a world that has it's own unique slang without explaining what any of it means.  Most of it can be figured out from the context and there were some explanations, but it still would have been nice if the explanations that were provided were given earlier.  I also pretty much saw all of the plot twists a mile away.  The last thing that bugged me was the fact that almost every aspect of plot could have been avoided if someone had just told the main character the truth.  Granted, this is probably true of SO MANY books out there I'm not entirely sure I can fault this book for doing it too, especially because the very last twist is something that probably SHOULD have been kept a secret for the main character's protection, whereas of all the other things didn't need to be kept secret at all and were obviously going to come out eventually so keeping them a secret was stupid to begin with.

As a whole, this was a really entertaining book and I can't wait to see where the next one goes.  The fairly unique concept, along with the fascinating world and delightful side characters combine to create a story that kept me flipping the pages until the very end.  It also hits the ground running and never lets up, which makes it an excellent choice for reluctant readers.  There's a lot to think about with this book, which is something I really loved, and there were some surprisingly deep quotes to go along with all of the deep thoughts I was having while reading.  Based on how I felt about this book I hope I'll have time to get to some of his previous titles, and I certainly can't wait to see what he comes up with next, both alone and with Amiee Kaufman, because he's one to watch.

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