A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
YOUR BODY IS NOT YOUR OWN.
A robot must obey orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
YOUR MIND IS NOT YOUR OWN.
A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
YOUR LIFE IS NOT YOUR OWN.*
I went into this book without any expectations and I purely bought it because Jay Kristoff wrote it and I loved the ‘Illuminae Files’ so damn much. It was going to be a surprise what it was about and whether I’d like it. I merely skimmed the blurb, read words like ‘android’ and ‘cyborg assassins’ and was convinced.
Evie lives in a world that has seen too many wars and left the planet’s surface scorched and partly irradiated. Her life as a mecha-fighter is simple: earn enough money for her grandad’s meds, dodge the various gangs of The Scrap and stay out of trouble. Always at her side, her android Cricket and her best(est) friend, Lemon. Immediately loved Lemon because she was snarky, sassy and cursed a lot. The banter between the trio was both fun to read and a bit hard to understand because human language has evolved and all of them are speaking a fizzy slang. Some words you can guess from context but other didn’t make much sense even halfway through the book. Still, you gotta flow with it and in time it might make sense.
After a crushing defeat in WarDome where Evie finds out she is a deviate – a human with supernatural powers due to mutation – not only the anti-body-modification-anti-everything-technology Brotherhood is after her but also a big corporation and who knows why they would want her. As if her troubles hadn’t been piling high enough yet, Eve and Lemon discover a Lifel1k3, an android that has been programmed in a way that allows them to disregard the three Laws of robotics. Ezekiel seems to know awfully lot about Eve’s past even though she is certain they had never met before. When another Lifel1k3 kidnaps her grandad, Eve gathers her squad and treks across irradiated plains and scrap cities to get him back. And somehow she has memories that aren’t her own. Or are they?
You know my ongoing problem with protagonists and how I rarely like them, right? I liked Eve! Yas! Even thought it was crystal that she would end up with Zeke. The romance wasn’t needed to bring the story forward but it wasn’t an overly kitschy one either so I guess it’s fine. But there were some aspects that bothered me all the same.
What didn’t I like?
Apparently even in a post-apocalyptic world even androids are programmed to be heterosexual. While I do like the idea of androids developing feelings of their own, why does it always have to be a teen romance? Why not friendship for once? Or family? Zeke loves Evie and she loves him and then there is drama because of secrets because nobody is ever able to communicate in a relationship. But you’ll probably always see me complain about romance in books so it doesn’t really matter. That’s why I really liked Eve’s and Lemon’s deep friendship so much, I want to read more about friendship and less about romance.
- Lack of explanations concerning programming and technologies
The Lifel1k3s were characterised in a way that made it almost impossible to distinguish them from humans – said harshly. Maybe that was the whole point and I just missed the memo? Making them as real as possible? I think I would have liked to see some sort of behaviour that suggests they are androids and not human? Not getting certain slang or something like that. It felt a bit as though the Lifel1k3s had not only been modelled after humans but the author described them like a ‘regular’ human character, gave them some superpowers and fast healing abilities and called them androids. It kind of missed the point for me but again, maybe that was intentional.
- Dramatic backstory
Don’t get me wrong, I do like a good dramatic backstory. Eve’s was as good as any other but it doesn’t have to be in every YA book … Just saying.
The ending was unexpected which was a nice touch. I knew there were going to be other instalments but hadn’t thought the first part would end the way it did. It will make the next part very interesting and I am looking forward to it already.
Badass, fast and full of action, sass and humour. I really enjoyed the book, could’ve done without the romance but that’s just a minor detail. I’m looking forward to the next part to get more information about the Lifel1k3s and their plot. Loved Lem’s and Eve’s friendship from the first time they talked to each other. There were a lot of characters I liked which is also rare for me and it made reading this a joy. Romance was not needed, would like to see more diversity.
- Author: Jay Kristoff
- Pages: 402
- For Ages: 14 and up
- Publisher: Harper Collins
- Release Date: 2018
- ISBN: 978-0-00-830136-1
If Lifel1k3 piqued your interest, check out my recommendations below!
Three spacey books and one hell of an awesome fantasy read! All of those are YA, just like Lifel1k3, you find plenty of action and cool characters in all of these reads and humour, yeah, there is humour, too!
* Asimov’s Laws of Robotics from, ‘I, Robot’ with a tweak of Jay Kristoff