This ARC was sent to me by the publisher at my request. All thoughts and opinions expressed are completely my own and not influenced in any way. Thank you to Penguin Random House/Knopf BFYR for giving me a chance to read this book early.
Please note, DEV1AT3 is book 2 in the LIFEL1K3 series. As such, there are spoilers for LIFEL1K3 in the synopsis and in this review. The review is spoiler free for the events in DEV1AT3.
Author: Jay Kristoff
Publisher: Penguin/Knopf BFYR
Release Date: June 25, 2019
Synopsis: Lemon Fresh has seen better days.
After the climactic battle in Babel, she finds herself separated from Ezekiel and Cricket in the wastelands. Lemon’s abilities to manipulate electricity mark her as a deviate, and deadly corporate operatives are hunting her to use as a weapon in the war between BioMaas Incorporated and Daedelus Technologies. Instead, Lemon finds herself falling in with a group of fellow deviates—a band of teenagers with astonishing abilities, led by an enigmatic figure known as the Major, who may hold the secrets to Lemon’s past.
Meanwhile, Cricket finds himself in possession of the puritanical Brotherhood, a religious cult set for a head-on collision with the Major and his band. Searching for Lemon, Ezekiel finds a strange ally in an old enemy, and uncovers a plot that may see him reunited with his beloved Ana.
And inside Babel, a remade Eve hatches a plan to bring an end to the world.
Rating: I loved DEV1AT3. That’s it. That’s the rating.
I always find it difficult to review books written by Jay Kristoff. I’m either too stressed out and/or mad over a tense cliffhanger or I’m just annoyed by how darn well this man can write. With DEV1AT3, I find that I am stressed out, mad, AND annoyed, because dear lord was this book a wild ride through Kristoff’s fever dream of a world.
First off, I need to point out that this book has a recap of the events of LIFEL1K3 before the main story starts and can all books do this forever, please? It was HUGELY beneficial, especially considering the intricacies and intensity of LIFEL1K3. And in typical Kristoff fashion, it was snarky and amusing as well.
DEV1AT3 starts off almost right where LIFEL1K3 left off: Eve has found out her true heritage and left Ezekiel and Lemon Fresh to fend for themselves on the Glass. From here, we follow each of our mains on their separate, yet intertwined, journeys. While I couldn’t give you an exact percentage, the bulk of the book focuses on Lemon Fresh, which is nice because she is a god-damned delight. However, with Lemon Fresh in the limelight (oh god, I hate myself a little for that), Eve’s story suffers. Maybe it is intentional, but she just doesn’t evoke any emotion for me in this book. I felt for Eve deeply in LIFEL1K3, but she feels truly lost to me here. Considering where her story goes, it could be that Kristoff intended for readers to feel this way, but I’m not sure. Thus, ends my only criticism of this book.
What I enjoyed most about this book, besides Lemon’s witty retorts, was the deeper exploration into the wild world that Kristoff has created. We get robot fight club, more deviates, and a peak into the evolution of the post-apocalyptic societies. The world building is so easy to absorb and doesn’t fall into the clunkiness that happens in a lot of dystopian stories. Of course, this is a Kristoff books so the writing is sharp and full of snark. There are plenty of little plot twists and more than a few big ones. The ending is intensely Robin Hood (you’ll know what I mean when you read the book).
DEV1AT3, like its predecessor, is a shining story of friendship and family set against a dark, dystopian desert background. I am desperately looking forward to the next book in this wonderfully wild series.