Lifel1k3 by Jay Kristoff

Jay Kristoff’s Lifel1k3 is a ground-shaking cross between MadMax and A.I.. From thousands upon thousands of mSv of radiation to deep-water cyber-kraken to biotech clone attack dogs, the post-apocalypse landscape of the book is wrought with all kinds of dastardly evils. Stuck in the middle are Eve and her sidekick Lemon, who spend their days building battle mechs, scavenging for tech, and running from the many gangs that roam the wasteland that has become the West Coast of the United States. After a particular hairy bout at the WarDome, Eve and Lemon find an advanced “lifelike” robot. The appearance of Ezekiel, the lifelike, sets off a series of events that starts to heal Eve’s scarred memory, and bring a new mission that will take her into the heart of her torn past.

Kristoff’s writing advances several important questions of our time: Where is our world headed in regards to artificial intelligence, nuclear capabilities, and business overreach?  His use mythological and folklore allusions add a relevant and necessary bridge between the past and the future. The slang, future-speak was fun, and I found myself quickly catching on and adopting the language in my head. At times, Kristoff’s reliance on the flashback can deter from the central narrative and be repetitive, but Eve’s memories are important, so this device may be necessary for the character’s development.

Likel1k3 is an ernest re-coming-of-age story from a biting vision of the future. Kristoff’s book is full of screaming twists, quirks, and idiosyncrasies that tear into any reader’s assumptions. The overriding question in my mind after reading: If we give the tech we make our servants and/ or friends the capacity to feel, what will they do with it?

4 out of 5 stars

Comes out on May 29th, 2018.

Thank you to NetGalley, Random House Children’s, Knopf Books for Young Readers, and Mr. Kristoff for the advanced copy to review.

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