Review: Firstlife by Gena Showalter

Posted March 15, 2016 by Lisa Mandina in / 15 Comments

First, thanks to Harlequin Teen and Netgalley for making an e-galley of this title available to me.  And then I was lucky enough to walk into work at my part time job at Barnes and Noble and find a physical ARC of this title.  I believe this is the first full length book by this author that I’ve read, and I have to say that I was not disappointed!  In fact, I know now that all of her other books will be on my TBR list for sure!  The idea behind this story was a really interesting, and kind of unique one, at least in my opinion. 

The main character is named Ten, which is short for Tenley.  And like her name, she really is into numbers.  Counting, how they relate to what is going on, all of it helps her stay calm and relate to the world around her.  But that’s not what her problem in.  You see in Ten’s world, you have to choose where you are going to go when you die, your Everlife.  There are two different worlds, Troika and Myriad.  Her parents want her to choose Myriad, because her father will get a big reward for bringing her into that life.  But Ten doesn’t want to choose yet.  She doesn’t know which world is where she will want to spend the rest of her time after this life is over.  Her father is tired of waiting on her answer, and so he sends her to an asylum until she makes her decision.  At Prynne asylum, the more she fights making the decision, the worse her stay there becomes.  She is tortured, the guards are threatening both physically and sexually. The other patients there are also dangers. 

At the start of the story we get some correspondence between two recruiters and their bosses.  Each of the realms wants Ten, they believe there is something special about her that she has to be in their realm, to help them in the war against each other.  And so to try to recruit her, both of them are sent in.  The first is sent in as a girl named Bow.  Now Bow is really a boy named Archer, he’s just been given a shell of a girl so that he can be Ten’s roommate and try to sway her that way. The other that is sent in is a boy named Killian.  And Killian, whoa, he is a hottie!  In fact that is kind of how he has pretty much “convinced” all his other recruits to sign.  Ten will learn from these two more about the realms, she will learn that she is important, but she will also find out that a boy she thought loved her was really not who she thought he was. 

Finally they will have to make a decision, get away from the asylum and stop the torture while trying to get Ten to make a decision.  Will her family be put in danger if she doesn’t make a decision?  And she will have to decide which of these two boys to trust, as she learns what they are like, and what they may or may not do in their quest to recruit her for their side.

Yes, there is a bit of a love triangle in this one.  Although I probably had my favorite, Killian.  So I’m sure that will turn some people off from the story. But the world that has been built, all the different details and the look at an afterlife with what could possibly be called purgatory, all of that is stunning and so unique.  The puzzles that Ten has to solve, the family secrets, the betrayal of friends and family alike, all of it leads to a great, suspenseful, but can’t stop turning pages kind of read. I can’t wait for the next book to come out, although I hate that I now have a whole year to wait!

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15 responses to “Review: Firstlife by Gena Showalter

  1. Great review, Lisa! I've been hearing some buzz about this one but this is the first review I've seen. I love the sound of this one! I'm guessing this is the start of the series and not a stand alone? I have no issues with love triangles so that's definitely not a deterrent. I'll definitely be picking this one up!

    Tanya @ Girl Plus Books

    • Yes, definitely a series. I didn't know that for sure, but the ending definitely made that clear. Like you I don't have issues with love triangles, but I'd love to hear what you think after you read it!

    • That is the truth! Choice is a HUGE part of the book. That may have really spoken to me as someone who has trouble making decisions because I'm worried I'll be sorry later.

  2. I'm so glad to see you liked this one. I know a lot of people don't like love triangles, and I have to say, they do tend to iritate me sometimes too, but often I don't mind them, so I just try to go into the book with open mind. Also, I do want to read this one, but we'll see. Great review Lisa!

    Anatea | Anatea's Bookshelf

    • Love triangles can irritate me as well. But only when they seem to just be there to be there, and don't serve the story. Most of the time I don't mind them either. Hope you get a chance to read this one, I really liked it!

    • I haven't read that series yet, but want to. The love triangle really isn't too bad, but then they don't usually bother me, so I can't speak for how you might feel about it.

  3. Ohh great review I've been dying to read a book by Gena Showalter for a long time now. I heard nothing but great raving reviews about her books. And this one looks and sounds utterly fantastic! I absolutely love unique stories with love triangle in them. I think I am in the less majority who loves reading books with love triangle in them. So I know I will most definitely will give this book a try when I can get a chance too read it hopefully soon! Thank you for your awesome post.

  4. I love the cover. Captivated me. It seems kind of morbid deciding where to go when you die which makes for an interesting book. Iffy on the love triangle just because they tend to be one sided. Was it a balence love triangle?

    • That is kind of the way the main character thinks as well, that it is morbid to be thinking about that before you have even barely lived. The love triangle was not too bad, the two guys liked her a lot, and she really liked them a lot, but again, may have been one more as a friend. It just depends how much they bother you!

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