By Jay Kristoff
Published May 29, 2018 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
In typical Jay Kristoff fashion, LIFEL1K3 is an action-packed thrill ride of a book. It opens with a gladiator-style fight between robots, and the action never lets up.
Eve is eking out a life on an island that used to be Los Angeles. She has a best friend, Lemon, and she lives with her grandfather, her adorable cyborg dog, and a hilarious robot named Cricket. Life in their post-apocalyptic world is rough. Criminal gangs roam the streets, and a group of religious fanatics are looking to crucify anyone who’s different. Eve fights in the arena to earn money to pay for medicine for her dying grandfather. When she exhibits strange powers during a fight, she gets a lot of unwanted attention.
Eve and Lemon end up on the run with a very handsome android named Ezekiel, who seems to have a past with Eve, but one she can’t remember. As they journey through a hellish landscape, running from a scary bounty hunter and other “lifelikes,” extremely realistic androids like Ezekiel, Eve tries to put together the pieces of her past.
So, there are a lot of things I liked about this book. Eve and Lemon are awesome best friends, and they’ve always got each other’s backs. The post-apocalyptic hellscape the characters travel across is very cool, and I particularly loved the description of a city that’s made of ships that have run aground. The mystery of who Eve is was well done, and there are a lot of cool plot twists (some I guessed and some I didn’t). There’s a mystery loosely based on the history of the last Romanovs. The plot never stops moving, and it’s a very engaging story.
There were some aspects I didn’t like as much. The romance was very blah and did nothing for me. I’m not opposed to fictional human/android relationships, but Ezekiel is really dull. Much of the romance is seen in flashbacks, and I just never felt any investment in it. The tone of the flashbacks is very different than the rest of the book, and the tonal switch is a little weird.
Overall, the stuff I liked outweighs the stuff I didn’t like, and I really enjoyed the book. There is a last act revelation that sets up some really interesting possibilities for the sequel, and I’m very interested to see where Kristoff takes the story from here.
I received an ARC for review from Amazon Vine.