Book Review: Firstlife (Everlife #1) by Gena Showalter
Firstlife Everlife #1 By: Gena Showalter Release Date: Feb. 23, 2016 Publisher: Harlequin Teen Add to Goodreads Source: eARC from publisher in exchange for a honest review GR's Summary: ONE CHOICE. TWO REALMS. NO SECOND CHANCE. Tenley “Ten” Lockwood is an average seventeen-year-old girl…who has spent the past thirteen months locked inside the Prynne Asylum. The reason? Not her obsession with numbers, but her refusal to let her parents choose where she’ll live—after she dies. There is an eternal truth most of the world has come to accept: Firstlife is merely a dress rehearsal, and real life begins after death. In the Everlife, two realms are in power: Troika and Myriad, longtime enemies and deadly rivals. Both will do anything to recruit Ten, including sending their top Laborers to lure her to their side. Soon, Ten finds herself on the run, caught in a wild tug-of-war between the two realms who will do anything to win the right to her soul. Who can she trust? And what if the realm she’s drawn to isn’t home to the boy she’s falling for? She just has to stay alive long enough to make a decision…
When I saw the book cover for Firstlife, I fell in love. The colors and graphic are gorgeous, and I would love to have a book this beautiful displayed in my personal library. Going into the reading of Firstlife, I was attracted to the intriguing and unique book summary. I've been in the mood for a good young adult fantasy read, and had high hopes for this one.
Our main character, Tenley "Ten" Lockwood has been institutionalized in the Prynne Asylum. In the "first life," people are urged to give their allegiance to one of two groups, the Myraid or the Troika for their "after life." Ten is being pressured by her parents to choose the Myraid realm. However, she wants to make the decision on her own. After her refusal to choose Myraid, Ten is tortured, starved, and threatened in the Prynne Asylum as a means to coerce her into choosing Myraid.
In the meantime, Myraid has sent Killian and Troika has sent Archer, their top laborers, to recruit Ten. As danger abounds, Ten doesn't know who to trust, and is scared of making the wrong decision on where she will spend eternity... While I had high expectations for Firstlife, this story wasn't anything like I had anticipated. It was very long, dragged a bit, and initially was hard for me to connect with the main characters. There was a lot of detailed information-perhaps too much. I think the story would have improved if it had been shortened and simplified. On the other hand, Firstlife was a unique concept that I enjoyed exploring. There was not a love triangle. While Killian was clearly the guy that Ten was interested in, she just felt close friendship, as far as Archer was concerned. I loved Ten's gutsy, courageous, and independent attitude. She had a lot of spirit, and a huge heart. However, her stubbornness and indecision drove me crazy. It was obvious, at least to me that Trokia was the fit for her. I wanted her to make a decision, because the longer she stalled, the more danger and drama intensified. At the half way point the story began to pick up, and by 70% I was fully invested. Suspense, action, and plot twists were woven throughout the pages. I started to click more with the characters, and see them developing and growing. The story ends in a cliffhanger, and leaves you wanting the sequel!
Firstlife is a fresh and unique story. There were a lot of life lessons, and symbolism within it's pages. You can read it at surface level, but it has a lot of substance, and makes for a philosophical read. There are two very diverse ways of thinking that we're exposed to as we learn the Troikian and Myraidian philosophies. I enjoyed the deeper thinking and contemplating of my own beliefs as I compared and contrasted them to these two very different groups. I give, Firstlife, by Gena Showalter, 3 Indecision, Coercion, Crushing on Killian, Danger-Filled Stars!
Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of the spellbinding Lords of the Underworld and Angels of the Dark series, two young adult series--Everlife and the White Rabbit Chronicles--and the highly addictive Original Heartbreakers series. In addition to being a National Reader's Choice and two time RITA nominee, her romance novels have appeared in Cosmopolitan (Red Hot Read) and Seventeen magazine, she's appeared on Nightline and been mentioned in Orange is the New Black--if you ask her about it, she'll talk for hours…hours! Her books have been translated in multiple languages. She’s hard at work on her next novel, a tale featuring an alpha male with a dark side and the strong woman who brings him to his knees. You can learn more about Gena, her menagerie of rescue dogs, and all her upcoming books at genashowalter.com or Facebook.com/genashowalterfan