Review: ‘Lifel1k3’ 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.

I can describe this book in a few words: high-octane, post-apocalyptic young adult inspired by Mad Max: Fury Road and Anastasia. (They don’t mention the latter on the cover, though — I’m guessing it wasn’t gritty enough.)

Things I loved

Eve and Lemon Fresh. These two were the most awesome best friend combo I’ve read in a while: supportive and sassy, with no hint of rivalry — but at the same time each character is her own person, with her own secrets and clear personality. I loved Lemon’s brash ego (and squishy interior) and Eve’s decisiveness and self-doubt. I would read about them alllll day.

Cricket and Kaiser. The blurb calls Cricket Eve’s robotic conscience and that’s true to an extent, but he’s been programmed with a personality that is well-suited to Eve’s and a habit of flipping the bird at people in a way that reminded me of BB-8 giving the thumb’s up. Kaiser is a regular dog … if that dog was mostly robot, given uber-bloodhound powers and programmed to kill. He is the very best good boy of all the good boys.

The plot. I guessed some of what was going on, but that final chapter blew me away. (Trigger warning for a cliffhanger ending. OMG. Is the sequel out yet?)

The lingo. I struggled with the slang in the first couple of chapters, but once I got used to it, I loved the different words in this book: fizzy (awesome) and true cert (legit) and all the rest of them. Kristoff is great at this kind of detailed world-building, and Lifel1k3 is no exception.

One thing I was a little “ehh” on

Ezekiel. He’s the love interest and he’s just kind of … plastic. (And I don’t mean because he’s a robot — his defining trait seems to be love for the mysterious Ana, and that’s about it.) But he can definitely kick ass and is loyal and pretty, so that redeeemed him somewhat. I’m hoping he’ll really come into his own in the second book.

Still, definitely give this one a go, for Lemon Fresh if nothing else! I love my Lemon. ❤