5 stars – Mary on Goodreads
Yes, this is a simply written fable, about themes that have been explored before. Yes, it’s in the ubiquitous, annoying, present tense. But, in Lifeform Three, there is a good reason for that narrative choice. Paftoo, a bot, may be remade any minute, his memories taken from him. Without memory and will, what are we? Morris lets us consider these questions as Paftoo himself considers and explores his world. Because he’s been struck by lightning, he is defective; he cannot shut himself off at night, and he can’t help observing and questioning the world around him. When he does sleep, he dreams. In his dreams, he is riding a horse – a lifeform three – who has a name, and who knows and loves him. Is it just a dream, or did it happen?
The twists toward the end were wonderful, and, in one case, heartbreaking. The book this most reminded me of was Lois Lowry’s The Giver. It asks similar questions about individuality, memory, and the transformative power of love. It’s quite an accessible story and older kids and teens might well enjoy it as much as their elders. Nicely done!