Review: Firstlife by Gena Showalter

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on April 11, 2016 | 8 Comments

Review: Firstlife by Gena ShowalterFirstlife by Gena Showalter
Series: Everlife #1
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover, 480 pages
Source: Library

2.5 Stars

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…

My thoughts

Trust no one. Question everything.

This book is very difficult for me to review because I kind of have a love/hate relationship with it. I was really excited for this book. In fact, it was in the top 10 on my most anticipated releases of 2016 list. I was so sure I was going to love it, because I loved the White Rabbit Chronicles and the Intertwined trilogy. Sadly, I was disappointed. In the beginning, I had no idea what was going on – we’re kind of thrown into things with emails between Troika and Myriad members, and it’s a tad confusing – but I was intrigued. I really loved the concept of it! However, somewhere after Killian and Archer came into play, things started to go downhill.

Things I liked:

  • The world and the concept of Firstlife and Everlife
  • The two realms, Troika and Myriad, light and dark, at war; you have to choose which side to be on or be sent to Many Ends (hell, basically) after you die
  • BOW
  • Ten’s obsession with numbers, it was kind of adorable
  • How twisted and disturbing Many Ends was
  • The writing style was engaging because it was in Ten’s voice so there was a lot of slang and innuendos. It gave Ten personality!
  • Gena doesn’t pull punches or spare characters

Things I didn’t like:

  • The love triangle. Er, kind of love triangle? It’s not “technically” a love triangle, as Ten picks a side pretty fast. But the two insanely sexy males full of “pure male aggression” (yes, that’s a direct quote) vying for her attention was extremely irritating
  • The writing style. While it was engaging, it sometimes tried too hard to be cool and teenager-y, coming off as forced at times
  • The lack of plot
  • Lack of emotion. I was so annoyed with the story by the end that I felt NOTHING when certain things happened

Let’s take a closer look at the lack of plot. To sum this book up:

  • Ten was tortured for not choosing a side
  • Bow and Killian fought over Ten
  • Ten still couldn’t choose a side
  • Ten almost died
  • Archer and Killian fought over Ten
  • Ten almost died
  • Killian uses a kiss to manipulate Ten
  • Ten almost died
  • Ten still couldn’t choose a side
  • Archer and Killian were still fighting over Ten
  • Ten almost died
  • Ten still couldn’t choose a side
  • Insert “pure male aggression” and sexual tension
  • More sexual tension
  • Ten almost died
  • BAM! Someone important died instead
  • -story ends-

Seriously almost this whole story was Ten’s indecision of which side to choose, drooling over sexy males and sexual tension with Killian, and Ten almost dying like 3439857 times. It was pretty redundant. Not to mention cliche! Multiple of the sexiest men ever fighting over speshul snowflake, and player boy falls for speshul snowflake because she’s different than all the other girls and just SO SUPER SPESHUL. *eye roll*

I actually hated Killian. The only thing I liked about him was that he had a Scottish accent. And actually, even that I forgot about half the time, until a random “dinnae” or “lass” was thrown in. Other than that, he was a pig. He was basically a man whore that used females to get what he wanted. He would manipulate girls into falling for him, get them to sign with Myriad, and leave. He only pretended to be interested to get them on his side. Until Ten came along. And she’s so super speshul that he fell for her and it was real, not manipulation. She was the one that changed his lecherous ways. *eye roll again* Once a player, always a player. I hate stories where the guy is a user and a womanizer and treats women like shit, only to find one that is so freaking special that she changes his ways and turns him straight. It’s so cliche, and it bothered me.

What was so special about Ten, anyway? Both companies were at war over one person, and why? Because she was rumored to be Fused with a General?! That didn’t seem like a good enough reason to murder a bunch of people and blow each other up to me, but whatever. I mean, I liked Ten, don’t get me wrong – she reminded me of Kat from the White Rabbit Chronicles – but seriously? She couldn’t even make a simple decision. Also, one minute the realms were fighting over her, trying to get her on their side, and the next they were trying to kill her. That made no sense to me. I mean, that’s kind of juvenile – it’s as if they were like, IF I CAN’T HAVE HER NO ONE CAAAAAN.

I didn’t really care all that much for Archer, either, to be honest, despite the fact that I thought I would. View Spoiler » He was much better than Killian, though. Um, can I just be Team Bow? XD

Fear destroys. Hope is always the answer.

I was mostly enjoying this in the beginning – like I said, the concept is seriously amazing – but I think it was just because I desperately wanted to enjoy it. I couldn’t handle the fact that I wasn’t as into it as I’d hoped. Then I put it down for a couple of days, and when I picked it back up again I had lost all interest. I actually almost DNFed it! I forced myself through, skimmed a bit, and finally my interest picked back up when Ten “died” and went to Many Ends. It was awesome!!! If the whole book had been like that, I would have loved it. I almost want a separate story just about Many Ends. It was twisted, dark, and disturbing. I loved it!!

Things started getting ridiculous in the end though. There was finally some action, which would have been good, but I feel like it was just used as a plot device. It was like Ten was just being thrown into absurd life-or-death experiences just to push her decision along. Or maybe I just felt that way because I was so annoyed with the book at that point…

Some things are worth clinging to, no matter what the cost.

The ending kind of made up for it, and kind of pissed me off at the same time? I don’t even know how I feel about it, to be honest. View Spoiler »

I don’t know if I’ll continue this series. I will probably give the second book a go, just because the concept was so amazing. We will see…

Overall Assessment

Plot: 2/5
Premise: 5/5
Writing style: 3.5/5
Originality: 4/5
Characters: 3/5
World-building: 4.5/5
Pace: 3/5
Feels: 0.5/5
Overall rating: 2.5/5

Jessi (Geo)

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8 responses to “Review: Firstlife by Gena Showalter

  1. Well this is disappointing. I picked this up at the store the other day and it sounded fascinating. Now I’m not so sure that I want to read it.

  2. danielle hammelef

    I was also very excited about this book, but after reading reviews I decided not to even try. And now after reading what you wrote in your review (I appreciate the depth and detail of it BTW) I’m not going to even reconsider it. I have so many other choices that seem much better to read. I think the lack of plot, love triangle and forced “teen-agery” voice are more than enough disappointments for a book.

  3. Amy

    I almost liked it except for Killian. My whole problem is he’s supposedly from Ireland not Scotland….I don’t know what it is about authors or maybe just American’s but they constantly mix up Scottish and Irish. *sigh* It wouldn’t be so bad only Ten said his smell was like being transported to the “British Isles” which is again a different country. I just want someone outside of Ireland to do their research properly. It actually happens quite often and it’s highly insulting.

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