LIFEL1K3 — Jay Kristoff (ARC Review)

May 18, 2018

LIFEL1K3 by Jay Kristoff

AUTHOR: Jay Kristoff
SERIES: Lifelike, #1
RELEASES: May 29th, 2018; Knopf Books for Young Readers
GENRE: Sci-fi/Dystopian
SYNOPSIS: 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.


Anyone who’s been following my blog for a while probably already knows this was one of my most anticipated releases of the year, so it’s no surprise that I loved every second of it, but just saying “I knew it!” wouldn’t make a very good review, so strap yourselves in and let me tell you why I loved LIFEL1K3 so much—and why you need a copy or three of it in your life.

“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. And they will become fists.”


First, the world-building in this book is exquisite. There is so much history to what has brought the world to the point it’s at, whether it’s the tidbits about the world wars, the natural disasters that led to California’s splitting from the rest of the country, or the havoc that mega-corporations have wreaked upon the world. There are a healthy variety of robots to choose from, too; you’ve got your lifelikes, your logika, your little bots like Cricket, your blitzhunds like Kaiser—list goes on. I loved the fact that we got to learn so much about the array of mecha floating around, as it furthered the sense of immersion to the point where it began to feel like these wastelands could’ve just been a crystal ball into our own futures.

Rule Number Three in the Scrap: Carry the biggest stick.

Not only is everything wonderfully fleshed out, but the aesthetic of this book was flawless. I’m a total sucker for these sorts of futuristic desert wasteland vibes. LIFEL1K3 feels like someone created the perfect blend of Mad Max: Fury Road, Borderlands, and the Fallout franchise, resulting in a wondrous balance of desolation, ingenuity, and badassery. I don’t remember the last time I wanted a book to be adapted into a film this badly, just to watch everyone run around being grungy and cynical and delightfully violent.

“The thought of lighting things on fire does unhealthy things to him.”

On top of the setting itself, the characters are so lovable it’s downright ridiculous. If you’ve read any of Jay’s work before, you may be familiar already with his sense of humor, and it truly shines in this novel. I laughed out loud so many times, and my e-ARC is highlighted to hell and back just for the bits that made me snort. Eve, our main character, is a bit serious and angry, but her closest loved ones—Lemon Fresh, Grandpa, and Cricket—are all a riot and a half, and Kaiser (the blitzhund!) is absolutely adorable.

She didn’t want to die here. She hadn’t liked it much the first time.

I only have one complaint about LIFEL1K3, and while it was not enough to change the star rating, I do think it’s worth mentioning here: there is a running joke in which one of the lifelikes (robot-esque humanoids) is taunted for having lost an arm early in the book, with a couple of crude nicknames being interchanged throughout the dialogue. It wasn’t a dealbreaker for me but did make me slightly uncomfortable, and I always try to give full disclosure in my reviews when it comes to this sort of thing—so, here’s your content warning for ableist remarks! Trigger warnings also apply for child violence/death (in flashbacks), gratuitous violence, and animal death.

“Stronger together.”
“Together forever.”

With that said, this book genuinely just has so much to offer. Underneath the raging violence, snarky quips, running from bounty hunters, fighting off terrifying pieces of machinery, and trying not to die from radiation poisoning (true cert’, can we get these guys some Rad-X?), there’s this really wonderful found family and a common theme that our past doesn’t have to define us. Almost every single starring character in this book is running from their past in some way or another, and I loved watching them each face down their own brand of demons.

This is not the end of me.
This is just one more enemy.

All in all, I could gush for days, but truly, this book is so fun, so suspenseful, so twisty, and so damn rock ‘n roll that you really can’t help but love it—and it’s so hard to put down. I’m already fiending for the next installment in the series, and can’t wait to see where Jay takes us next!

All quotes come from an advance copy and may not match the final release. Thank you so much to Knopf Books for Young Readers for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!



More about Destiny @ Howling Libraries

Just a horror aficionado/geek girl trying to juggle motherhood, reading, blogging, gaming, and everyday life.

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    1. I kind of just skimmed this because I am so excited for this book and didn’t want basically any knowledge of whats going to happen, but I’m so glad to see you liked it and gave it 5 stars, I really cannot wait for it to come out so I can read it too!

    1. The mech you talk about reminds me of Wolfenstein. lol. But I keep hearing this book being compared to Fall Out and I really did like that game so I think I might have to give this a try.

      1. You know, I never did pick up Wolfenstein, but when I worked at Gamestop, a bunch of my coworkers loved it! But yeah, I definitely got HUGE Fallout vibes from this book, so if you like those games, I think you’d like this. 🙂

        1. I’ve only ever watched Wolfenstein (the reboot, not the old one) and I really loved it! I played some Fall Out with my brother and what I did play, I really enjoyed. I think I might move this up the TBR!

    1. I’m dying to read this! I didn’t get approved for a review copy (so sad) but my Book Depository copy is on the way:-)

      1. Oh no, Tammy, I’m sorry! 🙁 I didn’t think I was going to get approved for it, honestly – my request pended for ages! I’m glad your copy is on the way, though. 😀 Enjoy!

    1. First of all, i can’t believe i have not read anything by this author…
      Secondly, i want to read this one, like right now 😀
      Third… did you just say desert wasteland?! OMG!!!! <3

      1. OMG, he’s so talented! I mean, I definitely think his writing has the potential to be hit-and-miss for people, because he has an EXTREMELY distinct writing voice and sense of humor that I know not everyone likes, but he’s for sure one of my top 5 favorite authors. ♥ I hope you get the chance to pick this one up! 😀

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