BOOK REVIEW- Firstlife (Everlife #1) by Gena ShowalterFirstlife (Everlife #1)
by Gena Showalter
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Synopsis:

Step one...you die.

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, long-time 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 that 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 where the boy she's falling for lives? She just has to stay alive long enough to make a decision…

“What is light, exactly?” What’s she going to be pushing on me?

“Whatever is needed to help someone find a way out of darkness.”

The library that I work at has this great thing where all of our reference team staff members meet once a month to talk about books we’ve been reading recently.  We do this because our tastes are obviously all over the place and by talking about books we love in the genres we love, we can expose other people to books they might not have heard about before.  Mine are ALWAYS YA lol and usually one other woman’s are too.  She brought this series up at our last meeting and it sounded like something I would really like, and probably fly through since we have very similar tastes.  She was right!  I sped through this book and currently have the other two on hold! Fingers crossed I get them ASAP.

Before we parted, the TL assigned to me asked me a question that cracked through a hard outer shell I hadn’t known I’d erected. Are you living your parents’ dream…or your own? I’d scoffed at him then, but that night and every one after, I’d wondered… Why do I believe what I believe? What is truth and what is lie? What is real? What makes me right and so many others wrong? What if I’m wrong?

Now, as a disclaimer, I REALLY did enjoy this book buttttt I feel like talking about the things that grated on me first.  I have never read any other book by Gena Showalter so I don’t know if these things are the norm in the rest of her books but parts of her writing bothered me.  This is small thing that might just bother me because I was an English major but I noticed that there were several words throughout the book that were used COMPLETELY wrong in a sentence.  Like maybe it was just super shitty editing??? Not sure but I just kind of had to stop a few times and wonder what she was trying to actually say.  Shrug.  Then…and this is totally just me…I have really started to notice my age recently (and maybe having a baby now affects me, too).  It might be because more YA seems to be inching closer to NA lately but when I go back and read a contemporary or even certain YA fantay/dystopian/sci fi, I have been having some MAJOR eye roll moments.  Like some of the innuendos that these friggen 16-year-olds use and the sappy moments they have together with situations of expressing their undying love makes me want to gag and/or laugh hysterically (basically things that I would have eaten up a few years ago).  So yeah, there were a few of those moments in here, bahaha.  That was really it for the things I didn’t like though and most seem to just be totally small and personal!

“Living shouldn’t be synonymous with surviving.”

On to what I did like..which was about 90% of it!  Firstly—this super creative storyline!  All humans on Earth are living what is called a Firstlife (so basically just what we’re living right now).  Eventually when they die they will enter one of three realms as their Everlife—Troika which serves the light, Myriad which serves the dark, and then there’s a third in-between kind of place.  You see, to enter the first of the two realms, you have to pledge yourself to one of them before you die.  Those that don’t, end up in the in-between place that has a horrible name for itself.  Spirits called Laborers from Troika and Myriad can also come into the regular human realm in bodies called Shells to basically try to scout people and get them to join their side.  Whichever side has more people basically has the upper hand.

When we meet the main character, Tenley/ Ten, she is locked up in an asylum for young people who refuse to make a decision (mostly by parents who have certain things riding on their children signing to a specific realm).  She gets a roommate, Archer –who is disguised as a girl named Bow (lol), who is her Troika Laborer and eventually runs into bad boy Finn (WHO HAS AN IRISH ACCENT OF COURSE) who is her Myriad Laborer.  She’s a special case because her spirit will either be able to amplify the light or darkness depending on where she ends up in her Everlife.  The two aforementioned eventually help her escape and basically she’s on the run for the rest of the book and spends the entire thing trying to think about what she should end up deciding.  (It’s more interesting and action packed than I just made it sound, too FYI)

This decision was also a part of the book that I LOVED.  It seemed to me that Troika= a version of heaven, Myriad= a version of Hell..but like…a better, more fun version? lol, and I was assuming the in-between place would be like a purgatory.  BUTTTTT here’s the thing.  It wasn’t cut and dry, black and white.  Ten struggled over which to pick because the two main realms have their fill of good and bad points and I loved that.  I can really appreciate when things like this have a little gray area instead of being completely binary.  Makes things niiiiiice and complicated haha.

So yes, overall I would definitely recommend this to anyone who likes a strong and sassy female lead, a super interesting premise, and hot, Irish bad boys.  Won’t tell you what Ten decides so you’ll just have to read and find out for youself!

I prepare to take it like a girl. Better than a man.

 

Which would you choose?