LIFEL1K3 (LIFEL1K3 #1), by Jay Kristoff
Publish Date: May 29, 2018
Published by: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA Sci-Fi/Dystopian
My Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3 out of 5 stars)
**I received an egalley of this from the publisher through Edelweiss in return for an honest review.**
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.t.
When I first heard about this book, I kneww I wanted to read it mainly because of Jay. I’ve loved everything else I read by him, so I had high hopes for this one as well. Sadly, I just don’t think it hit the same spot as his other books have done for me in the past.
The first half of the book felt great. It was fast-paced, with great world building, and a friendship that I knew I was going to absolutely love (Lemon Fresh is the best). But then halfway through the book there was a short lull – a breather, if you will – and for some reason I just didn’t feel as invested after that. Almost all of the mysteries had been answered, I had predicted most of them (why this book is being promoted as a Romeo and Juliet-esque story is beyond me, when it is clearly, and almost obnoxiously, Anastasia) and while the pace and action picked right back up I just didn’t feel invested in the story anymore. I ended up having to drag myself through the last half, where there were a lot of the exact same reflective moments of character growth (how many times does Eve/Ana have to tell herself that she won’t let her past define her future??) and just not a lot of shocking moments. Sure there were a few twists thrown in at the end that I didn’t see coming until about a page or two before they happened, but they didn’t really shock me or anything.
I really wanted to like this book because I love Jay Kristoff, but I think something just fell a little flat for me. It might have been the characters – Eve was definitely a type I have read before far too many times to make her feel really original or interesting to me, and the romance felt so insta, which I absolutely hate (she and Ezekial knew each other for only months and seemed to have minimal interaction and in one night they kiss and have sex and it just seemed to rush into the romance way too quickly for me to really enjoy it).
Like I said, the beginning was great, with lots of fast-paced action and character relationships that seemed to hold the potential for some really interesting developments, but it became so chock full of tropes and repetitive character reflections that I lost interest halfway through.