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.
Mixed with the perfect amount of slang and poetic prose, I was easily immersed in the story of humans battling robots for money, a special line of robots breaking the rules and harming humans, a girl who fights in those battles to save her sick grandpa. Almost every chapter, if not all, has a scene with action and violence, a fight that keeps readers on the edge of their seat for the outcome, the winner. The thrill sets your heart thumping and your breath stalling, because the author expertly weaves these scenes to create an image in your mind like a movie; your eyes following every move with bated breath as if you are there in the crowd, roaring for the victor. These scenes were definitely my favorites when reading! Not to say that the rest of the book was bad, because in fact I adore this book and the brilliantly written world the author sets us in, however action/violence has and always will, be my true love in all books.
As for the characters, they were good. I love how natural their slang comes off in the writing, their style and choice of words. It was easy to follow and honestly, it kept me entertained with every new word or sentence that is so different but also similar to how we speak now. I will admit however, that I found Lemon and Eve to be similar. At times, I would question which one was speaking. Maybe it's because they are best friends and obviously think alike, maybe it's just that one of them was imitating the other to fit in? I'm not really sure; it was easy enough to overlook however, since it didn't happen constantly.
Eve is our MC and the one who fight in robot battles to earn money. She fixed up her own bot with the skills she learned from her grandpa, and she is very passionate about her work. I loved how much pride she took in her creations, and how tough she seemed. She didn't sit and cry about life. She stood up and found herself some options, and then did her best to do one of them. She was constantly thrown for a loop and stomped on, but she always got back up and fought harder the next time. After the ending we got, I definitely need to know what the heck happens to her in the next book!
Lemon is Eve's best friend, the one who is always by her side when trouble finds her, and when she falls and gets back up. Lemon is tough, but soft. She grew up in Dregs and has been on her own for most of her life, having to fend for herself; until she met Eve. Even though her life has been incredibly tough, she still trusts and loves and supports those she is attached to. She shows us multiple times in the novel just how far she is willing to go for her best friend, and just how hard she will fight for those she loves. She is honestly one of my all time favorite characters.
I just want to quickly mention Kaiser and Cricket, the two robots that were made to protect Eve. They will forever be in my heart and I adore them. Though they were programmed to protect and serve, they both were so loyal and were like best friends throughout the book. I hope to see them again in the next book!
As far as romance goes, it wasn't bad. The flashbacks from their past help readers get a feel for their emotions so that we know them better as a couple, but also how much they struggle currently to regain that closeness. I admire the female counterpart, because even though she remembered loving him, and part of her still does, she fought those feelings until she got to know him better. Years change people, and she didn't gain her strength or lose any because of him. I adore how strong she is. As for him, it was easy to see how much he cared, but at the same time I feel like he just wanted to rush things. Which makes sense when you read the book, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. So all in all, it was good but not necessarily long lasting in my mind, especially after the end of the novel.
In the end, I question why something so scarily possible intrigues me so much, and why I adore this book as it shows readers just how much damage and death could come from our own creations. In truth, though we could create robots that look like us, talk and think and act like us, but with stronger abilities and intelligence, it is still fantasy at this time, so I enjoyed it as a work of fiction and not a warning. I assume that was the author's intent.
Overall, this is an amazing book that I will love forever despite a few issues I had. Filled to the brim with incredible world-building and characters I won't forget, this is a book I definitely recommend!
To be honest, I'm terrified at first to read the novel and ask myself "would I will enjoy this novel of his?" as I did DNF his another novel that is titled "Illuminae" which he co-wrote with Amie Kauffman. When I reach the first three chapters, I know that DNFing this novel will not happen.
The book is written with flashbacks. It tells and show us what's the life of Eve before she was fostered with her grandfather, Silas. With this type of narration. It helps us see what the book is all about. It let us imagine and answer the questions that we have in mind about the plot.
Aside from having lots of action, having Lemon Fresh and Cricket in the story gives us nonstop laughter with their humorous and out of this world lines. Just by hearing the name of Lemon Fresh already gave us a smile.
All throughout reading the book, I was wondering and puzzled why the title is formatted in a unique way. When I reached the end of the book, I'm not just been bombarded with the plot twist of the book. But was amazed why the letter "I" and "E" in Lifel1k3 is spelled with the number "1" and "3".
If you as well is wondering with the title, I challenged you to read and finish the book and be amazed and shock with Jay Kristoff's way of writing a book.
Lastly, with Lifel11k3, now I know why lots of the book community is going gaga with all of Kristoff's work.
The dialogues are mostly street slang but the book is also jazzed with something lyrical here and there.
Alliterations: “Because beneath the bravado and bluster...”, “whispering winds”, “grit and glass”
Rhymes: “dust and rust”, “stronger together, together, forever”
The ghetto talk and the poetic prose meld impeccably on the pages, creating an exquisite flavor unique to the book. Not bad for my first Jay Kristoff book.
Eve as a main character is at the middle of my likability meter. She is a hardworker, a loyal friend and a filial grandaughter but she can only do so much with the plot given to her. Her main motive in the book is to run away from various people chasing her and at the same time, find out the truth about herself despite the fuzzy memories and the lies of some people around her. Her personality is badass but all serious-like. I like the personality of her bestfriend Lemon Fresh better. The love interest Ezekiel has the personality of a robot, as he literally is, with a boring must-protect-Eve-at-all-costs role. The villains are yet to be villainous. And who are the actual villains here? The rebelling robots? The CorpStates? Still a lot of dancing around, cat-and-mouse style, which is understandable since it’s just the first book.
At the beginning Eve is a Domefighter which is like a gladiator fighting inside a human-operated machina with a wide live audience, betting and bookies involved. Something that happened in the WarDome and later something that Eve found in the streets made a cult and a street crew come after her armed to the teeth. And then a war-freak android comes knocking down her door hellbent on either kidnapping or murdering her. All of these lead to Eve and crew running away for the most part of the book until they accidentally get swallowed by a giant kraken under the polluted sea, where Eve experienced a lot of flashbacks. Ugh, too much flashbacks for my taste. I was actually having headaches along with Eve, true cert’. And then after that, moooore chase scenes!
The plot is in non-stop frenetic motion that it gets tired and boring after a while. I was literally droning on with absent-minded reading and was able to only jolt awake upon the climax. The book draws a lot of parallels with Pinnochio, with its characters obviously being versions of the characters in the beloved fairy tale. The book has its own surprises but if you are too familiar with the inspiration, you will almost get spoiled.
Will I read the sequel:
Yes, because I like Jay Kristoff’s writing. Plus, there are still a lot of characters that we are yet to meet in flesh (in metal?). And there is something about Lemon Fresh and the way she always touches her her five-leaf clover necklace that tells me she will have her own origin story in due time. Plus the book ended in uncertain terms on how Eve processed and handled the truth that she found out. She seemed to be allying herself with the same characters chasing her before. Hmm, interesting.
- impeccable melding of slang and poetic prose
- plot-driven, non-stop action