Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Firstlife ~ Gena Showalter (earc) review [@HarlequinTeen @genashowalter]

Firstlife (Everlife #1)
Harlequin Teen
February 23, 2016
480 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon




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 did worry, at first, that Firstlife might be too trope-y (or): Ten is 'The One' that both realms want, there are two boys, the adults are the enemies. Except, each of those things has enough of a twist that it's really good.

Ten seems to be just an ordinary teenage girl, unable to decide between Myriad and Troika and not going to choose just because someone (or everyone) is pressuring her to choose this one or that one. Then both realms send one of their best laborers to convince her. It's not known why, but it is very important to each of them that Ten chooses their realm.

Firstlife was an example of when I like the main character being 'ordinary' but also being 'chosen' or all important. We did not have to know what made Ten so important to Myriad and Troika. In fact, it doesn't seem like many do know. The questions her special-ness raises, especially for Ten really make it great. Even once there's some answer to what they think makes her so special, the how and why are still unknown.

The questions Ten has over why each realm seems so invested in her choice pair nicely with her back and forth thoughts over the two realms.

Without being spoilery, I loved how Ten's relationships with the two laborers began and how they developed. It is not at all what I was expecting from the book description.

The last fifteen percent of the book was my absolute favorite. Without the first four hundred pages, though, I would not have loved the last eighty so much. The end is where everything -- the characters,;their pasts; their relationships they've developed;, their hopes for each other, the future and each other in the future; and everything they've learned, done and seen in the story so far -- comes together in a fantastic way.

I love everything we learn and everything that happens (even the bittersweet, or perhaps just bitter) things, the things revealed and those new uncertainties. I am absolutely looking forward to Book 2.

review copy received thanks to publisher, via NetGalley

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