Author: Jay Kristoff
Year published: 201
- Plot: 4.5/5
- Characters: 5/5
- Writing: 5/5
- Overall: 4.5/5
Lifel1k3 was a rollercoaster ride from start to finish, full of adventure and imagination with an awesome cast of characters. After I finished reading it, I was completely and utterly shook (in a good way). It’s set in a dystopian America where there has been a ‘War 4.0’ (it doesn’t go into much detail) that has left everything is disarray, California has broken off and formed its own little island and everything is controlled by giant tech corporations. Also, there are loads of robots who have, basically, been reduced to slavery.
Firstly, some basic definitions: automata are “machines with no intelligence of their own which operate on pre-programmed lines”, machina are “machines that require human operators to function” and logika are “machines with their own intelligence and are capable of independent action”. Lifelikes are robots that do everything that humans do and more. They are flawless, strong and their wounds heal by themselves. There are three laws of robotics that, in essence state that if you are a robot: your body is not your own, your mind is not your own and your life is not your own. These are ideas that are key themes in the book and they really drive the plot.
The protagonist was a girl called Eve, who lived in The Dregs (what used to be California) with her ill grandfather and best friend, Lemon Fresh. She tried to get as much money as she could to buy medicine for her grandfather by ‘domefighting’, which is a bit like gladiator fighting but with massive robots instead. One day, she accidentally ‘manifests’ during a fight and destroys a colossal automota with crazy mind powers she never knew she had. Overall, I thought she was a very determined character and she was very loyal to those she loved.
“This is not the end for me.
This is just one more enemy.”
Eve went through quite a lot in the book (and when I say a lot, I mean A LOT) and I’d say she handled it pretty well although instead of having a character arc, she had more of a ‘character downwards spiral’ and by the end she was very literally a completely different person full of vengeance and anger. I’m interested to see how her character will continue to develop in the next book.
For me, Lemon Fresh was the star of the show. She was the best friend anyone could ever ask for and she had sass on demand.
“I’ll have you know I take my fabulosity very seriously…”
Her friendship with Eve was so adorable and they even referred to each other as their ‘bestest’ (seriously where can I find a friend like Lemon Fresh). They also had a really catchy slogan:
The villain person was ‘Preacher,’ a mysterious bounty hunter who was hell-bent on killing Eve for the entirety of the book. I still don’t fully understand his role in the story, but I suppose we will understand in the later books.
Ezekiel was a Lifelike and rather boring but his romance with Eve was quite sweet.
“Your father gave me life. But you were the one who made me live.”
I guess Ezekiel could have been more interesting if he wasn’t a cardboard cut out of the ‘classic YA male love interest’ trope. Although, he most certainly wasn’t perfect.
The other supporting characters were Kaiser, the loyal cyborg dog who I adored and their was also a
little robot called Cricket who seriously reminded me of Jiminy Cricket from Pinocchio (you know, ‘let your conscience be your guide!’) because he was so serious but in a cute way and worried about everyone’s wellbeing all the time.
In general, the book was about accepting everything in your past, the bad and the good, and moving on with your life.
“Your past doesn’t make calls on your future. It doesn’t matter who you were. Only who you are.”
It also emphasised the importance of friendship and the fact that although all of the characters had lost everything, they found each other and made each other their family.
The writing was amazing (as per usual when we’re talking about Jay Kristoff) and the world building was incredible. There was everything from giant-sea-sweeping-octopus-things to deserts made of glass.
Overall, I thought it was a thrilling read and I’m still recovering from those gargantuan plot twists at the end.
Have you read Lifel1k3? What did you think?