Book Review: Firstlife – Gena Showalter

Title: Firstlife
Author: Gena Showalter
Genre: Young Adult – Fantasy, Romance

Buy Link:

Blurb (from Goodreads): 
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…

My Review: 
I had just recently started hearing a little bit of buzz about Firstlife recently when I saw that the audio book was available for download from my library, so I decided I’d give it a shot. A long while ago I was a fan of Gena Showalter, so I figured giving her YA novels a try would be worth the time.

What I Loved: This was a unique world that Showalter has created. I enjoyed learning about the two (three) sides of the afterlife, and their differences. More so, I enjoyed getting to know Archer and Killian along with Ten(ley). When the book started, I wasn’t sure which direction we were going to take on the whole romance angle, and I actually guessed wrong – which was a pleasant surprise for me actually. I wanted to be wrong, though I was interested in how what I thought was going to happen would…(clear as mud?! 😉 )

I enjoyed the banter between all three main characters, they were witty and silly at times, and serious others. The boys were even a bit overwhelmingly over protective at times, a trait that I love in book-form only. I loved Ten’s loyalty to her friends. Despite the two afterlives fighting for her allegiance, and the decisions her friends were making along the way, she remained rather impartial and even respected their decisions. She was genuinely trying to figure out what was best for her life.

There was no lack of action in Firstlife. There was always constant motion – even if I wasn’t sure exactly where that motion was suppose to be leading.

I cannot leave this section without mentioning the narrator, Emma Galvin.  Even in the times when I felt like the book was running long, Emma was the saving grace – because she did such an excellent job, especially with the accents.  It was beautifully done!

Not So Much: There were many parts of this book that I felt were sort of loose ends, or scenes that kind of seemed unnecessary to the story line (unless they play a role in the next parts of the series, though that doesn’t really seem that likely). I also felt the first half of the book dragged on a bit long as well – it truly was the two boys fighting for her allegiance the best they could, just a constant ‘sign with…’ every time something happened.

I spent a good portion of this book kind of understanding why there was such a huge fight to sign Tenley, but mostly was left wondering what really was the big deal with this girl.

The Verdict:    

I think this series is going to have to come together a bit more before I’m able to know if I’m going to really like it or just kind of like it. Right now I’m on the “eh, it was okay,” end of the spectrum, but intrigued enough to give the 2nd book a chance when it is released. If the 2nd book doesn’t really capture me completely though, I wouldn’t give the 3rd book much of a chance (I’m just assuming this is a three book series). This book had mild cussing and some sex talk suitable for high school teenagers.

2 thoughts on “Book Review: Firstlife – Gena Showalter

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