Wednesday, May 30, 2018

ARC #Review - LIFEL1K3 (Lifelike #1) by Jay Kristoff #YALit #SyFy

Series: Lifelike # 1
Format: E-Galley, 416 pages
Release Date: May 29, 2018
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Source: NetGalley
Genre: Young Adult / Science Fiction

From the coauthor of the New York Times bestselling Illuminae Files comes the first book in a new series that’s part Romeo and Juliet, part Terminator, and all adrenaline.

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.

"More human than human."

LIFEL1K3, by author Jay Kristoff, is the first installment in the authors Lifelike trilogy. LIFEL1K3 is set in a post-apocalyptic USA. 2 years ago, there was an uprising by a robotic segment of the populace called Lifelike created by a company known as Gnosis Labs. Our main protagonist is 17-year old Eve Carpenter who builds robotic gladiators so she can earn credits to help her sick Grandpa, who is her last remaining family member. As the story opens, she has a streak of winning 8 straight in what's called the Wardome against various robots of various makes and models.

Unfortunately, things go downhill pretty quickly when her gladiator, Miss Combobulations, is destroyed and almost winds up being killed herself; except that she manages to stop the looming robot with the power of her mind and a raging scream. With various factions, including the Brotherhood, the Preacher, and corporations like Daedalus after her, Eve, her bestie Lemon Fresh, Cricket, her robot voice of reasoning, Kaiser, a cyborg dog who is a fierce and protective of Eve, and Ezekiel, a Lifelike who she found in a scrap heap & who may have a history with Eve, end up on a Max Max like action packed adventure back to the place where Eve's story began. 

Eve is an interesting character. She has only one eye. She wears a fauxhawk haircut, and is bloody brilliant when it comes to robotics. Along the way, Eve discovers that her memories may not be all that clear. Not everything is what she has thought it to be. There are pieces of the puzzle missing. It is a journey of discovery, of heartbreak, of family and of making her own choices regardless of how those choices might affect others. Lemon is a wonderful character as well. Quite possibly the best lines in the entire book come from her, including parts when they meet a kraken. I definitely look forward to her next phase in this series. 

"This is a story that features Giant Mechanical War Machines. Sexah Androids. Mutant Powers. Doomed Romance. Warring Corporations. Cybernetic Bounty Hunters. Sassy Robot Sidekicks. Rebellions. Chases. Escapes. Betrayals. Lies Upon Lies. Splosions." The author claims the book was pitched as Romeo and Juliet meets Bladerunner, while Fury Road plays a guitar solo in the background. Yep, pretty much a whole lot of badassery! 

This book will mess with your mind with various flashbacks of Eve's past. This book will mess with your mind when you come to the ending and the author smacks you upside head with a hammer to prove that he is one twisted bloke. This book is amazing, action packed, stunning, and one that includes a wonderfully written friendship between Eve and Lemon Fresh. "Stronger together, together forever." This is a book that is filled with twists, and surprises, and has been called an origin story, but not in the way you are thinking. 

But, wait until you reach the ending. After reading the summary on a certain site, I now understand what the author's intention was and what readers can expect for the next two installments. Up until the ending, I was curious as to what would happen next. I felt as though I've been hit by a runaway train named Jay Kristoff, and things will only get more intense, more twisted, and more complex thanks to Jay's top notched world building and character development. 

"Your body is not your own.Your mind is not your own.Your life is not your own."

Almost everybody called her Eve.
At first glance, you might’ve missed her. She wouldn’t have minded much. Hunched on the shoulder of a metal giant, she was just a silhouette amid the hiss and hum and halos of glittering sparks. She was tall, a little gangly, boots too big and cargos too tight. Sun-bleached blond hair was undercut into an impressive fauxhawk. Her sharp cheekbones were smudged with grease, illuminated by the cutting torch in her hands. She was seventeen years old, but she looked older still. Just like everything around her.
A black metal sphere sat in the socket where her right eye should’ve been. Six silicon chips were plugged behind her right ear, and a long oval of artificial flesh ran from her temple to the base of her skull. The implant obviously wasn’t made for her—the skin tone was a little too pale to match her complexion.
It was just about the right shape for a nasty exit wound.
“Testing, testing .?.?. y’all hear me out there?”
The girl almost everyone called Eve clamped a screwdriver between her teeth, glanced at the monitors across from her work pit. A high-def image showed the arena above her head, three hundred meters wide, littered with scorched barricades and the rusting hulks of previous competitors. The EmCee stood in the spotlight, wearing a sequined jacket and a matching bowler hat. There was no need for a mic. Her voice fed directly to the PA via implants in her teeth.
“Juves and juvettes!” she cried. “Scenekillers and wageslaves, welcome .?.?. to WarDome!”
The crowd roared. Thousands of them clinging like limpets to the Dome’s bars, humming, thrumming, feet all a-drumming. Most were the worse for stims or a bellyful of home brew, drunker still at the thought of the carnage to come. Their vibrations sank into Eve’s bones, and she couldn’t help but smile. Tasting her fear and swallowing it whole.
“Showtime,” she whispered.
“In the blue zone,” cried the EmCee, “the condemned! A fritzer, fresh from the border of the Glass, with the murder of seventy-two accredited citizens on its head. Brought here tonight for a taste of oldskool justice! All y’all give this fug a warm and fuzzy Dregs welcome. Some volume, if you please .?.?. for GL-417!”
Blue floodlights arced at the Dome’s north end, and the floor panels rolled away. A hulking lump of robotic menace rose into view amid a hail of spit and jeers. Eve’s insides turned slippery cold at the sight on her monitor. Her cutting torch wavered in her hands.
Hard to swallow your fear with no spit, isn’t it?
The robot in the blue zone loomed ten meters high. Bulky as a battleship, it looked like a high-speed collision between an earthmover and some armored knight from the history virtch. It was a heavy-combat model, Goliath-class, and the thought of a bot that lethal throwing down under the Dome lights sent punters lunging for their pockets and bookies scrambling for their tabs.
This was going to be a fight.?.?.?.
“This is going to be a massacre,” said a tinny voice in Eve’s left ear.
Ignoring the warning, she finished her welding, her dark goggles held up to what she thought of as her good eye. Talking true, the glossy black optical implant that replaced her right peeper saw better than her real one—it had flare compensation, a telescopic zoom, low-light and thermal imaging. But it always gave her headaches. Whirred when she blinked. Itched when her nightmares woke her crying.
“How’s that, Cricket?” she shouted.
“Targeting only shows a 13.7 percent improvement.”
Cricket peered out at her from the pilot’s chair with his mismatched eyes. The little robot’s face couldn’t show expressions, but he wiggled the metal slivers that passed for his eyebrows to show his agitation. He was a homunculus of spare parts, forty centimeters tall, the color of rust. There was no symmetry to him at all. His optics were too big for his head, and his head was too big for his body. The heat sinks on his back and across his scalp looked like the spines of an animal from old history virtch. Porcupines, they used to call ’em.
“Well, it’s showtime, so it’ll have to do,” Eve replied. “That Goliath is big as a house, so it’s not like it’s gonna be tricky to hit.”
“This might sound stupid, but you could always back out of this, Evie.”
“Okay, now why would you think that’d sound stupid, Crick?”
“You know better than this.” Cricket scrambled down to the floor. “Shouldn’t even be throwing down in the Dome. Grandpa would blow a head gasket if he found out.”
“Who do you think taught me how to build bots in the first place?”
“You’re punching too far above your weight on this one. Acting a damn jackass.”
“Grandpa’s gonna wipe you if he hears you swear like that.”
Cricket placed one hand on his chest with mock solemnity. “I am as my maker intended.”
Eve laughed and scaled across to the cockpit. The fit was snug; her machina stood only six meters high, and there was barely enough room for her beside the viewscreens and control sleeves. Most of the machina competing in Dome bouts were salvaged infantry models, but Eve’s baby was Locust-class, built for lightning-quick assaults on fortified positions during the CorpState Wars. Humanoid in shape, what it lacked in bulk, it made up for in speed, and it was customized for bot wrecking—serrated claws on its left hand, a jet-boosted pickax on its right. Its armor was painted in a violent camo of black and luminous pink. Eve dropped into the pilot’s chair and shouted down to Cricket.
“Does my butt look big in this?”
“Do you want the truth?” the little bot replied.
“Do you want me to disable your voice box again?”
“Seriously, Evie, you shouldn’t go up there.”
“It’s an opening spot, Crick. We need the scratch. Badly.”
“Ever wonder why you got offered first swing against a bot that big?”
“Ever wonder why I keep calling you paranoid?”
Cricket placed his hand back on his chest. “I am as my maker—”
“Right, right.” Eve smiled lopsided, running through the start-up sequence. “Jump on the monitors, will you? I’ll need your eyes when we throw down.”
Eve was always amazed at how well the little robot sighed, given he didn’t have any lungs to exhale with.
“Never fear, Crick.” She slapped her machina’s hide. “No way a bot this beautiful is getting bricked by some fritzer. Not while I’m flying it.”
The voice piped up through the speaker in Eve’s ear. “Right. Have some faith, you little fug.”
“Aw, thanks, Lem.” Eve smiled.
“No problem. I can have all your stuff when you die, right?”

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