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What: LIFEL1K3 (Lifelike #1) by Jay Kristoff

Who: Allen and Unwin

When: May 9th 2018

How: A copy of this novel was provided by Allen and Unwin for review.

RRP: $19.99 (AUD)

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.

LIFEL1K3 is, in fact, my very first Jay Kristoff book. I know, it’s kind of surprising considering he’s such a big name Aussie author. But hey, I finally read one of his books! And it was weird and kind of badass.

With the way LIFEL1K3 started, I had no idea what I was going into. It starts with a kind of Transformers-style… robot Hunger Games. That’s honestly what it felt like. And instead of going back to read the blurb like any good reader, I decided to keep going and see what I was getting myself into. And I got myself into some Weird Shit.

LIFEL1K3 is, essentially, a book about a girl – Eve – and her best friend, Lemon, her dog, her robot friend, and her dying grandpa. They’re all getting by doing these robot fight things, but then shit goes down when one of the robot things dies when Eve is about to be crushed. So then these creepy religious people come and try to take her away, but before that she discovers Sexy Robot Boy who keeps calling her a different name.

Honestly, if I told you anymore than that, the revelations and storytelling in LIFEL1K3 would be kind of ruined. But I hope you get the gist of the kind of story that LIFEL1K3 is. Weird, convoluted, messy, hare-brained. And yet somehow… it worked. There was something about LIFEL1K3 that made me keep on reading. I don’t know if it’s because I liked the characters, or because the world is so different from any other I’ve read about, or that I liked the romance, or I just wanted to know what the hell was going on. But I know that each of these played a part in me finishing LIFEL1K3, but none of them blew me away. It was like all of them were necessary for me to enjoy otherwise it just wouldn’t have worked. Because I didn’t fall head over heels for any aspect or character in LIFEL1K3, but I’m kind of okay with that because I enjoyed the book as whole, and a sum of its parts, rather than deeply loving one thing.

That being said, though, because I didn’t adore any one thing about LIFEL1K3 I wasn’t overly invested in the lives or futures of any of the characters – except the dog. I can always be counted on to care about the animals and pets in books. So when the Big Reveal came later in the book I just wasn’t surprised, and when the Shock Ending happened I was more… perplexed and underwhelmed by the sudden character change than anything else. I guess that comes when you enjoy a book but aren’t waiting with bated breath for whatever comes next.

I know that LIFEL1K3 will be perfect for some readers. I know that some readers will fall in love with things that I only fell half in love with. I know that some readers will think that the ending is the most badass, shocking thing to happen. I know that some readers will have their hearts broken by the big reveal. I know some readers will adore this book. I just wasn’t one of those readers, and I’m okay with that. I enjoyed my time reading LIFEL1K3, and I’m pretty sure I’ll read book two.

© 2018, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.

trigger warning

use of ableist language, murder of family (graphic), ableism, abduction, physical fights, suicide, animal injury, attempted suicide, physical assault, explosions, multiple murders, death of grandfather (cancer), reference to injuries received from explosion (coma), animal death

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Posted on: May 15, 2018 • By: Chiara

8 Responses to Review: LIKFEL1K3 by Jay Kristoff

  1. I’m still excited to read this one! Kristoff’s solo books can be a tad hard to get into at times though. I usually need about a 100 pages before I’m really invested in it.

  2. I agree with how you mentioned the ending and the character change. Even though Jay is one of my favourite authors, I wasn’t jazzed by this book. I enjoyed it, and will read book 2, but I called all of the plot twists in this one unfortunately. His writing (and the dog, yesyes) kept me turning pages. Great review. ^_^

  3. I’ve read the first two in the Illuminae files and love those, but I’ve never read a book by Jay alone. I do want to though! I’m a bit curious about this one. I’m sorry it wasn’t that exciting at the end, but it’s still good to know that all the pieces together made it a fairly enjoyable book where you at least wanted to keep reading! Sometimes that’s all you really need. :)


  4. I’m definitely with you on this haha. I really liked how wild it was and the humour was A+ and I looooved the dog. (Every time he got hurt I was WROTH AND GOING TO WAR TOO). But it was so predictable.?All the comparative titles on the front where literally spoilers and the Big Reveal had me going “well duh.” I’ve read that SO many times. Hehhh.

  5. verushka says:

    I’ve been so curious about this, and this review has made me more curious if anything!

  6. Lindsi says:

    I’m still undecided on this one! When the cover said “X-Men” I was interested, but I don’t know…

    Haha! I always form an attachment with the animals in books! I seem to care more about what happens to them than the actual people. I hate that a lot of authors put pets in books JUST TO KILL THEM LATER. Sorry this wasn’t a better fit for you!

    L @ Do You Dog-ear?

  7. Kelly says:

    I think the strangeness is what attracted me to this one in the first place actually, the blurb sounded quirky and mysterious and I enjoyed both Illuminae and Nevernight as well. I haven’t read this as yet, starting this week actually but I’ve heard such mixed reviews. I’m always first and foremost for animal characters within storylines too. It reminds me a little of the Defy The Stars series by Claudia Gray, AI boy, human girl and he discovers his own humanity among dying worlds. Brilliant review Chiara, sorry you couldn’t have enjoyed this a little more but glad you liked it overall ♥♥♥

  8. How… unexpected? Odd? Peculiar?

    I personally haven’t picked up any solo Kristoff books because I hear his writing can be quite graphically violent. That’s not something I do. But I am always intrigued to read reviews of his books. They all tend to either be gushing piles of love or, well, what you wrote. More of a “Well. That was strange, but somehow it works!” review.

    I appreciate the list of trigger warnings. Did you find any of these things triggering during your reading?

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