Firstlife by Gena Showalter



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…

Song for This Book:
 Secrets by OneRepublic


I was really excited to read this book. A universe where you had to choose which type of life you wanted to lead and which people you would be associated with? A main character who struggles to fit herself into the moulds that go along with each other these worlds? Possibly the most interesting book cover I have seen in a while? Sign me up, because that sounds like my type of book.

Except that wasn’t what it really turned out to be about at all. It started out that way, but then the love triangle emerges. I was prepared for that – the synopsis made it pretty clear. But that ended up being what the whole thing revolved around. It became less about Ten being a strong character who didn’t want to label herself, to Ten not being able to pick which boy (and along with them, which universe) she wanted. What had begun as strength turned into not being able to to pick who she cared about more, with some stubbornness thrown in.

The Good Points of Firstlife:
-The whole premise was really interesting. We didn’t get to see a lot of the two worlds that make up the afterlife, but what we did get was fascinating. I would have liked to see more, but I can see why we would have to wait with how the book progressed.
-The cover is absolutely beautiful.

The Downsides of Firstlife:
-WHY IS THIS GIRL BASING HER ENTIRE FUTURE OFF OF WHICH GUY SHE LIKES MORE?!? Maybe this is just me and my unromantic ways, but it seemed like she didn’t understand the magnitude of her decision, because she’s too boy crazy to focus on anything else.
-The characters were less people and more stereotypes. They had a couple of characteristics each, but they didn’t really develop into anything more.
-It seemed unnecessarily violent at some points. I get that it was part of the story, but did we really need all of those details. Sometimes less is more.
-I would have liked more backstory as a general. I wanted to know more about the two realms, and more about why Tenley is important, and more about all of the characters that come out of the realms.

All in all, I was rather disappointed in this book. I am glad that I borrowed a copy rather than picking up one of my own (with the gorgeous cover, I was so tempted!), because I don’t think I would read it again. I may read the sequel when it comes out, just to get more information on the realms, but if I don’t, I don’t think it will be a huge loss.


5 thoughts on “Firstlife by Gena Showalter

  1. “WHY IS THIS GIRL BASING HER ENTIRE FUTURE OFF OF WHICH GUY SHE LIKES MORE?!? Maybe this is just me and my unromantic ways, but it seemed like she didn’t understand the magnitude of her decision, because she’s too boy crazy to focus on anything else.”

    This sounds -horrible-. You must be a patient reader, to have stuck with it through the entire book.

    If you don’t mind giving spoilers, can I ask why Ten was so special that the two factions were desperate to recruit her? (Just to verify whether I should be Very Mad or INFURIATED by this book, you see.)


    1. I’m trying to finish every book I start this year (I’m awful for getting distracted with new books in the middle of another), which is the only reason I stuck through it.

      *~*~*~*~SPOILER*~*~*~ For anyone who doesn’t want to know and is reading this far.
      They had terms for it, but I don’t have the book anymore, so I can’t check and I don’t remember. But she’s going to be especially powerful in her afterlife. She’s going to be responsible for which realm gets all the power and which one falls. Their fates rest on her and all that. Which is a fine idea to me, but she’s more concerned with the boys.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I–I’m kind of flabbergasted. “She’s super special because whichever team gets her will become really powerful” is possibly one of the silliest special-snowflake explanations I’ve heard to date. Hopefully it’s sufficiently explained in the sequel, because wow. You definitely deserve a standing ovation for finishing this book!

        Liked by 1 person

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