Review: Firstlife – Gena Showalter

Posted 22 February, 2016 by Linda @ (un)Conventional Bookworms in Reviews / 21 Comments

*I received a free copy of Firstlife from Harlequin Teen via Netgalley. This has in no way influenced my voluntary review, which is honest and unbiased *

Warning: This book includes mature content such as: sexual content, and/or drug and/or alcohol use, and/or violence.
Review: Firstlife – Gena ShowalterFirstlife by Gena Showalter
Series: Everlife #1
Published by Harlequin Teen on 23 February 2016
Genres: Dystopian, Fantasy, Suspense, Young Adult
Pages: 480
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
4 Stars

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 set in a unique world with very strong mythology and factions fighting each other for power over the realms, not only in the first life, but in the ever life as well.

Review - (un)Conventional Bookviews

In the very complex universe of Firstlife, there is a lot of darkness, and Ten’s story starts with horror. She’s a prisoner in an asylum, where her parents have sent her in order to make her sign her everlife with Myriad. She, however, wants to make her own choice, and she still isn’t sure if Myriad or Troika will be the best place to spend the rest of her existence. War between the two realms doesn’t make her decision any easier, and even in the asylum, between torture and hardly no food, there are labourers who are trying their best to sway her to sign on her second life to their faction.

I loved Ten, she’s smart, she’s extremely stubborn, and she learns from everything that happens to her – even the torture somehow builds her up rather than tear her down. The mythology in Firstlife is something that is closer to ancient mythology, and there is the theme of darkness versus light, but not necessarily with the undertones of good versus bad. Both factions seem to have both good and bad things going for them, and Ten want to make sure her choice is her own, not something her power-hungry father forces her into so that he can have riches in the firstlife.

Ten is supposedly very important for both realms, because she has a power that hasn’t been seen in a long time. She also has a very strong mind, and she is able to use her strength at moments when most other characters in young adult novels would turn over, whine, and not take any action towards making things better – neither for themselves or other. Ten, however, does both! She wants life, both the firstlife and the everlife, to be better for everyone. She yearns for peace, and she wants to feel that she belongs somewhere. She tries not to make rash, emotional decisions, and I really loved that about her. That, and all the ways she used numbers to guide her.

Written in first person point of view from Ten’s perspective, and in present tense, the novel managed to keep me at the edge of my seat, because I was truly right there next to Ten, through her many, many pains, and her few victories and heartfelt moments. There is romance and even a possible love triangle, but it didn’t take anything away from the main plot or story, and managed to show that both possible romantic characters were viable. It was also refreshing to not hear Ten denigrate herself or think she wasn’t worthy of the boys. I will be waiting anxiously for the next instalment in this series, because the ending is nothing but a new beginning.

Fave Quotes - (un)Conventional Bookviews

I was born on the tenth day of the tenth month at 10:10 am. And, okay. All right. Maybe I’m obsessed with numbers because they always tell a story and unlike people, they never lie.

“Maybe not, but I’ll still make the offer. Yesterday, today and tomorrow, my actions matter.” 
In that, I agree with her. I’ll even take it a step further. The most destructive or constructive actions begin with a single thought.

I can’t allow a momentary pain to eclipse and eternal decision. Feelings are fleeting, no matter how earth-shattering they seem; they never last, always change. A covenant is forever. 

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

Linda @ (un)Conventional Bookworms

About Linda @ (un)Conventional Bookworms

Linda is an English as foreign language teacher and has a Master's degree in English Language and Literature. She's an avid reader, blogger, compulsive one-clicker and a genre omnivore. Ever since she learnt how to read she has been seen with a book or two in her hands everywhere she goes.

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21 responses to “Review: Firstlife – Gena Showalter

  1. I’m thinking I’d really like to meet Ten, Lexxie. I like that she’s a YA heroine who stands up for herself and others – who’s strong where others her age would fold. And I’m most curious about her obsession with numbers. 😉 Her parents were really creative with her name, huh?!? 😉 I’m glad you enjoyed Firstlife so well. It’s definitely going on my tbr! 😀
    *BIG HUGS*

  2. I’ve read some reviews where people complained about the MC’s inability to choose, and that this annoyed the reader. ON the other hand, sometimes characters make decisions that are too rash without thinking it through, so maybe not deciding is a good thing sometimes. I haven’t read this one yet, but I want to.

    • I think I would have been disappointed if she had made a rash choice, Majanka. Her choice would affect the rest of her lives, after all. Both the life she was living now, and the second life, the everlife that would start after her death, and where she would be transported to the realm she had chosen. I hope you’ll enjoy Fistlife as much as I did!

    • The factions aren’t like those in other dystopias I have read, Lekeisha, and I only called them factions for lack of a better words. It’s like two very different ways of seeing life, and religion, really. I hope you’ll pick it up one day, and that you’ll enjoy it as well.

  3. I’m glad you liked this one so much, Lexxie! Ten sure went through a LOT, omg. I’m a bit in awe of her stamina. xD I so definitely want to see where the next book will take the story though…

    Thanks for stopping by @ Paper Fury!

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