Book Review: Firstlife by Gena Showalter

11 Mar 2016

Book Title: Firstlife
Author: Gena Showalter
Series: Everlife #1
Release Date: February 23rd, 2016
Genres: YA Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance

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…

"Counting is my passion, and numerology my favourite addiction. Maybe because every breath we take is another tick on our clock, putting us one step closer to death...and a new beginning."

Well color me surprised with this one! I'm new to Gena Showalter but once again when it comes to gorgeous covers, I SIMPLY CANNOT RESIST. And I just want to say that I'm so very glad I gave this book a chance because oh hot damn, it was all kinds of amazing!


Honestly if I had to describe this book in one word: UNIQUE. Like crazily unique from all the YA fantasy/paranormal reads I've binge read thus far. I mean, I've read storylines that talks about other realms or heaven and hell or rebirth but damn- this was on a whole other level of the afterlife! Not gonna lie, it was a little confusing and hard to grasp at first. But it was well worth it later on!

Basically the gist of this story is: There is a life after death. But wait- there's more! You get to choose which afterlife you pledge to, split into two realms. The Myriad and The Troikans. Both realms send "Labourers" to convince people to join either sides. It'a a choice between good versus evil, Heaven versus Hell or war versus peace. And it doesn't stop there. If you don't choose either before death comes knocking, you'll be an Unsigned which leaves you in a more rotten place than Hell. 

That my friends, is where our heroine, Tenley "Ten" Lockwood will end up being if she can't decide. Throw in two top-notch labourers who are out to get Ten to sign for either side, it's a tug of war and a race with time before Ten gets killed by the losing party. 


Let's talk romance -- I LOVED IT. Don't get your panties in a bunch if you're thinking "Not another love triangle!" because yes it is somewhat one. BUT I rarely called it one when the romance between one of the guys is more evident than the other. Not spilling the beans here at all but I was completely rooting for one guy since the very beginning and MY SHIPS SAILS STRONG! 
He presses his forehead against mine and cups my nape, his thumb stroking up, into my hair and down, under the collar of my shirt.

"I don't just want you," he says. "I want you."

"And I don't understand the difference," I tell him honestly. Even still, his admission makes me tingle.

"The first I can easily walk away from.
The make me feel—you make me feel."

The storyline reeled me in like a hook, line and sinker! The start of the book were emails exchange of BOTH labourers which got me intrigued. Also I did mention that the first few chapters may send you into a doozy with the world-building information but trust me, it'll be worth it! In hindsight, I can now understand why the first few chapters were important and how it really builds up to Ten's development as a character.

"Here, at least. I can tell myself that what happens is temporary. In the Everlife, I can't do that. It's permanent."  

And there were multiple plot twists!! So many that SHOCKED me to the core. Definitely filled of surprises and kept me on my toes for a good majority of the time. The last portion of the read had me gripping my Kindle so hard I was almost sure that I was about to die in anticipation. Honestly, I'm still trying to recover from the events that happened...

I know there are readers who would find Ten to be wishy washy with her indecisiveness to choose the realm she will end up being but not me. I really understood her and the reasoning behind her inability to just pick one realm. There's Myriad whose methods rely mainly on deception and there's Troika which is all that is holy and uphold its law. Both realms can promise an afterlife that seems so desirable but in the end, there can only be one.

"Can no one like me just because I'm me? Will I always be a commodity to win rather than a person to love?"

I need the next book now like I need air, I swear!!! Everyone brace yourself for impact especially with the final line in the book because the real deal is only about to start from here and on. Firstlife is definitely a strong start to a series that will keep you at the edge constantly because the entire time I was reading the book, I was torn between siding Myriad and Troika. If only I could choose both!

"Remember, the truth hurts for a little while. Lies hurt forever."

Gena Showalter

Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty books in paranormal and contemporary romances, as well as young adult novels. Her series include White Rabbit Chronicles, Angels of the Dark, Otherworld Assassins, Lords of the Underworld, Alien Huntress and Intertwined.

Her novels have appeared in Cosmopolitan Magazine, and Seventeen Magazine, and have been translated all over the world. The critics have called her books "sizzling page-turners" and "utterly spellbinding stories", while Showalter herself has been called “a star on the rise”. 

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