I requested DEV1AT3 by Jay Kristoff from the publisher, and they were kind enough to send me a link to the Netgalley digital arc. LIFEL1K3 was one of my favorite reads last year, so I was excited to continue this series. As with most ongoing series, I was curious if this book would suffer from the curse of the sequel. Be warned! The synopsis contains spoilers for book 1.
Click here for the 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.
The primary character of interest in DEV1AT3 changed from Eve to Lemon Fresh. This isn’t surprising given the title of the book, and other abnorms have a large part to play in the trajectory of the plot. I really enjoyed learning more about Lemon and exactly what she is capable of. Her life before the series began was not an easy one true cert, and her former hardship comes to the fore in her interactions with new characters.
Cricket has the 2nd most page time (I think?), and I loved seeing him come to terms with his new state of being. The nature and validity of robotic minds remains a huge focus in DEV1AT3. Kristoff constantly asks questions about what constitutes being alive, what death means for a creature made of metal, and of course how much respect robots owe to their makers and other humans. Short of providing hard and fast answers, Kristoff finds new thought puzzles to throw his characters into. Just when the moral right seems clear, another situation makes the reader question their stance.
The cyberpunk vibes continue in this book. Several large conglomerates vie for control of the Yousay. My personal favorite is BioMass, a company that strives to create enhanced organic beings that perform complex higher order functions. In LIFEL1K3 a large whale that processed technological waste makes an appearance. DEV1AT3 introduces a new life form called Hunter. Their purpose is, unsurprisingly, to hunt down high priority targets. A certain red haired deviate caught the eye of BioMass, and now Hunter is on her trail. These beings that blur the line between organic and artificial life make questions of robotic autonomy even harder to answer.
One note I did have is that certain aspects of the plot felt a bit contrived. Certain reveals were really over the top, and downright difficult to believe. Regardless, I enjoyed the zany atmosphere those moments created. It kept the story from feeling overly pessimistic or fatalistic. I found myself accurately predicting some twists and turns which was a lot of fun for me.
If you enjoyed the opener of this series, or if you were slightly let down by it I encourage you to pick up the sequel. In a lot of ways, elements of book 1 I didn’t love are improved in book 2. It’s safe to say that this book does NOT suffer from second book syndrome. The pacing and plot is fast paced and structured well. The POV shifts were done well, and were necessary after so many core characters found themselves in different corners of the map. Let me know if you’re excited to pick up DEV1AT3 on June 25th!