by Jay Kristoff
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.
Jay Kristoff’s latest novel, and first solo Young Adult book, is an explosion of robots, humans and what comes in between that when they mix. Once again he brings the grit and style to a wildly adventurous, intelligent and even romantic book. LIFEL1K3 seemed really similar to movies like A.I: Artificial Intelligence and I, Robot in terms of the subject, the characters development and the way this book really read like a movie playing out in your mind. It was very cinematic just from the descriptive words so it was so simple to imagine these characters and worlds to life. As you can tell early on too, the theme of Pinocchio is very present (even going as far as Eve naming her own robotic confidant Cricket) and the way the robots yearned for what they could never have. There was real emotion from all the characters too, even the android ones because they were so intelligent and similar to humans and clearly superior in some ways.
Eve, the main character, was a young woman at a crossroads with her best friend, robotic sidekick and old foes from her past along the way. I was a big fan of Lemon Fresh (her closest confidant named after the detergent branded box she was abandoned in) and her love interest that came into the story later. Her relationship with her love interest was quickly developed because of the circumstances where a lot of it came back to her in the moment as memories so we didn’t get the full story. I thought it was a good way to incorporate that relationship while still having the focus on the action and adventure and I didn’t have a problem with it. The author does romance and tension very well too as we all know from his more mature books but this one only skims to surface of that non-PG rated material.
I thought this book was a crazy quick read with a really fast-paced plot that left no time for boredom. I didn’t expect to finish it so fast but each time I looked down at the pages I had surpassed another hundred and was closer to the end. LIFEL1K3 is really a love letter to all those science fiction books and movies we all know so well with all the best bits in this one. I didn’t think that it was completely clear what was going to happen throughout the book because I was truly shocked by the events of the last page and so pleased with the direction the story finished with. I had a general idea of what the big secretive stuff would be before it was revealed but I really loved the big reveal from her friend and Eve herself at the end so I’m definitely looking forward to reading on.
(Thank you to Allen & Unwin for a copy of this book for an honest review. LIFEL1K3 is out in stores and online in Australia on the 9th of May!)
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– Kirra // Goodreads