By Jay Kristoff
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA Science Fiction
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.
*SPOILER ALERT* I LOVED THIS FREAKING BOOK! Seriously.. I cannot even maintain my maturity while trying to contain the enthusiasm I hold for LIFEL1K3. This was my first encounter with Kristoff’s work *hangs head in shame* but will certainly not be my last. Within mere pages, I knew I was committed and would be dropping everything else in my life like a bad habit. So what happened? A lot!
If I had to sum this up in a few words I might choose something along the lines of “A beautiful collision of Mad Max and YA!” Eve is a young scavenger with a talent for robotics. Having developed her own robot gladiator Miss Combobulation, she competes in the Wardome for the credits necessary to keep her grandfather supplied with medicine and stay afloat. But when Miss Combobulation is diminished to a heap of junk and deemed OOC (out of commision) during a battle, she loses everything. To add insult to injury, when she finds her life in jeopardy as a result, she discovers she is an abnorm who holds the ability to shut down and interfere with electricity with her mind. Now things have become extremely complicated because she is being hunted by the Bortherhood as a result. It doesn’t seem like things could get much worse for Eve. Toss in the discovery of an android boy named Ezekiel Eve’s world unravels on all ends. Simply put- Read this one because I am not spoiling it for you!
“Rule Number One in the Scrap, remember? Stronger together, together forever.”
- Characters – this is quite honestly one of the most ragtag and unlikely but completely compelling ensembles I have ever encountered in a book and they drive this story with incredible force! The real winner here came in the form of Eve’s bestest Lemon Fresh. She stole my heart and ran miles away with it. The relationship established between the two girls is one to be envied and admired on multiple levels. Each individual adds their own layer of depth to LIFEL1K3. Growth and development was on point.
- Post-apocalyptic plots are nothing new, but this feels incredibly exhilarating and charged! Kristoff takes the familiar and really dresses it up, transforming it into something remarkable. The underlying tropes and themes we expect make their appearances do so but never once feel ordinary. There is a constant element of surprise lingering around each corner, commanding attention.
- The world building is crisp and ambitious, opening up a new level of possibilities and exploration. We are supplied with a futuristic setting that seems not only possible but tangible. We have been entrusted with the knowledge of what was and what is. It all comes together flawlessly, creating something that is cohesive and immersive while fully supporting the plot. It feels complete.
- Underneath all of the fun and chaos (because there is a ton!) we still find incredibly valuable messages tucked throughout. Each character holds their own story and secrets. But at the end of the day we are still reminded that life is what we make, we are who we choose to be!
“It’s simple to love someone on the days that are easy. But you find out what your love is made of on the days that are hard.”
Challenges some may encounter..
- Some violence and graphic content with themes of loss (please feel free to contact me if you have questions. I happy to share my experience).
- Having to wait for a sequel? Because I needed more of these characters immediately!
LIFEL1K3 is a high-octane read full of big heart! It delivers an incredibly fast-paced and fun experience with an unexpectedly emotional core that impossible to put down. It left me holding my breath and begging for more. Definitely a top read of 2018!
*I would like to thank Knopf Books & Netgalley for this advanced copy. The quotes included above are from the advanced copy and subject to change. This review is my own, unbiased and honest opinion.
Pair with multiple cups of your favorite black tea. You will want to keep up with this one!
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