Sending a huge thank you to the folks at Random House Children's Books for sending me an e-ARC of Jay Kristoff's LIFEL1K3! Keep reading for my review of this fun, post-apocalyptic tale!
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.
^ See those numbers up there? That's four out of five stars, which means I really enjoyed this book. I'm gonna need y'all to keep that in mind because I prooomise that I really did actually quite like this book a lot, despite the complaints I'm about to drop. But first, the good!
Jay Kristoff is amazing at creating characters. While the MC, Eve, was by far not my favorite, she's still pretty great. The beauty of LIFEL1K3 lies in its supporting cast. Miss Lemon Fresh is one of THE BEST characters I've read in 2018 and I'd honestly like an entire series that focuses just on her getting every person she comes across to unwittingly admit how cute she is. The plucky little- hee hee- robot Cricket is also a delight to read.
LIFEL1K3 is a fast, fun read, with lots of humor. The world building is excellent. I absolutely love the vibe that Kristoff created with this story, while not wholly original, it's definitely something I haven't really seen in YA specifically.
Speaking of originality... There were times that LIFEL1K3 felt so, so derivative. It's SO Blade Runner-meets-Mad Max, but with dashes of Pinnocchio, biblical stories, and another something that I'm not gonna actually say because SPOILERS. And derivative doesn't always mean bad! Everything is derivative of something these days! I just really wanted a bit more Kristoff in this one that I felt like I got. His Nevernight books feel so original, and I guess they've set the bar pretty high for his writing because I feel like LIFEL1K3 just doesn't quite reach that level.
My other complaint is with the character development. I felt like it all happened off the page, before the story even started. I won't go into detail with this one because SPOILERS but I really didn't see many characters grow, either individually or in their relationships with each other, until the very end of the book.
Overall though, LIFEL1K3 is a really fun book to read, with a stellar, if predictable, ending. I can't wait for the sequel, and Jay Kristoff remains one of my favorite authors.