Thank you NetGalley and Knopf Books for Young Readers for this ARC. All thoughts and opinions are mine.
Synopsis: Best friends have become enemies. Lovers have become strangers. And deciding whose side you're on could be the difference between life and death. For Eve and Lemon, discovering the truth about themselves--and each other--was too much for their friendship to take. But with the country on the brink of a new world war--this time between the BioMaas swarm at CityHive and Daedalus's army at Megopolis, loyalties will be pushed to the brink, unlikely alliances will form and with them, betrayals.
But the threat doesn't stop there, because the lifelikes are determined to access the program that will set every robot free, a task requiring both Eve and Ana, the girl she was created to replace. In the end, violent clashes and heartbreaking choices reveal the true heroes . . . and they may not be who you think they are. (Amazon)
TRUEL1F3 takes the reader on a roller coaster and brings the Lifelike trilogy to a bittersweet ending.
The dread that I feel at the end of a series is too real. I dread that a favorite character is going to die, I dread that the bad guy is going to win (although, my love of complex stories also believes this to be a great twist), I dread that a million and one things are going to go wrong. But, I push through it, read faster than I ever have towards the end of the novel so that I can just rip the band aid off, and come out at the end usually feeling a little worse for wear, but mostly intact.
Save for my emotions. My emotions always take a hit or two if I'm this invested.
All and any reservations that I felt about Eve's dark twist into hatred and vengeance in DEV1AT3 and the end of LIFEL1K3 were erased in TRUEL1F3. Thank you, Mister Kristoff, from the bottom of my bruised heart for giving Eve such a big part in this installment. I'm not going to say that I forgive her for everything she's done, or that I “like” her. I was rather fond of Eve when all of this started, but along the way she lost her charm and I still can't quite forgive or trust her. But given what she is put through, given how torturous she's treated and how justified her negative belief in humans has turned, and given the fact that you can see that she wants to change-- Yeah, I give her a break. She did good here, she has a chance, and the pull that I'd hoped Lemon would have on her came to pass. That bestest that let her down in LIFEL1K3 brought her back to herself, and it was a lovely moment to see.
I always like to touch on my favorite characters, those that stand out the most, because they make the story for me. Lemon Fresh, from the start, has been a star. This young girl shone in this third book, and she brought me most of the feels that I had along the way. I lost count of the times that she was struck down, either literally or metaphorically, but she got back up every single time. She kept fighting for what she believed in, for her friends, she never gave up. Lemon is the little spark of hope that can barely be seen waiting at the end, and she dragged herself to it by tooth and nail. Her spark, alongside Cricket's amazing little logika affection (I know, I know, “Don't call me little”) made me sit on the edge of my seat and hold on for dear life every time that they dove into danger.
And the danger strikes at these characters from all angles. It's something that one would think might make a novel drive forward at the speed of light from start to finish. But I found myself feeling the same thing that I felt in LIFEL1K3, where the beginning of the novel lacked something for me. There's a certain special touch of snowflake (you get that reference if you've read these books) that's missing almost until half of the book, and then it picks up fast and doesn't let you go 'til its fin. Just like in book one, this doesn't take much from the story's enjoyment, but it's enough to be noticeable. It's still merely a small point in the overall good of the plot, however.
There's plenty to make TRUEL1F3 worth the read, especially if you've already enjoyed the first two books: great friendships, beautiful romances, badass fights, more than a few good punchlines. And at the center of it all is a hell of a showdown during the last few chapters between humanity and those not quite. A battle that brings enemies close, fighting against a common foe—it's a rush to see that moment pull up in the pages.
The antagonists Gabriel and Faith... Eve joined their ranks, but these two have been the constants since the opening chapters, and the wrath that has driven them has been almost frightening. It's so easy to dislike them, but there's something about these lifelikes, just like there is with Ezekiel, that made me feel sorry for them. All they wanted was to be their own person, something that we all want. Something that we all get to have, elementally, as human beings. Their wants, and what drives them, never wavered until the very end at Faith's hand. They are horrible, they're wonderfully created in their perfect hostility, and I enjoyed them as much as I do every well-crafted adversary in a fictional tale.
There are times when you really do almost hope that the bad ones win something out of it.
And if you wonder “Did the good guys win? Did a favorite character die after all?” Well, let's just say that good and bad things happened, and this reader is still recovering from some of those moments.
This was a great ride.