Monday, January 25, 2016


Author: Gena Showalter
Info: Harlequin Teen, 480 pages, copyright 2016
Netgalley Advanced-Reader-Copy
Release Date : February 23, 2016




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…

~Goodreads Description

I read this one because I liked the cover.  You have to admit, it's pretty spectacular.  And then I started to read...and I had NO idea what was going on.

Hopefully I can give a fairly coherent summary.  From what I gathered, there is Firstlife - which is basically now.  The humans in this particular tale are living their "Firstlife" on Earth, in the present.  Then there is "Everlife" which is a second life, or an afterlife.  And people have choices.  You can 1) choose to side with Myriad during your Firstlife and pledge allegiance to a realm that believes in indulgence and bliss, or you can 2) choose to side with Troika, known for its structure and conformity  and its belief in right and wrong.  Or you can 3) choose not side with anyone and end up in "Many Ends" which is a purgatory/hell where you die over and over again.

Ten is special.  Both sides want her.  But she's also stubborn and confident, wanting to make the decision on her own.  Now she's embroiled in a war between the realms and must fight for her life, and the life of her friends, to maintain her right to make her own choices.

It's not a great summary, but it's kind of a confusing book.

Here's what I liked - I liked Ten.  She's strong and determined, but she's still flawed.  Despite the hardships her life has brought her, she is loyal and steadfast.  I really appreciated the time she took to make the decision she could live with.  She didn't let th people around her sway her decision.  She wanted it to be hers and she fought like a lion to make sure that happened.

I liked the dark, mysterious, bad-boy (even though he fit every stereotype), but his name was Killian and he had an accent.  That's about all I need to be smitten.  I liked that there was another boy (and the his name was Archer) and the this wasn't really a love triangle.  Archer was just a good guy who always gave Ten the benefit of the doubt.

Taking into account that this was an advanced-reader's copy that needed some editing, I did think there were a few inconsistencies in dialogue and tone.  Killian's accent was only sometimes there, Ten's inner dialogue was clunky at times.  But Showalter does an excellent job creating a world that stimulates the imagination.  I could easily imagine the here and the here-after.  And while I wouldn't put this down as one of my favorite series ever, I do want to know what happens next.  There's a pretty decent cliffhanger.

If you're looking for a crush-worthy fictional boyfriend and a story that challenges your sensibilities, check out Firstlife by Gena Showalter.

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