Feb 15, 2016

ARC Review--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…

I received this ARC from the publisher via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

I have been a huge fan of Gena Showalter’s YA books ever since Intertwined! I fell in love with that series and world, and naturally felt the utter devastation with its cancellation. Her newest series begins with Firstlife and it’s a far cry more different than any of her other (YA) books or books that I’ve read. And that is where things start to get difficult.

Firstlife definitely has the futuristic, almost dystopian-like vibe to it. The big deal is deciding which afterlife world you want to live in after you die. That basically, your first life doesn’t really matter, it’s what you do with your second life that counts. There’s Trokia, which is a world filled with more structure, there are rules that apply to everyone, there’s a sense of equality. Myriad is its counterpart almost; it’s more about having fun and there’s a bit of entitlement. There’s no equal footing here, but it’s still a good life, because a good amount of people here are never left wanting anything.

Ten is seventeen and has spent the past year or so in an asylum of sorts. She refuses to sign with either world and this apparently has become a big deal for reasons unknown to us at the beginning. This confused me from the getgo, why put your children, albeit, teenagers, in a hospital of sorts for refusing to pick their afterlife? And so, Ten has been abused in all sorts of ways for several months now. Her parents are both for Myriad and want their daughter to fall in their footsteps.

By a chance of fate and chaos, Ten is able to escape the hospital and soon goes on the run with two boys, Archer and Killian. Archer is from Trokia and Killian is from Myriad, and naturally both are trying to get Ten to choose their afterlife world.

I can’t even really put into words accurately, what made this read such a struggle to get through. I almost DNF’d it several times, as it took way longer to read than it should have from one of my favorite authors. I guess in part some of it might have to do with the world-building. I never really got a good grasp on how this world runs. You’re just kind of thrown into it and then as you stumble along you learn a thing or two, but being told something is not the same as realizing the same thing. A lot of concepts and such were just hard for me to make clear. Such as why Ten is so special. And that becomes obvious from the getgo, as she has representatives from both worlds vying for her soul…you could say.

And here Ten just wants to be free to make her own choices and live her own life. She was a fun heroine to read about it some ways. She had an obsession with numbers that was intriguing, though got a little overwhelming at times, because her obsession could take over at the most inopportune moments. And that kind of detracted from an already confusing story.

Now I mentioned two guys, so you can practically smell a love triangle coming up. And yet, even that became confusing. Just as I think she is choosing one guy, she starts saying how she loves the other! Now I was figuring on that second one, it was more familial love, but it was so unclear to me.

Perhaps some of these things I struggled with were due to reading the ARC. There were also emails placed into the story at odd moments, and with ARCs you never get that final kind of font change. Especially with eARCs. Everything is just the same, you’re lucky if formatting is done correctly, which it doesn’t seem to be all the time. But unfortunately even taking that into mind, I still didn’t really enjoy this one like I wished I had. I mean that cover is gorgeous! The storyline itself sounded intriguing, yet the execution of it all just fell a little flat. The words weren’t flowing right for me. I’m not sure I will be continuing this series either unfortunately. It just wasn’t the right read for me.

Overall Rating 2.5/5 stars

Firstlife releases February 23, 2016


  1. hmm I was excited to read this book but I haven't really found any positive for it out there. I haven't read intertwined series so I can't say what the author is like but i am not sure if I will read this one.

  2. Thannks for the review. I haven't read books by this author yet, though based on your review, I will read her other books before this series.

  3. I'm sorry to see that you didn't like this one much. I'm a little worried because I hate getting thrown into worlds as well! I like explanations that are thorough so I know what's happening and why the world is the way it is.
    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian

  4. *sigh* I had high hopes for this one. Thank you for the honest review <3

  5. Awe sorry you didn't care for this one. Thanks for the honest review. I love Gena's books so I will probably still give it a try though. :)

  6. Jessica omg *squeals* I'm so sorry you didn't like this one as much as her other books. The Intertwined series is one of my absolute favorite series of all time and I really hope this one will be good for me :D

    Alex @ The Book's Buzz

  7. Sad you didn't like it..... was so excited for this books. I see you are reading Assassin's Heart, how are you liking it? would definitely love to read what you have to say for it.

    Aparajita @Le' Grande Codex

  8. Oh no! I was so looking forward to this book, I'm so sorry you didn't like it.

  9. Oh I love Showalter! What a shame that this book didn't work for you. I still plan on giving it a try, but this does bum me out that you didn't enjoy it.

  10. Darn! What a shame because I was looking forward to this one!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  11. That sucks.. The concept is really interesting but it sounds like it was poorly executed.

    czai @ the Blacksheep Project


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