Lifel1k3 by Jay Kristoff
Published by Penguin Random House
Top 3 Genres: Science fiction, Young Adult, Robots
My rating: Set it on fire/If you have nothing else to read/you need to read it/Run and buy it.
Source: Finished copy provided by Penguin Random House Canada
To buy the book: CA • US • FR • Bookdep
Add to: Goodreads
When I saw that Jay Kristoff, half of the Illuminae duo was coming with a new book, I had to try it! Robots are usually not my thing but I know that this author always brings some modernity to the sci-fi genre. And I was definitely not disappointed!
On an island junkyard beneath a sky that glows with radiation, a deadly secret lies buried in the scrap. Seventeen-year-old Eve isn’t looking for trouble–she’s too busy looking over her shoulder. The robot gladiator she spent months building has been reduced to a smoking wreck, she’s on the local gangster’s wanted list, and the only thing keeping her grandpa alive is the money she just lost to the bookies. Worst of all, she’s discovered she can somehow destroy machines with the power of her mind, and a bunch of puritanical fanatics are building a coffin her size because of it. If she’s ever had a worse day, Eve can’t remember it. The problem is, Eve has had a worse day–one that lingers in her nightmares and the cybernetic implant where her memories used to be. Her discovery of a handsome android named Ezekiel–called a « Lifelike » because they resemble humans–will bring her world crashing down and make her question whether her entire life is a lie. With her best friend Lemon Fresh and her robotic sidekick Cricket in tow, Eve will trek across deserts of glass, battle unkillable bots, and infiltrate towering megacities to save the ones she loves…and learn the truth about the bloody secrets of her past.
A dark future
Do not go into this book thinking mankind did the right choices for the future and that it is bright. No; war and pollution lead to glass deserts and black waters. The sun is unbearable and people live surrounded by tech junk, trying to survive however they can, the Western way (aka only the stronger will live another day). It is the case of Eve, living with her grand-pa, her best friend, and her robot companion. Because if one thing is still working in this world, it is robots. Machina, logica and more, working for humans, bound to their service by the three laws of robotics (yup the ones from Isaac Asimov):
A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.
Add to that some robot fights and big tech companies, and you have a good idea of how the future is in this book: dusty and dangerous!
The question is.. what happens when you make robots better than humans, free of these laws? What happens when you create… Lifelike.
A classic sci-fi question (kind of reminded me of Blade Runners), but it always works! Jay Kristoff brings it with a new twist, with modern characters, but it stays true: do we have the right to enslave beings capable of emotions? of thinking by themselves? is the only difference the way we are built? We follow Eve struggling with that question through the book, discovering the secrets of her past that will change her perception of robots, no matter their « level » of consciousness. And I think we can’t help but wonder ourselves. Would we have made the same choice? How would we react to beings who are not humans, but not simple machines either?
» Look outside that door and you will see a world built on metal backs. Held together by metal hands. And one day, those hands will close, Ana. And they will become fists. »
A (not so) dream team
Another great aspect of this book was the characters: Eve, Lemon, Ezekiel, and even Cricket! They all have a very interesting dynamic and the dialogue where always full of sass and intense feelings! I loved it (especially Cricket answering back to everybody)! This team goes through so many dangers, you can never rest. And of course, they all have their secrets…
Jay Kristoff, the master of plot twists
If you’ve read Illuminae, you know that with this author, nothing is as it seems. Well, it was even truer with Lifel1k3. You think you know something, you understand it… but you are just lead astray. Until Kristoff decides to reveal you more. But even then, you can’t be sure. The uncovering of Eve’s past was like Russian dolls. There was always more. And what to say about the final revelation. MIND BLOWN. It was worth reading this book just for how it ends. Seriously. I’m usually good at guessing plot twists and all. But THAT. Only Jay Kristoff can pull something like that. Brilliant, unexpected and rising even more questions.
In a few words
Definitely, a book to read, even if like me you are usually not a fan of robots. If you like robot stories, I hope for you you already got the book. A dark tale, with blood and pain. With secrets buried deep and kick-ass characters. And most of all, a book to question what makes us truly human?
See you for a cup!