5 stars – Jayden Robyn
I didn’t check this book out for a while, because science fiction generally isn’t my thing, whether it’s space opera or dystopia or anywhere in between. I don’t always like literary fiction, as a whole, either. But I found Roz Morris’s other book, My Memories of a Future Life, fascinating, and her writing was top-notch, so I decided to give this a go. And I am glad I did.
Lifeform Three, while not quite a dystopian book, is set in the future, and the only remaining countryside is preserved at Harkaway Hall, a theme park that is taken care of by bods. The entire story is written in third-person present tense, which can be really tricky to pull off, but Morris does it effortlessly. Morris’s prose the entire book is effortless, always beautiful but always in service to the story she’s telling.
And what a story it is. Simply, yet very profoundly, Morris brings up questions of belonging to a group, individual identity, our relationship to nature and animals, and how easily we destroy nature to suit our own desires. Everything is woven into the story so that it never becomes preachy or out of place. Paftoo is a likable protagonist, and I was rooting for him the whole way. The side characters all have their own quirks that separate them from the others (especially since each bod’s name begins with ‘Paf’) and Morris also really knows her horses–not just the semantics of riding and training, but horses themselves. I would have read this sooner had I caught on that a lifeform three is a horse!
Best of all, Lifeform Three was perfectly clean. No language, no graphic content of any kind; I could easily recommend it to anyone. And I would recommend it. If you’re looking for a thoughtful, unique, yet entertaining read, check out Lifeform Three.