Friday, June 10, 2016

Book Review: Firstlife

Firstlife by Gena Showalter

Released: February 23, 2016
Read: April 2016
Publisher: Harlequin Teen 
Format: Hardcover, 480 pages
Series: #1 in the Everlife series

Description on Goodreads:


    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…

    Through the eyes of Tenley Lockwood, we visit a world where the life you live doesn't matter. It's your Secondlife that counts. Reading about someone who is stuck in a whack shack is soooooooo entertaining. You learn their daily routine, the weird new hobbies they have, and how they view life. Tenley's story is different from the rest. She stays in there by choice. Well, not totally. Her parents did force her to go there in the beginning, but she could have left at any moment. All she had to do was sign with Myriad, basically sell her soul, then she could do whatever she wanted with her Firstlife. Of course, there are always complications, but that's what makes this novel so interesting.
    My favourite part of the entire book (that's right, I narrowed it down), was the fact that we were always missing a piece of the puzzle; we could never see the full picture. From the very beginning (yes I mean the emails/texts between Archer and General Levi, and Killian and General Pearl), we knew of the intricate unknown relationship between Killian and Archer. This bold background history only intensifies our wanting to know what happened. This great move played by Gena Showalter holds our attention until the last possible moment. And it's not just their relationship that's covered up; we don't know what's happening with Tenley's parents (why they act the way they do) or why Myriad and Troika want her so bad. Why go through all the trouble to sign her? There are literally millions of people out there.
    And then there's the creepy song Tenley mutters at the Prynne Asylum. Ten's tears fall, and I call. Nine hundred trees, but only one is for me. Eight times eight times eight they fly, whatever you do, don't stay dry. Seven ladies dancing, ignore their sweet romancing. Six seconds to hide, up, up, and you'll survive. Five times four times three, and that is where he'll be. Two I'll save, I'll be brave, brave, brave. The one I adore, I'll come back for. Like, HELLO, there's the eerie, stereotypical psychopath we were looking for. At first I thought it was just a random song to fill the silence, but oh boy was that a nice plot twist.
    Everyone has a thing. You know what I mean? Everyone has that one habit like tapping their shoes, or humming to themselves. Tenley's thing is numbers. She counts everything to pass time. She counts days, hours, footsteps, turns. She counts the number of times she hears certain noises. This is a habit I relate with, and it's the first time someone has shared it with me. These numbers are what keep her sane in the asylum, and develop into her personality. TENley even has a nickname after it, how cool is that?
    Now. Let's take a moment to think about Killian. Siggggh. I fell in love with his bad boy attitude from the start, how could you not? He had sly remarks, and the whole bad-ass-on-the-outside-kind-hearted-on-the-inside thing going for him. He wasn't afraid to take what he wanted and mouth off to his superiors. He gives off the 'player' vibe but wins you over by saying lines like, "  Just because I haven't offered it (forever) doesn't mean I won't sometime in the future. I'll give the right girl everything". That's swoon-worthy right there. Archer on the other hand, is the good boy. He understands when you need space, and will let you do whatever you want because he loves you so much. He's pure, says what he thinks and is against anything distinctly wrong. He's more of the protective older brother than the passionate lover type.
    There are so many things I can obsessively rant about, but I want there to be some honest-to-God surprises in this novel. Gena Showalter has truly outdone herself this time, which mirrors what I felt about the White Rabbit Chronicles, another marvellous series of hers. In short (and I'm going to do this the Tenley way):
3- the number of heroic, spontaneous, and witty characters that'll risk it all to achieve their goals.
467- the number of pages it takes to reach the nail-biting conclusion.
0- the number of novels I've read that are even remotely similar to this one.

Favourite Quotes (so basically all the quotes I like) :
  • " The most destructive or constructive actions begin with a single thought. And, ultimately, a single action can decide the direction our lives take. And our deaths." 
  • " Another day, another breakfast. Or a meal pretending to be breakfast."
  • " My TL once said hate is like drinking a vial of poison and expecting it to harm the other person. You're not hurting the guy, only yourself." 
  • " Fate is an excuse, a way to remove blame and therefore guilt for poor decision making. Free choice decides the outcome of your life, not fate."
  • " I'm beginning to think," I say, " Might Equals Right should mean the strong are tasked with the protection of the weak, because the strong aren't always strong and the weak aren't always weak. Everyone stumbles. And one day, when you stumble -and you will- you'll need someone to help you stand. Will there be anyone eager to do so, or will there be a line of people hoping to kick you while you're down?"
  • " Some people say your entire life flashes inside your head just before the end. Mine doesn't. I don't have an amazing epiphany with all the answers. i know only that I'm not ready to die, and that  won't -I can't- allow courage to fail me. Today I fight to live and live to fight." 
  • " I'm interested in what you're saying, I really am. But I'm actually not hearing anything you're saying."
  • " You, the he-man, will teach me how to fight. Me, a little girl with little might. But what you don't know about this lass is that she's super determined to kick your ass."
  • "What should never change? The truth. Truth should remain the same, always and forever, a steady base at my feet; otherwise it was once a lie-once a lie, always a lie- and I have nothing concrete to stand on, only sinking sand or gossamer silk that tears at the first sign of pressure." 
  • "Are your pearls of wisdom actually plastic?"
  • "One whisper into the ear of another can spark another whisper and another whisper, until the noise is deafening."
  • "If happiness is dependent on outside variables, it can't last. Variables always change. Real happiness has to come from within. Right here. Sometimes you have to dig for it, and you have to dig deep. I know because I managed to find glimpses of it even when I was locked inside a cell, spied on and beaten."
  • "A good General leads an army. A great General leads every individual member."
  • "Just then I'm struck by a truth so real it might as well be a bolt of lightning: there is no greater evil than the one that cloaks itself in virtue."
  • "Your pride dragged you here while my determination carried me. I'm a force to be reckoned with, and today is the day of your reckoning."

Rating: 10/10 (the first EVER)

Recommended if you like: Gena Showalter's White Rabbit Chronicles, if you want to know a perspective of what could happen after death, prisons, war, many bloody battles, smooth banter, good vs. evil (and not knowing which is which), self defence, strong female heroines

Keep flipping pages,

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