“Your scars tell who you are. Your skin is the page, and your scars are the ink, telling the story of your life. And your scars make you beautiful.”
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 have so much to say about this book that I can’t possibly fit it all in a single review. Lifel1k3 was my first experience with Jay Kristoff, and I’m utterly astounded by his phenomenal storytelling abilities, and gorgeous world building. Not to mention, each and every one of his characters are so heartwarming and unique! I haven’t adored a cast of characters this much since Six of Crows and Throne of Glass. Although I (regretfully) haven’t seen Blade Runner or Mad Max before, I’m aware of what their settings are like, and love the inspiration both had on Kristoff’s world. This story is a roller coaster from the start to the finish, filled with a plethora of twists and turns. Nearly every chapter begins with a short fragment of Eve’s past. These pieces are heartbreaking, enticing, and shown in such broken pieces, that I couldn’t help longing for more.
Eve is so wonderfully complex and multi-dimensional. Living in the slums of what was once known as the beautiful state of California, isn’t simple. This brutal, post-apocalyptic future is merciless, and no one understands this more than Eve. She relentlessly works at constructing a robotic gladiator, so she can compete in the War Dome and win credits to pay for her grandfather’s medicine. It touches my very soul when I see a character whose driving force is love for a family member. Eve’s constant worrying over Silas’ well being is super sweet, and you can’t help but adore these two. When the gladiatorial match doesn’t end as planned, she winds up becoming the target of a corrupt gang. One thing I truly admire about Eve throughout the story, is how she allows her weakness to show. She is often confused, cries, and even shuts people out when she needs time to control her emotions. The circumstances she’s thrust into and the paths that lie before her are arduous, but it’s so exciting to see her face them with her head held high.
Miss Lemon Fresh and Cricket deserve some medals. Firstly, can I just say how much I appreciate the originality of her name? Lemon Fresh steals the show. She is one of the fizziest characters I’ve ever had the pleasure to read about! She’s snarky, witty, and has more spunk than all the Guardians of the Galaxy combined. Wonderful as her sass may be, her loyalty and devotion to her best friend is even more brilliant. I love close friends in stories, and haven’t seen a relationship crafted this beautifully since Frodo and Sam – yes, the golden duo! She’s become one of my all-time-favorite characters, and I can’t wait to witness what she brings to the table in the sequel. Cricket is Eve’s loyal little robot, who is programmed to protect her as well as any other human no matter what. His sarcasm and attitude, crack me up, and I love reading everything he has to say! I also found it hilarious whenever he would grow irritated at being called little. It reminded me of Edward Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood!
“Romeo x Juliet” style romance, not so much. I have a love-hate relationship with the romance in this novel. As much as I cherish science-fiction novels, I always struggle to cope with the idea of a human falling for an android. My mind simply can’t fathom this paradox. With that being said, I think Jay Kristoff did a fantastic job constructing his romance in a way that felt almost natural. Ezekiel is a true gem. I loved him to pieces, and his innate kindness is absolutely perfect. Lifelikes are outlawed in this world after a few rebelled against and murdered their creators, so seeing Ezekiel remain devoted to something stronger than his own discrimination, touched my very soul! After Lemon, he would be my next favorite! If Kristoff’s characters are this splendid, I seriously need to contemplate why I haven’t read the Illuminae files yet!
The world is magnificent in every sense of the word. Inspiration from Terminator, Madmax, and Blade Runner is decidedly evident in the setting, but the story Kristoff presents is certainly original. The Dregs is impressively depicted, uniquely blending together a post-apocalyptic wasteland with a world dominated by machines and technology. How have I never read a cyberpunk novel until now? These types of settings fascinate me, and I don’t think it’s likely my appetite for a similar universe will ever be sated. I also loved the idea of Babel. The biblical reference to it is so clever and fitting! Be warned, for there is a cliffhanger, which will have you ripping the hair off your head in anticipation for the sequel!
Why haven’t I read a cyberpunk novel like this before? I now realized how much I miss science-fiction YA in general. How technology intertwines with either modern-day societies or post-apocalyptic ones, intrigues me so much, and I love how Kristoff explores the genre. Overall, I loved every bit of Lifel1k3 and think it can be enjoyed by all readers. The themes of love, redemption, oppression, and so many others are beautifully shown, and I loved how this story raises questions about what it truly means to be alive in this cruel future.
That’s all folks! Have you read Lifelike before? Do you know of any other cyberpunk books? Should I read the Illuminae files already? Let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading!Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads | Bloglovin