Blog Tour: LIFEL1K3 by Jay Kristoff

I'm so excited to be kicking off the tour for Jay Kristoff's newest YA series LIFEL1K3! I LOVED this new sci-fi story, and I'm really glad to tell you why. Keep scrolling to check out my review and a giveaway for cooies of the book!

Rating: 5 stars
Release Date: May 29, 2018
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Genre: young adult science fiction
Format/Source: ARC, TLA conference

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book by the publisher at a work conference and volunteered to be part of the tour, which was organized & hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. This does not affect the content of my review. The full tour schedule can be found HERE. Please go give my fellow tour hosts some love!

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.

Okay, the first thing you guys need to know, what I didn't know until I started reading LIFEL1K3 is that it is AN ANASTASIA RETELLING. It's loose and there are obviously no catchy songs or scene-stealing animated henchbats or John Cusack being charming because, c'mon, this IS a Jay Kristoff book: there are sassy girls and adorable boys who are physically strong but soft gooey romantics on the inside and quippy snark battles and actual gun battles and scene-stealing AIs. BUT IT ALSO IS AN ANASTASIA RETELLING, AND THIS BOOK HAS SIMULTANEOUSLY HEALED MY SOUL AND DESTROYED ME.

So.... like any Jay Kristoff book, then.

I'm a big fan of space sci-fi, but I'm always a little more hesitant with the AI scientists-gone-too-far stories. I'm not sure exactly why, but it does make me more wary when I try these kinds of books. Luckily, LIFEL1K3 worked for me in a BIG way, and it's jumped right onto my best of 2018 list. This is definitely because of Jay's style and storytelling abilities.

First, LIFEL1K3 is hella cinematic. The story itself feels intimate, less OMG THE WHOLE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT COULD END and more personal stakes for Eve and her band of misfits. But it crosses through these really grand, dramatic settings. There's the island of Dregs, which is basically the trashed remains of Kalifornya after an earthquake split it off from the rest of the US (now known as Yousay); the inside of a kraken a la Finding Nemo during the whale scene / inside the Lord Jabbu-Jabbu dubgeon of Ocarina of Time; a city made out of beached ships that somehow made me thing of the ewoks' tree village; a Mad Max-esque desert wasteland; and a very important setting both idyllic in flashbacks & its current-day radioactive nightmare version. These settings are totally different from one another, but they do tie together the desperation of different people trying to eke survival out an inhospitable world, AND they make for really dramatic backdrops for everything going on in Eve's life. And there was enough description to make it really visual mentally but without slowing the pace.

As always, the characterization is on point. There's ride-or-die bffs Eve & Lemon Fresh (the scene-stealing partner who always made me laugh out loud with her confidence and swagger); possible murderbot LI Ezekiel; Cricket, theC3P0-esque this-is-a-terrible-idea-why-will-none-of-you-listen-to-me robot sidekick with the charm and loyalty of R2-D2; the world's best puppybot; a wild west gun-totin' tobacco-chewin' bounty hunter; and some other murderbots. And the thing is, even when you want to punch some of the characters for their evil ways, they also make you think, and they make you... feel bad for them? Honestly, I wonder if Jay might actually be an AI because he's really good at making non-human characters sympathetic and complex. I also really loved all the different relationships that were explored throughout the book, especially Eve & Lem, with whom I want to be in a girl gang.

And then, the story itself. It's pretty straightforward: the group is trying to save Eve's grandpa from a murdery fembot and her cohorts. But the threads of the story twist and branch off in really interesting ways as more characters are introduced—Ezekiel, Preacher, etc—and as Eve discovers more about her past. LIFEL1K3 is told in prose, unlike Illuminae, but I really liked that Jay still switched things up and played with the form and pacing. It's very fast-paced, action-packed. It's literally pedal-to-the-metal and shootouts and fistfights... but there are also moments when Eve gets lost in her memories, be they from a malfunctioning memory chip or something else... and while those scenes give you a moment to catch your breath before more punchy-punchy, shooty-shooty, they also twist your feels in knots. I'll also say this: Jay is great at giving up an obvious "twist" in order to hide something important and devastating. Like I'll be sitting here laughing about my own genius for guessing something early and then BAM! Something else blindsides me. I was surprised a few times at all stages of LIFEL1K3, and I appreciate that.

LIFEL1K3 is an intense, high-octane start to a new trilogy that explores love, loyalty, friendship, and what it means to be human. This imagined future offers a fascinating yet horrifying vision of a half-destroyed world, while also demonstrating the innate goodness humans--and possibly other sentient beings--are capable of. Jay Kristoff fans will be thrilled for a new story from (one of) the twisted mind(s) that brought us AIDAN, lanima, and phobos beta, but I think LIFEL1K3 will be a draw for new readers who don't care for space or for whom Illuminae's formatting didn't work. I absolutely can't wait to see what's in store in the next installment!


Preorder Giveaway:
The LIFEL1K3 pre-order is now live for folks in the US! To get your sticky booky hands on a full color map of the Yousay by the amazing Virginia Allyn and four brill LIFEL1K3 bookmarks with illustrations by the incredibly talented Mona May, all you need to is:
1. Pre order LIFEL1K3 (Amazon/Barnes&Noble/Indiebound/Powells/Book Depository/ it doesn’t matter from where, just get a receipt)
2. Head to and search for “Lifel1k3”. Or better yet, just click HERE.
3. Enter your details and upload your receipt.
4. Profit.

Aussie & New Zealand giveaway:
Take a SELFIE with a copy of LIFEL1K3 and SHARE IT using #LIFEL1K3comp for your chance to win tickets for you and a friend to go to any concert of your choice!

Entry is open to Australian and New Zealand residents only. Terms and Conditions apply. Ends 09/05/2018. 

About the Author:
Jay Kristoff is a #1 international, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of science fiction and fantasy. He grew up in the second most isolated capital city on earth and fled at his earliest convenience, although he’s been known to trek back for weddings of the particularly nice and funerals of the particularly wealthy. Being the holder of an Arts degree, he has no education to speak of.

His Lotus War trilogy was critically acclaimed in Kirkus and Publishers Weekly, nominated for the David Gemmell Morningstar and Legend awards and won the 2014 Aurealis Award. Jay’s SciFi thriller series The Illuminae Files, was co-authored with Amie Kaufman. Book 1, Illuminae, became a New York Times and international bestseller, was named among the Kirkus, Amazon and YALSA Best Books of 2015, became a finalist for the Prime Minister’s Literary Award and won the 2016 Aurealis Award and an ABIA Book of the Year award. Illuminae is currently slated to be published in thirty five countries, and film rights have been acquired by Brad Pitt and Plan B Entertainment.

Jay’s new fantasy series, The Nevernight Chronicle, commenced in 2016. The novel was an international bestseller, won the Aurealis award and earned Kristoff his second Gemmell nomination. Part 2, Godsgrave, was published in 2017, and won the series its second Aurealis award. A new YA series, LIFEL1K3 has also been acquired by Knopf/Random House Kids, and commences publication in early 2018. A new series with Amie Kaufman, The Andromeda Cycle (which is NOT the final title), begins in 2019 with Knopf/Random House Kids. Jay is as surprised about all this as you are. He is represented by Josh Adams at Adams Literary.

Jay is 6’7 and has approximately 12,000 days to live. He abides in Melbourne with his secret agent kung-fu assassin wife, and the world’s laziest Jack Russell.

He does not believe in happy endings.

Author Links:

3 winners will receive a finished copy of LIFEL1K3. US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. This book sounds super interesting. I'm glad you liked it so much. I'm sold!

    --Sam @ Sharing Inspired Kreations

    1. It was really good! I'm dying waiting for book 2!

  2. Jay’s books are always so heartbreaking and edge of your seat goodness!!

    1. Agreed! I'm so glad we'll have even more of them next year!

  3. I really like the Illuminae and Nevernight series. I have been looking forward to this new book for several months. i think that I will like Eve and this sci-fi adventure.

  4. I have read Illuminae and Gemina and hope to read Nevernight series too. I didn't know this was a retelling either or about the suicide trigger. Thanks for the great review.

    1. Thanks, Danielle! I had NO IDEA it was any kind of reimagining until I opened it up, and I was so surprised by the Anastasia aspect. Unexpected, but a great twist!

  5. I haven’t read a single Jay Kristoff book 🙊 I think I’ll read the Illuminae series first since that’s finished, then Nevernight, and finally this one, which sounds like it will be an emotional rollercoaster of a story based on your review. It sounds really great!

    1. You should absolutely read them all. Illuminae is my favorite!

  6. This sounds like a very imaginative look at an apocalyptic future and the characters sound quite original!

    1. I think we'll start to see more apocalyptic and dystopian stories, and this book is a good one to kind of start off this second wave.