Friday, March 11, 2016

Review: Firstlife

Everlife #1
Gena Showalter
Paranormal Young Adult
480 pages
Harlequin Teen
Available Now
Source: ARC from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)

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…

Firstlife is a dark start to this new series, introducing us to Ten in the asylum of which she's a temporary resident, and we're quickly submerged in the horrors of her day to day life. Ms. Showalter doesn't pull many punches in the opening third of this tale, the physical and emotional torture (as her parents are the one ordering her "treatment") ensuring we grow attached to Ten quickly and easily if for no other reason than to be a silent support system and witness to her abuse. Ms. Showalter doesn't leave us in complete darkness however, her trademark sense of humor providing much needed moments of levity in the form of two new inmates to Prynne Asylum, and we grab hold of those fleeting moments with all our strength before Ten's capacity for pain endurance is tested once again.

The aforementioned inmates turn out to be two young men, one from Troika and one from Myriad, sent to convince Ten to sign her Everlife (or life after human death) over to their realm, and while the mention of two guys in Ten's life might send many a reader running for the hills, no love triangle forms. Archer, the representative from Troika, initially comes to Ten in the form of her female roommate in the asylum, and their bond, even when he returns to his naturally glorious male form, remains firmly in the friendship zone until it gradually deepens and becomes one that exists between family. Her romantic feelings are for Killian exclusively, though the romance between them remains in the background of the epic battle between Troika and Myriad to recruit Ten, and is deliciously slow in forming due to her understandable trust issues.

Firstlife is a thrill ride from beginning to end, the callousness with which one of the realms in particular treats a person's human life something that makes our blood boil and our loyalty shift to its enemy with far less deliberation than Ten undertakes. Her inability to pick a side is completely understandable within the context of her circumstances however, and before it becomes a source of frustration she makes it clear to us as readers who she favors, but she must continue to avoid a firm decision in order to play the political game she's unwillingly drawn into.

Overall, this first installment is a fast, enthralling read despite its length, Ten's story both brutal and uplifting as she's forced to learn what family and friendship truly mean in the most painful way possible.

Rating: 4/5

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This book was sent to me by the publisher  free of charge for the purpose of a review
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.


  1. 2 guys and yet no love triangle? What a novel idea. I've never read anything by Gena Showalter before, but I feel like I should because her books are always well received and they definitely seem thrilling!

  2. Choose my afterlife...well ok, hopefully one has cookies!

  3. I've heard a bit about this, sounds super interesting! One to check out I think xx

  4. I am really curious about this one, so thanks for the review. I have never read anything by Showalter, so I was wondering if should start here. It sounds really unique -- glad you enjoyed this one! Have a great weekend, Jenny!

  5. I didnt expect this one to pask an emotional punch! I love darker books so I can't wait to feel for Ten.

  6. I didnt expect this one to pask an emotional punch! I love darker books so I can't wait to feel for Ten.

  7. it's great to find a good book like that! I didn't know about it but it sounds fun! The idea is so intriguing!

  8. I'm glad to hear that it's not a triangle! I was worried about that. The world really sounds fascinating, so I'm intrigued by this book. I'm wondering though if I should maybe wait for the next book to be out so I can do a binge.
    I'm glad you enjoyed this, Jenny! :)
    Great review!

  9. I am beginning to think I need to pick this up. I am loving the sound of the world.

  10. Yay! Glad you liked this as much as I did Jenny, I really did think it was a fun different kind of read and I can't wait til book two!

  11. I am growing more curious about this one as I continue to read great reviews. I just finished Red Rising so I am not up for another dark read yet, but I am definitely considering this one. I hope you have a fantastic weekend.

  12. Oh what a twisted premise... and it looks even more twisted in the execution. Yea, you know I want to read it now. LOL I will have to add this one to the wishlist.

  13. It's good to hear this is fast despite it's length. I have it on my pile but it was one I ended up skipping since I just couldn't get through all the March releases. I'm not yet sure if I'll read it but I'm definitely more interested now.

  14. It sounds so twisty! I love the cover.

  15. As you know it was a mixed bag of feelings for me on this one, but I'm still very curious about book two. I love the fact that even through the darkest times, Showalter inserts her trademark humor and moments of light.
    Great review, Jenny :)

  16. I don't know about this one, Jenny. Not quite in the mood for psychological thrillers nowadays. :/

  17. I wasn't sure about this one initially but your review has me sold! I haven't read anything by Showalter yet but I need to fix that and this sounds like a good place to start! I love how thrilling this sounds :D

  18. I do like the sound of this one well enough, but I have my doubts. Some people get annoyed by the indecision as far as the reviews lead me to believe. But I am glad you can enjoy this one! I need to think about it some more...