4 out of 5 stars
As good as the first book in the series, Dev1at3 turns the focus from Evie to her supporting cast, and they are well worth the spotlight.
At the end of Lifel1k3, Evie Carpenter, orphan and scrappy scavenger girl in a post-apocalyptic American future, turned out not to be a girl at all. In Dev1at3, she has joined the inhumanly perfect ranks of her android siblings in their revenge quest to destroy humankind.
Now Lemon Fresh, the even scrappier, sassier sidekick, is elevated to main character. The story centers on her abnormality: the ability to control electricity with her mind. Lemon is hunted, both by the fanatical purity cult the Brotherhood, and by the corporation BioMaas. Separated from adorably snarky robot Cricket and dashing, lovestruck lifelike Ezekiel, she falls in with a crew of other abnorms. Their desert hideout becomes her sanctuary as she, Cricket, and Ezekiel battle to get back to each other before they can return their attention to Evie.
Dev1at3‘s action is non-stop. It’s fun and smash-y, barren and visceral. Kristoff keeps the Brotherhood frightening without veering into boring, a tough thing to do when talking religious fanaticism. BioMaas is heckin’ scary too. There’s enough creativity in their baddies for a book series of its own. And the abnorms that Lemon falls in with are fun, gritty foils. There are twists, turns, lies, and betrayals galore.
Ezekiel’s quest to “save” Evie, whatever that means now, also evolves compellingly. He’s technically no more human than she is… but he is, and it scares them both. The idea of robot rebellion could be single-minded and stale, but Kristoff has plenty of new ways to shake it up. I cared more about the robots-who-are-robots, like Cricket and Solomon, than the lifelike robots-meant-to-be-better-than-people.
And of course, Kristoff saved the best twist for the end. It’s as good and as WHAT. and as hurry up with the next book! as the ending of Lifel1k3. With so many characters to care about, I can only hope where the next book will go.