5 Crickets

Title: Firstlife
Author: Gena Showalter
Illustrator: Unknown
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN
Published: 22nd February 2016

I’ve been told history is written by survivors. But I know that isn’t always true. My name is Tenley Lockwood, and very soon, I’ll be dead.

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, there are two realms 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 tug-of-war between 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…

One Choice. Two Realms. No Second Chance.

What can I say. This book is one of the first in a while that grabbed me right from the start. Where as a lot of books I’ve read recently have enticed me with their cover and blurb, it took pushing through a few chapters before I really got into it. But Firstlife had me hooked from first time I laid eyes on it, till the moment I read the last word on the last page, and even after that actually.

The book starts with a conversation, is a format like emails, between Archer (Troika laborer) and his General, and Killian (Myriad laborer) and his Superior. It is highly entertaining and definitely grabbed my attention. It is also a clever way in which to introduce the characters, both the ones talking and the ones mentioned. These type of conversations happen every now and again between chapters, and I think it is a nice breather between the huge chunks of text, to have these small and informative pieces.

The characters were very well written as well. I loved Tenley, and her obsession with numbers was a great quirk. There were times when I was a little annoyed with the decisions she made – but that was probably because, as a reader, I knew a little more about what was going on. And then there’s Archer and Killian.I can’t remember who was my favourite, they were both just that great, but I have a feeling it was Killian.

The two Realms were also cleverly portrayed. Both seemed to be amazing, but there were also times in which neither felt quite right. This not only helped in relating to Ten and her struggle to choose, but also made it difficult to pick a realm myself. I enjoyed having to really think about what each realm had to offer and what each stood for before making a decision, rather than it being in black and white, and an obvious choice. At the beginning of each chapter there is also a little quote from Troika or Myriad which I thought was cool. This also acts to help gain a better insight to the values of both the realms.

Also, this book has one of the most interesting dedication pages. Not only was it dedicated to 21 people, but it was also entertaining. There is also a Q&A with Gena Showalter in the back, as well as some discussion questions.

Overall this was hands down just an awesome book. I loved it and it is definitely one of my favourites, and, of course, I highly recommend that you read this book. I have recently bought the sequel Lifeblood and I can’t wait to start reading it!

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