Title: LIFE L1K3 (LIFE L1K3 #1)
Author : Jay Kristoff
Publisher: Knopf Books For Young Readers
Publication Date: 05/29/18
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.
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“‘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.”
“It’s Romeo & Juliette meets Mad Max meets X-Men, with a little bit of Blade Runner cheering from the sidelines”
–> That, my friends, is how this novel was pitched and I mean.. can you imagine anything living up to those bold expectations??
Because Jay Kristoff can.
LIFE L1K3 totally met my expectations and was so engaging, from start to finish.
This was my first novel by Jay Kristoff (will NOT be my last) and I have to say… I have been utterly impressed with the brilliance of his writing. He has such sneaky little ways of alluding to other works of literature and historical events. Pretty much any name that you read, of a character, location, etc.. has not been chosen without significant thought put into it. And as an educator–I always appreciate little tidbits like this in novels that can be used to spark conversations between people in regards to literature and history. The entire plot of LIFE L1K3 is a giant nod to an interesting piece of history– see if you can find those nuggets of reference!
It’s hard to describe the plot much differently than the synopsis above because there are just so many little twists and turns that would be considered spoilers. The pace of the plot does not slow down for the entire duration of the novel, and I absolutely loved that. Want to talk about action-packed?! You have battles between giant robots, shoot-outs, hand-to-hand combat, massive explosions, underwater escapades, a car chase through a ‘natural’ disaster…. I could go on and on. This was so very different from other SFF books I have read, in such a good way! All the comparisons you have seen people make with this book are all just perfect–X-Men, Mad Max, Fallout, Blade Runner, etc..
The action wasn’t the only thing driving this storyline though. This novel was so heavy on strong characters that make you just fall in love with them. But be warned–I had heard before that ‘no character was safe’ with Jay Kristoff–and that is SO true. Brace yourself and don’t be surprised when you find your eyes leaking all the tears all over your ereader/book.
Evie— Eveis a strong, compassionate young woman who has went through some extremely difficult things in her life. You can typically find her accessorized with her high-voltage baseball bat named Excalibur and accompanied by her sidekicks– Lemon, Cricket, and Kaiser.
Lemon Fresh–yes, her name is Lemon Fresh!!–is the most fiercely loyal and badass best friend a girl could ever ask for. Their friendship was so beautiful and meant more to me emotionally than the romance that is presented in the novel. She has short, cherry red hair and freckles and provides the best comedic relief to the novel by way of her quirky humor and no-filter sass. Honestly, I wish we would get a novel about Lemon’s life because I am so attached to her personality.
Ezekiel— Evie and Lemon stumble across some wreckage in the scrap where Ezekiel (Zeke, as we come to often call him) is found lying injured among the rubble. Zeke is a lifelike.. a special type of andriod/bot that has perfectly-human features and… does not have to abide by the three laws that bind other robots (which can be a very dangerous thought!). Zeke is SO likable… I instantly loved him and he really added a lot of philosophical conversation to the novel.
Cricket— This little bot was created by Evie’s grandfather in order to be her companion who will keep her safe and out of trouble. Cricket is a tiny little guy (but do not say that to his face!) with a big heart and a lot of spunk.
Kaiser— I’m a sucker for a loyal pup… such a sucker! I immediately fell in love with Kaiser. He is a unique type of bot that uses organic matter and his type of bot–a blitzhund–is designed to protect their human(s) and come equipped with an explosive unit that is very much a self-destruct-type weapon.
Another thing that I loved that I cannot go without mentioning–the slang usage in this novel! Because this is, in many ways, a post-apocalyptic type novel, presenting a nation that is very different from our current, locations have new names, different names are used for things, and the colloquial slang is so fun! I laughed out loud at some of the things that Evie and Lemon said.
Whew! That ending though…. I really didn’t see that coming at all, although, in hindsight, I should have. LIFE L1K3 has one of those endings that leaves you thinking ‘ahh, well this changes everrryythinggg” and desperately needing the next installment. This will absolutely be a series that I continue with and I now need to go purchase everything Kristoff has ever published (that’s not a joke..).
“It wasn’t possible to live in a world like this without being scared, she knew that. And beign afraid was okay sometimes–fear was what stopped the Bad Thing eating you. But she realized it wasn’t being frightened that had cost her the things she loved. It was becoming paralyzed by it…
…It was okay to be afraid.”
Thank you to Knopf Books for Young Readers and Jay Kristoff for providing me with a DRC of this title via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.