Friday, February 19, 2016

#Friday Review - Firstlife by Gena Showalter (Young Adult, Dystopian)

Series: Everlife # 1
Format: E-Galley, 480 pages
Release Date: February 23, 2016
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Source: Publisher
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian




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…

FIRSTLIFE, by Gena Showalter, is the first chapter in the Everlife series. Welcome to Tenley Lockwood's world. It is a world where two kingdoms, Myriad and Troika, are at war and will do anything to claim supremacy over the other. This includes forcing a girl who may be the ultimate weapon to choose a side. It is a world where humans are expected to sign a covenant with one or the other kingdom. There is a third choice, but being an Unsigned at your death, sends you to a place you might as well call Tartarus. It's really a dark, dangerous, bloody thirsty place.

Tenley, Ten for short, has been sent to a asylum called Pyrnne where she has spent the past 13 months for disobeying her parents demand that she choose Myriad. Pyrnne is supposed to be neutral, but tell that to the administrators and guards who work there. Tenley, who is really good and obsessed with numbers, is trying to hold out until her 18th birthday when she will be free and on her own. In the meantime, Tenley is tortured into making a pledge to Myriad by some really disgusting pieces of work. Thankfully for the reader, and Tenley, that choice isn't made until much later in the story.

The author states that it was her intention to give Tenley the freedom of making her own choices just like the bible claims that humans have always had. Why should Tenley be pushed into making a bad choice which she has to live with until her death? Why shouldn't she be able to choose her own destination without being held against her will, or pushed and pulled by agents from both Kingdoms? I have to say that I liked Tenley's determination, attitude, sarcasm, and ability to fight back at a moments notice. I liked that she is a a stronger character than others in her situation.

Obviously, there is a whole reason behind the desperation of the two kingdoms in pursuing and signing Tenley, but let's not spoil, or go in that direction. Trust me, if you read this book, and like it, you will want to jump to the sequel called Lifeblood to find out what happens to Tenley next. On happier news, I am clapping at the lack of love triangles in this book. While there are two obviously swoon worthy men in Archer Prince, and Killian Flynn who are sent to sway her to their side, the romance is only in one direction. But, each of the men are important cogs to this story, and they go through just as much pain and suffering as Tenley.

Firstlife has plenty of action, adventure, and suspense to last right up to the final page. Tenley's struggles are cataloged without shying away from the bloodshed that would make people shiver or become sick. I'm not afraid to share this but, Wow, what an absolutely brutal ending! I'll give Showalter respect in that she could have taken the easy road for these character but didn't. Thank you for that! Firstlife bottom line is this. Two spiritual kingdoms battling it out with humans as pawns. There are Life vs Death and Light vs Dark issues to deal with. Also, the idea that life actually begins after death is one that kept my interest peaked.

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