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My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Monday, May 28, 2018

ARC Review: Lifelike by Jay Kristoff

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29456569-lifel1k3?ac=1&from_search=true
Please Note:  I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  This did not influence the opinions in my review in any way.

Synopsis (From Goodreads):
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.


Review:
I first heard of Jay Kristoff from the Illuminae novels he wrote with Amie Kaufman.  They were unlike anything I had read before: science-fiction that was fun, wildly creative, and even a bit romantic.  He does it again with his latest novel, Lifelike.  Set in the not too distant future, this dystopian thriller was a page turner!


What I Liked:

Setting:
Even though this is a book that is clearly set on Earth, everything is just a little bit different.  There has clearly been some catastrophic nuclear war which changed both the landscape, and society.

I loved this off-kilter version of an America gone to Hell (okay, this does sound bad, but bear with me).  Everything from the use of language (which is totally "fizzy") to new pronunciations of familiar places, creates this mood of a country with a colossal hangover.  

As one might predict, corporations rule rather than governments, and the masses are entertained with gladiator-like competitions between people in giant robots and rogue machines that have taken lives.  

Characters:
Evie is a wonderful main character.  While she is a wonderful mechanic, she is fallible.  Her rebellious nature often gets her in trouble and she barely escapes with her life, all in search of getting enough money to assist her grandpa. 

I like that her friend, Lemon, is a fully realized character with a strong backstory and has as many secrets as Evie.  She and Evie have an enviable friendship complete with their own motto, "Stronger together, together forever".  They have a shared history of harships and an admiration for Silas, Evie's grandpa.

The friends are complimented by Cricket, a small robot with a large personality.  Cricket is programmed by Silas to be the voice of reason that will (hopefully) keep Evie and Lemon out of trouble.  It is with this character that we begin to see how advanced machines have become in this future.  The girls rely of Cricket and think of it as a person, not simply a computer.

The "Lifelikes" are highly advanced robots that are self-aware.  They were created by a coporation, only to later kill everyone at that headquarters.  This subsequently got them immediately banned.

Story:
The story central theme is about what it means to be human.  Since people in the book agree that slavery is wrong, isn't it just as wrong for them to enslave machines?  This is explored in several different ways that are thought-provoking.  Are genetically-modified people the same as natural humans?  Do they have any rights?  What about a machine that has consciousness?  The tag line for the book is: Your life is not your own.  This begs the question: what is life?

Twists:
Obviously, I am not going to throw spoilers your way!  

               
via GIPHY

But I will say that there are enough twists and turns that you will start screaming out loud while reading this book.  The twists were delightful and added a new layer to the action.

Ending:
The ending, while clearly leaving room to make this a series, is very satisfying.  I have a pet peeve about books that stop in the middle of a crucial part, as if to say, "Stay tuned for the next exciting installment!".  This lack of resolution is frustrating.  But much was wrapped up by the end of this book, but with some tantalizing set ups for a future novel.

What I Didn't Like:

                
via GIPHY


 I can't wait for the next book in the series!!!


Rating: 


 

Release Date:  May 29th, 2018

Publisher:  Knopf Books for Young Readers

Author:  Jay Kristoff

Genre:  YA Science Fiction

Page Length:  416 pages

Source:  NetGalley

Format:  E-Book

Recommendation:  A fast-paced, exciting new series.  Full of twists that will keep you up late reading.    
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