Book Review: Firstlife, by Gena Showalter

Firstlife, by Gena Showalter

Firstlife by Gena Showalter

Published by Harlequin Teen on February 23, 2016

Series: Everlife, #1

Genre(s): fiction, dystopia, fantasy, romance

Format & Length: e-book, 475

Source: library

Find on Goodreads

Purchase at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Step one…you die.


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, long-time 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 that 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 where the boy she’s falling for lives? She just has to stay alive long enough to make a decision…

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Firstlife has been on my wishlist ever since its release in 2016, so I was excited to finally read it when I found the audiobook available in my library’s digital catalog. Although the premise for this book fascinated me, the execution ultimately left me underwhelmed.

Upon starting the audio, I was a bit trepidatious as the first chapter is a series of emails that were a bit hard to follow. Afterwards, it did pick up and became easier to listen to. But after listening to almost half of the book and finding the narration wasn’t doing anything to enhance the story, I decided to check out the ebook instead. And I’m glad that I made the switch, because this did work better for me in that format.

For the most part, this just didn’t make much of an impression on me. The concept of real life beginning after death and everyone having to choose the realm they want to spend their Everlife in intrigued me. It clearly has a biblical basis and I was curious to see how the author would expand upon and explore the world she created. Unfortunately, more time was spent on characters I just couldn’t get behind and a cheesy romance than building out the world that I wanted to know more about.

In the end, I was disappointed with Firstlife. The last eighth or so did get better, but it still wasn’t enough for me to want to continue reading the series. I’m perfectly happy to find some spoiler reviews and summaries online to satisfy my wish to understand the realms. Or, you know, just leave this in my past and move on. This just wasn’t for me.


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