Review: Firstlife by Gena Showalter

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Firstlife by Gena ShowalterEverlife by Gena Showalter
Series: Everlife #1
Published by Harlequin Teen on February 23, 2016
Pages: 480
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
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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…

When I first started this book and found the opening pages (filled with emails between certain characters) absolutely hilarious, I was convinced this would be the book to get me out of my reading slump. It was definitely a unique, intriguing read on many levels. Despite that, I still had a small number of issues with it. And though it didn’t necessarily get me out of my slump, I did really enjoy it.

So, like I said, the opening pages consist of a series of emails between certain characters. These emails pop up a few times throughout the book. Everything about them – the subject lines, the content, everything – was hilarious! It was a fun, creative way to introduce us to the characters. And I definitely loved the characters (for the most part)!

Tenley “Ten” is hilarious, defiant and a spitfire. I loved the way she refused to cave and make a decision out of fear or force. She was also a pretty great fighter, refusing to let people fight her battles. However, after awhile, her indecision did become annoying and repetitive: “That’s a point for Troika. But maybe Myriad is better. But I refuse to do what my parents tell me. But I’ve thought about Myriad since I was a little girl but maybe Troika is the better place…” I mean, seriously. I hit my boiling point around page 300. Plus, how many times can one girl get knocked out, poisoned, stabbed, etc and yet keep getting saved and come back from death? Like… Really?

Sloan was incredibly annoying in the beginning, embodying a version of the dreaded “mean girl” trope. As the story went on, though, I really liked her and the relationship between her and Ten. The ending shocked the crap out of me, though, and and I was super disappointed. I understand the WHY, but I just still didn’t like it.

I loved both Archer and Killian. There’s a thing that happens in the beginning with Archer – I can’t explain it without spoilers, but it was HILARIOUS! He was like the Protector. And Killian was over-confident and cocky, but he often showed a softer, vulnerable side, which I loved. They both had their faults, but overall, I just adored them. As for them being Ten’s love interests… I got more of the friend vibe from Archer. But I seriously shipped Ten and Killian, like, a lot. But then again, I’ve always had a soft spot for the bad boys! Both boys were seriously hilarious, adorable and epic. I’m REALLY upset about Archer’s fate and I’m worried what Ten’s decision will mean for her and Killian going forward.

There were a lot of secondary characters, so I’ll just mention a few briefly: Ten’s parents were awful to her, but especially her dad. Her mom kind of redeemed herself in the end. Her father didn’t, though his fate was still shocking. I wanted to punch Vans the entire time! And Pearl. And James.

This was my first Gena Showalter book and the writing and tone were INCREDIBLE. Showalter is HILARIOUS. I especially loved her dialogue! I mean.. ‘whore galore,’ ‘He-slut’ ?!? Bahaha!!!! I was cackling out loud as I read this book! I couldn’t help it! I mean, I dare you to read the below quotes without laughing out loud:

“I didn’t fail with her, puppy, I cleared the way for you. You’re welcome.” – Levi to Archer

“Persuade the girl to make covenant with us, but keep your pants zipped while you do it.” – Pearl to Killian

Ten: “You leak liquid glitter when you’re injured!”
Killian: “Glitter? How dare you. My manliness is offended.”

Now, a few complaints I had… Unfortunately, I definitely think this book was too long. Certain scenes felt dragged out and some felt unnecessary. As I mentioned, Ten’s constant Troika vs. Myriad back-and-forth was REALLY repetitive. And that added to the too-long dragging of this book. My other complaint is that, I couldn’t nail down the exact traits for Myriad or Troika. Mostly because, depending on who Ten was talking to, either place could be the equivalent of heaven or hell. I think, by the end, I had each place pretty much figured out, but it was a bit frustrating how confusing it was in the beginning.

The ending was INTENSE. So much happened and I STILL can’t wrap my mind around it all. So many thoughts and feels and I don’t know how I feel about everything that happened. I’m REALLY excited for the second book and can’t wait to see what happens next! I have a feeling book two is going to be action-packed, since the end is just the beginning for these characters! (See what I did there? Hehe!).

Overall, I really loved this book. Though it was too long and Ten’s indecision added to that feeling, the plot was intriguing, the characters were amazing and the writing was epic! I highly recommend this one!