Book Review: Lifel1k3 (Lifelike #1) by Jay Kristoff

Lifel1k3 (Lifelike #1)
by: Jay Kristoff

Lifelike

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. – Goodreads

Post-apocalypse, YA, Androids: it seems like a rising theme in the next phase of science-fiction fantasy novels. Its not a bad thing to say the least. After the success of The Illuminae Trilogy, its hard to not give some regard to what comes up next for the two authors. While I have yet to look into Amie Kaufman’s solo novels, I’ve been stocking up on Jay Kristoff’s (coming soon is reading Nevernight). Since I’ve been on this sci-fi roll, I decided to give Lifelike a go, the first novel in a currently ongoing series where the second book has been released recently.

While the end game of the story, the twist and such wasn’t exactly hard to figure out, what works a lot here is the execution of the story. Lifelike introduces its characters very well. It also keeps a decent limit to how many characters are in focus while being able to make sure that all the characters serve their purpose in their existence in the story itself. The world itself gives it a lot more to think about because the main girls are Eve and her best friend Lemon Fresh who end up with their robot dog of sorts Cricket while finding a lifelike android which is referred as the almost-boy Ezekiel who starts waking up the memory of Eve throughout their journey to save Eve’s grandfather from the evil androids. There are relationships and conflicts and dilemmas as more secrets get dug up and remembered. Lemon and Eve’s friendship/sisterhood doesn’t get enough depth, but builds a general foundation, while Eve and Ezekiel end up having a lot of the drama involved.

While there isn’t anything particularly issues with the story, its a pity that the world doesn’t have more focus (although I’m sure as the story moves along in the sequels that it will). The future and the technology and the android lifelikes and such in this mass world feels very intriguing to discover and yet, its more focused on the people in the story than using it to build up. While I can’t say that I liked Lifelike quite as much as say the entirety of the Illuminae Files, even at its lowest point (which was very rare because that trilogy ranks very high on my favorites), Lifel1k3 as the first book does a good build for the foundation and has a decent reveal in establishing its characters. While there is some drag at a little part, it does do itself justice in the big finale and reveal.

Goodreads Score: 4/5

What’s Up – Week 25!

Week 25 is here! 2019 is going by so far that summer has landed which also brought along a busy busy weekend. I’ll talk more about the busy bit in the weekly adventures coming at the end of June. With everything going on, suffice to say that I just didn’t have quite the energy to get a ton of stuff done on the relaxing front. However, we did also have a long weekend so it had some perks. 🙂

READING

Lifelike

Currently reading: Lifelike

Things are getting exciting for Lifelike as I am nearing the third-quarter of the book. Its been a tiring week so I haven’t had quite the focus or energy to read but the book is definitely picking up. I am starting to have some solid thoughts on how I feel about it. Now to see how it wraps everything up. At the same time, I think its a good starting point to read Jay Kristoff especially since we can see a comparison of how Jay Kristoff writes individually compared to co-writing The Illuminae Files Trilogy since both are science fiction.

PLAYING

fe

Currently playing: Fe

Fe has been a game that I’ve been looking forward to play since it was announced a year or two ago. While its always been slightly fuzzy about what the gameplay actually is, it just looks so cute. This week, I finally sat down to start it up. While the whole open world adventure game isn’t exactly my usual gaming preference, it has a lot of really nice elements so far. Plus, it remembers to turn things around as the enemies now have shown up at where I’m at in the game. I’m still a tad too early to really talk about how I feel about the game as a whole but its still pretty enjoyable, just as long as I get myself oriented in the open world map. 😉

WATCHING

homefront

  • Homefront

Only one movie watched this week. To be fair, I actually did rewatch Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong because its just my routine to watch it more than once but it was more as background noise so I didn’t bother to add it to the list again. Homefront has been sitting on my Netflix list for a while and the husband’s been doing the weekend movie night picks lately and he was in the mood for some Jason Statham action. Suffice to say, this one was less action which I feel might have been slightly disappointing and it was a little more slow-paced. However, the movie was alright. It had some frustrating parts and some of it was rather predictable but it was still pretty good because of its cast. I’ll have the double feature going up for this one soon-ish…

BINGING

Great Escape

  • Great Escape (Season 1, 2019)
  • Heart Signal (Season 1, 2018)

Currently binging: “Your Highness” Class Monitor, Love Timing, Idol Producer (Season 2)

TV binging is definitely going down a little this past week. Great Escape wrapped up and that was a fun episode as it confirmed the season 2 and got this cast to fight for the privilege of having their entire crew back for season 2 (which they did win) so I’m pretty excited for that. These types of shows are on an annual basis so it returns sometime in 2020. It was a fun 6 locations, story-based escape room game that was a ton of fun because of what each of these people brought to the table. Its a nice dynamic and I truly hope they all end up coming back for Season 2 or at least they can schedule it into their busy life. I also started up Heart Signal, the first season which is where (I believe) these social dating shows started up before Dream Space and Love Timing did because Heart Signal just started its Season 2. Sadly, Heart Signal season 1 only had half of its season fully on Youtube on their Tencent channel however I found a ton of snippets and pieced the rest of it together. However, I’m doing something a little different for this so I might finish Season 2 and release that post afterwards. On that note, I haven’t started Heart Signal Season 2 yet because Love Timing ends in one episode and I don’t want to start too many so that I don’t get too confused with the people involved.

That’s it for What’s Up!
I’ll be sharing a lot of news in My Weekly Adventures which should explain the lack of stuff this time..
as well as some upcoming things confirmed now for July. 
What have you been reading/watching/binging/playing?

Obsidio (The Illuminae Files #3) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

You can check out the reviews of the previous books in The Illuminae Files series:

Illuminae
Gemina

Obsidio (The Illuminae Files #3)
By: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Obsidio

Kady, Ezra, Hanna, and Nik narrowly escaped with their lives from the attacks on Heimdall station and now find themselves crammed with 2,000 refugees on the container ship, Mao. With the jump station destroyed and their resources scarce, the only option is to return to Kerenza—but who knows what they’ll find seven months after the invasion?

Meanwhile, Kady’s cousin, Asha, survived the initial BeiTech assault and has joined Kerenza’s ragtag underground resistance. When Rhys—an old flame from Asha’s past—reappears on Kerenza, the two find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict.

With time running out, a final battle will be waged on land and in space, heroes will fall, and hearts will be broken. – Goodreads

The Illuminae Files series is one of those rare series that really keeps up their momentum throughout. It keeps a unique structure of telling the story through surveillance reports, radio transmissions, official documents, etc. The first two books had hints of paying tribute to certain popular horror classics in a sci-fi context with their own little twists added in. The characters are teenagers primarily as the main protagonists but yet also have their supporting characters in the crew to save their world. To be fair, all three books use a similar structure of having a countdown heading toward some possible imminent death. However, due to the time crunch that adds to the tension, there are the relationships who give the character depth but never let it overshadow the main issue at hand, survival. Its also the fact that we only get a chunk of the situation and never the full picture that there leaves mystery and a lot of spots to add in our own conclusions, if any can be made until the final act.

I’ve talked a lot about the general series up to this point. The fact is, The Illuminae Files are the most effective a unit together and for that, I have been debating to re-read the entire trilogy back to back. Even though I say that, because I did read each of these books, a year or two apart from each other, they still have a very nice self-contained element even if this final book, Obsidio brings together the stories of Illuminae and Gemina to create it, the level of connection to the characters is the main factor that gets pulled into the equation. The first two books are essentially two different stories. With that said, it is inevitable that the final book of the trilogy becomes less self-contained than the previous two. However, the story here, while still having some events overlapping the previous books, still manages to craft its own story and pulls together all the loose pieces lying about and pulls it all together and even gives us an idea of how these Illuminae Files came together. In the realm of what it does, Obsidio shows really detailed view of getting to this point and seeing the big picture of how to put together this story in a complete way.

There’s so much to love about Obsidio. Fact is, at this point, the characters are all such a crucial element. With each hardship, they grow and develop a little more. Obsidio is done with so much care for the situation at hand, the sci-fi factor but also keeping in check that these characters are young and have to make some difficult decisions and become such a pillar and being pulled into a situation that they didn’t want to and the courage they have. Its a fast-paced novel with layers of tension, sarcastic humor and adventure. Its a book full of surprises and twists and turns and done in such a clever way.

Goodreads: 5/5

The Illuminae Files may be done but I’ve finished just in time as this author duo’s next book (maybe starting off a new series) is going to be released soon and I cannot wait to read it.

Book Review: Gemina (The Illuminae Files 02) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Let’s take a break from Fantasia Festival madness and get  a book review in! You may  not need it, but I absolutely do! 😉

Gemina is the sequel of Illuminae, the first book of The Illuminae Files (as you can see in the cover below). I read Illuminae earlier this year and totally loved it. If you want to know why, you can read all about it in my review HERE.

Gemina
(The Illuminae Files 02)
by: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Gemina

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands. – Goodreads

Gemina is an exhilarating ride. A fantastically amazing one. This author duo has truly created a writing style that works truly remarkably. Presenting the story through dossiers and recordings are amazing. In fact, I remembered talking at the end of the review of the first book.avoit how it was hard to make that one into a movie and I was honestly disappointed in that choice. On the contrary, Gemina is so descriptive making everything so vivid that while it will be hard to live up to the images of everyone, with the right director, this one could be a fun ride. It might be because it embraces Die Hard set in a dystopian future in space and adds in am an Alien theme with their creatures. The idea is that they can take the first book to have enough success to get this one made also. I’m a little more excited about the idea.

What works for both of these books is how they choose to lay it out. The different recordings and files give you juat enough to understand what is going on but also leaves gaps and blindspots as to what is going on behind the scene and that creates mystery. Continuing after the first book, this hops onto another space carrier and with new characters, however having still managing to comnect to the characters in the first book. That is important as it gives a continuity to the story. It makes the readers care about this world because the new pair of characters are every bit as intriguing to read as they come to life also, two very different people from the first but still with equally intriguing stories that make them survivors but also human. Hanna and Nik are two acquaintances wrapped up in a lot of stereotypes and prejudices towards each other and grow to see each other more.

Its amazing how the Illuminae Files series has embodied so much. Other than the characters, it definitely feels like there is a lot of unanswered questions. The virus in part one, the creatures in part two, the secret agenda from Beitech: the main question at the end is a lot of why’s. Hopefully we will get the answers soon to pull everything together in the third book.

Overall, I love Gemina. There’s so many great things about it that makes it incredible. Not quite as mindblowing as Illuminae however still very awesome.

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files 01) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Its been a long time since I’ve had a book review go up. I’m so sorry! I started about 3 books on my Kindle and just couldn’t get into it. It was time to admit that it is time to pick up one of my physical books and see if it will do better.

Illuminae has had a lot of buzz about its awesomeness. Being not so into Young Adult books and really not much of a sci-fi enthusiast, I still decided to give this a go because I just can’t miss out on what others call awesome and I needed a change in pace. I’ve read books like this before where its comprised of telling a story through reports and such. It is one of my favorite sorts of reading because it does feel really authentic most of the times. World War Z had a similar set-up and Carrie was definitely this type of story except a different genre. Anyways, just when you pick up the book, it looks so intriguing and fun!

Let’s check it out!

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files 01)
by: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Illuminae

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded. The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit. But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again. – Goodreads

 WOW! I don’t go all googly eyes and crazy about books. Illuminae is definitely something. It is nice to feel the same passion and excitement as others. There is so much creativity in this one and the way it shows off the situation through hacked documents and camera footage and making it authentic and forbidden by striking out sentences and having spaces and having little images created through words and binary numbers is so smart and suitable for a story like this one. It takes us not only in the future of 2575 but a dystopia. We can believe in the Kady and Ezra who has broken up over something that seems so random now. Aren’t most teen break-ups like that? However, life does throw them lemons and that comes in the form of a war that they can’t control and are split up over the two ships that remain. There’s a lot of politics as the captains of the ships have to make difficult decisions. And we see these in memos.

Other than the creative elements of using different mediums to tell their story so we get a pretty good picture of what is going on, it is the progression and pacing of the events that make it so fun. Also, the fact that we are zeroed into various characters more and the story makes the feeling of well-rounded, its easy to forget that other things are happening and then when it does have a reveal, the moments tend to build up in several surprises and twists that truly make this one big. What starts off as a sci-fi, war and dystopian novels quickly turns around and becomes a futuristic “zombie-esque” movie. Somehow revealing that probably makes it worse because that was one of the bigger twists in Illuminae that I embraced and was shocked because I didn’t read any synopsis before jumping in.

In terms of characters, Kady and Ezra are an interesting pair of characters. There’s a clear connection between them and right away for two kids nearing adulthood (aka 18 years old), there is a striped away innocence that we can’t push away. Both of them have their secrets while Kady seems to have something more. As the readers, we get a third person view of reading these reports and we get a clear idea of where everyone stands and how they both feel and what they are going through. Aside from them, perhaps the other character is the all powerful AI called AIDAN who takes on a huge role as it takes control in this 2575 future of almost everything and humans are rendered almost dysfunctional and slow when they lose the power to use it. I won’t tell you why but it brings on a whole new meaning to technology and aritificial intelligence being a double-edged sword.

Illuminae is a book that you jump into to take an adventure. It almost feels like watching a movie and yet, I don’t want this to be adapted into a movie (although its already announced that it will be – of course). There’s something about reading these passages that work so much more than what a movie adaptation can do. The fact that its like we are watching this in third person recap from different footages gives such a nice imaginative journey. It does so much more to what we can see going on. There are twists that can only work because of the between the lines and hidden facts on paper along with the imagery. Illuminae is a must-read. It has been a long time I haven’t felt this excitement for a book before: a pageturner full of thrills and twists and some compelling characters, moral and ethical choices. It is so awesome!

Rambling about adaptations ahead… skip if you’d like

Before I go, I just need to ramble about movie adaptations because both my darling husband and fantastic co-host has heard about it. I’m all for adaptations, heck, I’m starting a freakin’ segment on it, right? However, there are exceptions to the equation. It is why I wish some people would realize why its okay to not adapt every book (or video game) that is popular. The whole execution can be the death of what was a great book: look at I Am Number Four. A great book series that just didn’t take off as a movie which is a shame because it can do so well in the right hands. Another example more along the lines of this one is World War Z which was a great movie but it wasn’t an adaptation or even an inspiration, it was a zombie movie that leeched off the idea of World War Z. The book wasn’t about that: it was about survival and the different citizens and their stories and escape. It wasn’t about almighty Brad Pitt solving the mystery of it all. I liked the movie but calling it an adaptation is just trying to sell it as something it isn’t. To be fair, Carrie did a fairly good job for something with similar structure. There are some great adaptations but with something that works so well, perhaps I’m just not creative enough to see how they can make Illuminae great and I think part of it is how much involvement the authors have in this matter to use their creativity to work it all out. I’m happy that the adaptation will probably get a bigger reach for Illuminae, however, I will try to tuck away the subjective views and wait for the first trailer to see how they approach it all.

Rambling done…

Have you read Illuminae? Are you planning to?