Series: Lifelike #1
Published by Allen and Unwin on May 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Source: My copy
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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.
In a post-apocalyptic USA, Eve lives with her grandfather in a world devastated by earthquakes and nuclear war. After Eve, her best friend Lemon Fresh and their robotic companions Cricket and Kaiser find a strange realistic-looking android known as a lifelike, they are forced to leave on a fast-paced mission to save their lives and discover Eve’s true identity.
Based on the reviews already out there, many people have said they didn’t enjoy Lifel1k3 as much as Jay’s other books, but I really enjoyed it. Sure, it’s not as bloody, the themes not quite as confronting perhaps, but the story itself is exciting.
The post-apocalyptic American world is detailed and vivid, with its harsh radioactive desert and a California mostly fallen into the sea. I loved the different types of machines and the nuances between their functions and abilities. The biotech such as the kraken, trawling the sea to extract metals for manufacturing, is inspired, and the lifelikes were chilling, but fascinating.
There’s also a fairly lengthy list of slang that takes a little while to get the hang of, but it fades into the background as you read.
Jay has created a thought-provoking robotic rebellion. If we create machines that can think for themselves, are their feelings and desires any less valid than those of a human? At the launch of this book in Brisbane, Jay described the story as the grim parts of Romeo and Juliet – two people that really shouldn’t be in love, falling in love because it’s new and different and forbidden. If an android is programmed to behave exactly like a human, shouldn’t it be respected, loved and cherished like a human can be? It’s a fascinating concept, and one that I’m sure will be developed as the series goes on.
Of course, being a Jay Kristoff book, the ending is a cliffhanger that will leave you open-mouthed and wanting more. It’s gonna be a long wait for book two!