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Jay Kristoff

Jay Kristoff grew up in the most isolated capital city on earth and fled at his earliest convenience, although he’s been known to trek back for weddings of the particularly nice and funerals of the particularly wealthy. Being the holder of an Arts degree, he has no education to speak of. He is 6’7 and has approximately 13,870 days to live. He lives in Melbourne with his wife, and the world’s laziest Jack Russell Terrier. Learn more at Jay Kristoff’s website.

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Stormdancer: Japanese steampunk

Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff

The Shima Isles are on the brink of ruin. The empire practically runs on chi, a substance extracted from the bloodlotus plant which fuels its engines but also poisons its soil, kills its animals, and keeps its people addicted with its opium-like qualities. The wars of conquest against the barbarous gaijin are stalled. The citizens live in poverty and pollution while the young, murderous shogun Yoritomo and his court live in luxury.

As Stormdancer starts off, there’s been a recent sighting of an arashitora or “thunder tiger,” a near-mystical creature previously thought extinct. The shogun immediately dispatches his Master Hunter Masaru to catch the griffin-like animal, hoping it will bring glory to his name and help turn the tides of war, but it’s Masaru’s beautiful daughter Yukiko, accompanying her drug-addled father on the hunt, who will build an u... Read More

LIFEL1K3: Star-crossed lovers in a post-apocalyptic cyberpunk world

LIFEL1K3 by Jay Kristoff

Jay Kristoff’s YA post-apocalyptic novel LIFEL1K3 (2018) stars seventeen-year-old Eve as its tough, fauxhawk-sporting protagonist. Eve is a gifted mechanic who lives with her grandfather, her only relative, in a post-apocalyptic island version of “Kalifornya” called the Dregs. She has a cybernetic eye and a memory drive (“Memdrive”) implanted in the side of her head, with silicon chips behind her ear that give her fragmentary memories of her childhood and supply her with other useful life skills. Eve’s secret pastime ― at least it’s secret from Grandpa ― is engaging in robot deathmatches to fund Grandpa’s anticancer meds. Eve’s besties are a feisty redhead named Lemon Fresh, whose name comes from the box in which she was found abandoned as an infant, a cranky little robot named Crick... Read More

DEV1AT3: An entertaining sequel ups the stakes for humanity

DEV1AT3 by Jay Kristoff

In a brutal, blasted country called the Yousay (USA, of course), hostile androids contend against regular humans and superpowered mutants against a backdrop of robot death matches, in a dystopian Mad Max type of world. DEV1AT3 (2019) is the sequel to LIFEL1K3, which should be read first. Obligatory warning: This review ― not to mention a helpful four-page glossary that author Jay Kristoff provides at the very beginning of DEV1AT3 ― contains a few major spoilers for LIFEL1K3. (Those spoilers are also in this book's blurb.)

Eve has spent her entire life thinking she was human, until disco... Read More

Aurora Rising: A snarky space thriller

Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

A lot of YA fantasy and science fiction works follow teenager characters as they attend magic or spaceflight school (I would take either!), but not nearly as many follow the characters’ lives after graduation. Aurora Rising (2019), a new YA space adventure from Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, the authors of the well-regarded ILLUMINAE FILES trilogy, take the latter approach, following a diverse cast of older teens as they graduate from Aurora Academy in the year 2380, are divided into crews of six according to their specialties, and assigned their initial mission for the Aurora Legion.

Tyler Jones, age 18, is at the top of the senior class. A natural leader and stellar studen... Read More