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Firstlife (An Everlife Novel) Hardcover – February 23, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—A creative mash-up of dystopian science fiction and otherworldly fantasy. In Tenley "Ten" Lockwood's world, everyone has a First Life, which sets the stage for a Second Life after their first death. There are two main realms one can go to during Second Life: Myriad, a place of indulgence and bliss; or Troika, a place of structure and justice. The divisive factions bring to mind the Peloponnesian War, in which the immoderate Athenians clash with the battle-hardened Spartans. Similarly, Myriad and Troika engage in an epic melee for the souls currently in their First Life. Those who do not choose sides, the Unsigned, are trapped in the Many Ends, a place of constant pain and punishment. Ten currently resides in Prynne Asylum, retained there by her parents since she refuses to choose sides. Friends-turned-foes and recruiters for the Second Lives Killian (Myriad) and Archer (Troika) both come back to the First Life to recruit Ten. Ten is a precious commodity because she is the fusion of multiple spirits and therefore very powerful. As the inmates escape the asylum, Ten undergoes numerous trials and tribulations. Still, she refuses to sign with a specific side. When Ten finally, and unexpectedly, meets with her first death, she ends up in the place she least expects. While the contentious sides of the underworld are interesting, too many convoluted details bog down the narrative. VERDICT An additional purchase for larger YA collections.—Amanda C. Buschmann, Atascocita Middle School, Humble, TX
"Utterly unique and absolutely riveting-I couldn't put it down! What a marvelously cool world." -New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas
"Firstlife is a nonstop thrill ride that will stop your heart...and shock it back to life. This book is #1 on my keeper shelf!" -#1 New York Times bestselling author P. C. Cast
"Firstlife illuminates the depths of human resilience and the power of love, even in the darkest hours." -Kresley Cole, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Arcana Chronicles
"I couldn't stop rooting for Ten, an unforgettable and powerful heroine who is obsessed with numbers, creates the coolest reverse poems, and fascinates the baddest bad boy Showalter has ever written." -#1 New York Times bestselling author Kristin Cast
"Raw, edgy and dark-Firstlife weaves intricate threads of intrigue, adventure and romance that will leave you craving more." -Wendy Higgins, New York Times bestselling author of the Sweet series
"Firstlife delves into the power of a single decision-and the consequences that come with it. Every word grabs hold of your heart and leaves you breathless. Don't miss this incredible journey!" -New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Roxanne St. Claire
"Showalter creates a vividly unique and edgy new world in Firstlife with characters who won't easily be forgotten." -Katie McGarry, critically acclaimed author of Nowhere but Here and Pushing the Limits
Top customer reviews
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I thought the concept of this book was really unique. I've never read anything like it, and I loved that. There was a lot of action throughout the book, which I liked. It was really fast paced, and I ended up (accidentally) staying up until 3am to finish it. There were a few moments that I didn't love the writing - too many random short sentences or cheesy cliches "I can't even" and "I don't want to adult"...that said, this book falls within the YA genre, and those sort of statements are probably accurate among the books target audience. That said, it didn't take away from the book for me.
In reading other reviews, some people mentioned that they didn't understand why Ten wouldn't choose a side. I didn't feel that way at all. I mean, that's a huge decision! Knowing that each realm operates differently and has different rules and principles, that's a stressful choice. THEN she finds out that she's more important to the way between the realms than she ever thought possible, she finds out that picking a side means causing the other side serious damage. Throughout reading the book, I couldn't even pick a side! I flip flopped throughout the book, weighing the pros and cons of each, and it wasn't until much later in the book did I make a mental choice for Ten (and myself).
That said, though it was sad, I loved the ending of the book and I can't wait to read the sequels!
Must confess, I found the first 5%, according to my Paperwhite, hard to read. It was a series of communiques between two people and I had no idea who they were or what they were writing about. Although tempted to quit there was an indiscernible something that kept me reading and I am so glad I did. WOW.
Talk about living with pressure in one's life. It's bad enough and hard enough to make one's life worthwhile and can you imagine living it knowing it wasn't this life that counts as much as one's next life which is definitely real.
Reading this as a Christian, I can't help but think in terms of the popularist view within Christianity that claims that heaven and hell are in our futures. And yet it would be much too simplistic to equate Troika with heaven and Myriad with hell. That would be a mistake. Neither realm is purely good or purely evil, but a mixture. Then, of course, there is Many End where those who failed to commit to wither Myriad and Troika end up and what a mistake it is to fail to commit.
Complex plot, complex story, complex people, some things are just not as they seem and my gosh is this a page turner.
I really loved it.
Loved how Gena weaved in the life triangle not as a corny overused subplot, but as a vital role in the shopping of the novel & growth of the characters and us as readers taking this journey with them! The descriptions of all the characters major & minor were so well done was left with a virtual tour which is why I said escapism at its finest because was able to immerse myself into this world & want to stay feeling everything my characters are feeling!!! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!!!!!! 🎉😍
The main character, Ten, sounded much like a broken record for the majority of the book, constantly reminding you that she didn't want to choose a side (Troika or Myriad), but she was still fairly relatable and her repetitiveness was not totally unwarranted--it was, afterall, a decision about her afterlife and overall fate.
The other characters, while at first seeming cheesy and run of the mill, grew a lot throughout the book and I think they all became very lovable and easy to get attached to (and thank goodness, there was no love triangle!).
Gena Showalter did an excellent job of not making this an average, commonplace YA novel, and I'm sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for the second book after the way she ended Firstlife--it was honestly very surprising and I can't wait to find out what Ten does next!