Book Review: Firstlife (Everlife #1) by Gena Showalter


9780373211579_BB.inddONE CHOICE.



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…

Book Review

Gena Showalter seems to be a household name in regards to the bookish community. Even if you haven’t read a book by her, you’ve probably heard of at least one of her series. I have only read a few of Gena Showalter’s novels, however the premise (and cover) of Firstlife drew my in straight away! However, I just wasn’t a fan of this one.

I want to start off by noting that the cover for Firstlife is gorgeous! If I was casually walking through a bookstore (or book aisle) I definitely would stop and pick up Firstlife just by the cover alone! They really hit the nail with this one. The colouring is beautiful and I think the two worlds showcased in the hourglass frame worked extremely well.

Unfortunately, the cover was one of the very few things I liked about Firstlife. I found this novel to be lacking in basically everything except world building. As with any book that is trying to detail a new world/worlds there is a fair amount of world building involved. Gena was able to create these very interesting type of ‘second life’ which was explored thoroughly throughout the book. The premise of these second lives was quite interesting.

The characters were an extreme let down for me. I just could not connect with any of them! I found Ten, the main character, quite annoying at times. I just did not understand why she was adamantly against choosing a side. Also her snark seemed a bit much, like she was trying too hard to be the feisty girl. I did think that her use of numbers could have been explored better, rather than have it shoved at us throughout the novel for the sake of it.

There was certainly romance within Firstlife. Killian and Archer are possible love interests, but once again I couldn’t connect with either character enough to actually ship him and Ten together. They both seemed to become infatuated with Ten pretty fast, though.

I found the writing style in Firstlife another reason why I couldn’t get into the story more. The pacing seemed a bit weird, with choppy scenes at one point then long winded explanations at another.

Overall, Firstlife had such great potential to be an amazing book, however in the end it fell a bit flat. I doubt I’ll be picking up the next book.  However if you are a huge fan of Gena Showalter still give Firstlife a shot, you may end up liking more than I did!

Thanks to Harlequin Teen Australia and Netgalley for providing me with a review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.


Pages: 480

Publishing Date: February 22nd 2016

Publisher: Harlequin Teen Australia

Publisher Link:


Rating: ★★