Sunday, 10 June 2018

LIFEL1K3 by Jay Kristoff: Book Review

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.


Can we just start with saying that I have never been much of a sci-fi fan and then come to the immediate conclusion that LIFEL1K3 is now the reason I might actually consider having metal/cybernetic body parts in the future. I have to admit that I was very weary going into this as I was worried that I might not have the attention span to keep with it or the brain power to process all the technicalities, names, and slang. And whaddayaknow? I was able to prove myself wrong, or maybe Jay is just that great of an author that his writing just has that effect. Besides all that, I have about a billion reasons why I loved this book to pieces.


Eve is introduced as a seventeen-year-old tough-nut teenager with a ridiculously good looking fauxhawk and a ton of skill for building machines to fight in the WarDome where she earns credits to buy her grandpa medication. Most of her time is spent ripping up machines there or avoiding a gang amongst the scap with her best friend, Lemon Fresh, her logika pal, Cricket, and her cyborg dog called Kaiser. The setting is post-apocalyptic Kalifornya, now known as an island called Dregs. We begin to realise that there is more to Eve's past than she had anticipated when a lifelike called Ezekiel shows up almost completely trashed in the scraps and claims to know her as someone else. When the brotherhood show up at Eve's doorstep where her grandpa lives to eradicate her after somehow destroying a gladiator robot in the WarDome with her mind, Eve and Ezekiel have to quickly work together to shut them all down. Until another lifelike shows up and everything goes to hell, along with Eve's perception of who she really is.

“This is not the end of me.
This is just one more enemy.”

Not only does is described as Romeo and Juliet meets Mad Max meets X-Men meets Blade Runner, but it is somewhat of a loose retelling of another story (one I shall not name so that you might find out for yourself and be wonderfully surprised - I did not have that luxury but oh well, I thoroughly enjoyed it anyway)! Once I discovered little tidbits of information and easter eggs of the story, I began to fully immerse myself within the novel. I found some of the slang a little off-putting at first but then I got the hang of it and it started to catch on. Now what really caught me other than the flashback scenes (they were brilliant, by the way. They didn't slow the pace or bore the story at all and I kind of wanted to keep reading about Eve's past) was the artificial intelligence. Logika are basically robots that can think for themselves and feel emotions to supposedly the extent of any average human. Cricket is one example, although he is subjected to the three laws of robotics. Ezekiel and the other lifelikes, however, were not subjected to them and the whole reason for that kickstarts the whole vibe of the story and I just couldn't get enough.

"'I mean it,' he whispers. 'No matter how perfect they make us, they can't make us human. It's your flaws that make you beautiful, (Eve)'. It's the imperfections that make you perfect. Being what I am, I can't help but see them. Or love them."

One thing that I appreciated a lot was how much development Eve went through over the course of the whole novel. Without spoiling anything, I'll say that she starts off knowing who she is and what she does and who she loves as family. As time goes on and more information is revealed to her along with memories that start to resurface - this confuses Eve but she tries to clasp on to what feels real and right to her by balancing the past and the present. With some help from her bestest (best friend), Lemon, Eve is able to figure out her own thoughts on her current status. The amount of twists that this book had really got me left, right and centre but I loved it and the ending killed me but I also need so much more of this universe.

"'So you've had some bad days, no doubt,' Lemon said. 'But I figure, instead of letting your yesterdays bring you down, maybe you can concentrate on building some happier memories today. And that way you'll have them for tomorrow?'"

I'm truly grateful that I got to be a part of this promotion with Allen and Unwin New Zealand. This book has changed everything for me in the sci-fi realm and I'm dying for the next instalment (can 2019 not come any quicker?). It's one hell of a girl power statement and the love between Eve and Lemon is the best platonic friendship I'll ever come across - it is real, it has major development, and makes your heart hurt when they hit a bump in the road. I have given this book a 5 out of 5 stars because I did not dislike a single thing about it and I definitely felt immensely moved by how the story played out. It made me question a ton of things, including if I actually like the idea of artificial intelligence and how polluted the world actually is already and why aren't we doing more to prevent the world from dying? If you're a fan of any of the franchises I mentioned earlier, and just a great action packed novel in general to get yourself going after a terrible reading slump, then get on board with LIFEL1K3! You will not regret this, true cert!

Photo proof that this is a book worth checking out! Lemon is the baddest bestest!

A list of slang used in LIFEL1K3 (in my kiwi interpretation):

• True cert: For certain/Definitely/Legit
• Bestest: Best friend
• Fug/Fugazi: Fake
• Scope: Find
• Kreds: Credits/Money
• Ghost/Ghosted: Kill/Dead
• Fizzy: Good/Nice
• Abnorm: A person with unusual powers
• Recyc: Scrap yard
• Bookie: Bettor
• OOC: Out Of Commission

Thank you Allen and Unwin NZ for sending me a signed review copy!

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Find it on the Allen & Unwin NZ website HERE

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