Lifel1k3 (Lifelike) by Jay Kristoff
Lifel1k3 is the new dystopian thriller from the prolific Jay Kristoff and it is a non-stop, action-packed romp. The novel opens with Evie Carpenter (also know as Riotgrrl), a scavvergirl just trying to get by on the junkyard island known as Dregs. Her grandfather, and only living family member, Silas is sick – really sick. To pay for his medicine Evie secretly becomes a dome fighter in the WarDome, a gladiator-type arena in which humans in robot mechs (giant, mechanical battle suits) battle malfunctioning rogue robots for credits. This was working out okay for Evie until her own mech was smashed to smithereens and she lost all her credits to the bookies.
Down on her luck, Evie and her best friend Miss Lemon Fresh scheme other ways to make some quick cash to pay for Silas’s medicine. So, when they see an airship fall out of the sky they choose to investigate, hoping to scavenge something valuable from the wreckage to sell. Instead, they find a one-armed, outlawed Android named Ezekiel who has his own hidden agenda for tracking down Evie.
Lifel1k3 is one of the most fun YA novels I have read in a very long time. The world that Kristoff has created is immensely rich, full of colourful characters and vivid landscapes with twists and turns every step of the way. It has everything from mech battles to murderous cults, implanted memories and kids with mutant powers to sassy robots, doomed romance and 90s punk references. It is a wild ride and will have readers on the edge of their seats, desperate for a sequel. Ages 14+.