High-octane sci fi with two besties and a robot dog.

Lifelike, by Jay Kristoff

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Eve and LemonFresh are “bestests” in a high-tech, post-apocalyptic world. They live with Eve’s grandpa in a trash wasteland, surrounded by the discarded dregs of what was once civilization, getting by on grandpa’s mad tech skills and Eve’s bot fights in the War Dome. Until those bot fights almost get her killed. When a giant robot corners her, she throws out one terrified hand and screams.

And the bot falls down dead, its circuits fried from the inside.

It’s called “manifesting”—when a latent mutation emerges—and it’s the mark of death. The crazed Brotherhood is determined to wipe all human mutation off the planet. And Eve’s just manifested on live video feed, broadcast throughout the corp territories.

So begins a nonstop chase across a dystopian landscape that evokes Mad-Maxian imagery, with a besties friendship worthy of Betty and Veronica. (Yeah, Mad Max meets Riverdale. We went there.) But there’s a lot more to it than just high-octane adventure. The inclusion of sentient robots leads into a much deeper story, raising profound questions about compassion and diversity and what it really means to be human.

That’s what we loved most about Lifelike. It’s an interesting story. In the midst of all the action and fighting and running, it still makes you think.

About how we treat technology, and, ultimately, how we treat each other.

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