Horrible writing. Too much violence. The worst part: the relationships were unconvincing.
If you're going to read it, treat it like a random dream sequence.
In this world, life really begins when you die. Before you die, you must pledge allegiance to either Troika, the light, or Myriad, the dark. Otherwise, you’ll be trapped in a horrible land called Many Ends for eternity. Ten is an average teenage girl and all she wants is to live near the beach and learn to surf. But that’s pretty hard when you’re trapped in an asylum and the only way out is to give in to your parents. Her parents eventually become more desperate, and so does the two realms fighting over this strange power inside Ten. They would do anything to recruit her, even resorting to hurting the Laborer she loves. This fictional realm was so engaging, magical and yet dark. Ten had strong bonds with various characters in this book and that makes her very likable to readers. The plot was considerably slow at the beginning but they back the speed later on. Overall, a very enjoyable read and I have high expectations for the next novel. Rating: 4.5/5
- @Iron_Rose of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library
So much potential, so little substance.
Your first life, your human life, is where you decide where you will spend your everlife. In the everlife there are two factions that fight to sign humans to their side - Myriad and Troika. If someone goes through life Unsigned, they are sent to Many Ends, where their everlife is spent in torturous conditions. Tenley (Ten to her friends) was expected to make a decision at sixteen, the Age of Accountability. Her parents are both signed to Myriad, but Ten couldn't decide between Myriad and Troika. Both sides send a Laborer to her to try to get her to sign to one side or the other, ending up in a love triangle, that to my mind wasn't much of a competition. While one boy was favored, the other faction was also favored and mentioned many times as Ten's decision, but she kept putting it off one of her boys would get into trouble.. Outside of the weird, not-really-a-love-triangle thing, the concept was amazing. I'm excited to get started on book two and see how things unfold after Ten made a decision on which faction she would join.
The book turned out to be way better than I originally thought and got to be one of her best so far. After reading her other series “The White Chronicles” I wanted to read more from her. Firstlife was super interesting to the point that I knew I should read this. One of my favorite parts of the books is the afterlife part having realms where you can go to. Usually afterlife in books is just heaven but Firstlife was unique twist. I also like the two male characters Killian and Archer who are the agents sent to convince Ten to join their sides. I like the the interaction between both characters. From the bad boy Killian to self-righteous Archer who comes across as a knight in shining army. And Ten is a bad ass heroine that does whatever it takes to have the freedom to run her own life. This is something that many people can relate to. I totally recommend this book who like action dystopian type of books with a element of fantasy as well.
Firstlife is a riveting novel that follows a compelling female protagonist as she struggles to center herself and figure out her identity both in her life and her afterlife. However, that is easier said than done because everyone around her is trying to pressure her into their way of thinking. There is a lot of realism in the novel because the theme of choice is very prevalent in reality and the way religions (no offense) try to convert others to their way of thinking. It’s a strong message to young readers that they have a choice, that no one can force your way of thinking. That is, essentially, what this novel is about, two groups trying to convert her to their side and her struggle to follow her heart or her brain.
With a story that has such a strong theme layered within the story, it challenges the way of thinking that following the crowd is the way to go. Ten never changes; she just fights the struggle to follow what her parents want her to do versus what she wants to do. More importantly, though, Ten has no idea what she intends to do with her life, but that doesn’t stop her from fighting the oppression around her. Everyone thinks they know what’s best for Ten without actually knowing her. Showalter uses that to give an enormous amount of strength to her protagonist.
That has to be Showalter’s strongest asset, her ability to write and create such strong female protagonists. This character does not pull her punches and given everything she has been forced to endure, giving up would be easy. However, giving up would also mean losing her freedom, losing her ability to choose a future for herself. She is a wonderful character to read, very sharp, very snarky, and her attitude is not off-putting. It’s so easy to read characters that are so strong that they are almost unlikable because their attitudes are incredibly off-putting. Thankfully, that’s not the case here. Ten has a charisma about her that stems from her strength that stems from her willpower to keep her freedom and identity alive.
This novel has a powerful narrative to it as well as a fascinating plot. The characters grow, they are evolving, and that influences the plot, it develops the story and the plot drawing the reader into a fast-paced tale. It’s interesting to read about, and it gives an insight into multiple views of the afterlife that makes it relatable to many readers across the globe. (★★★★☆ | A)
The plot is so full of meaningless twists that don't add anything to the story that I got confused. I felt that what the author was trying to say could've been accomplished in half as many pages as it took.
Firstlife starts off really, really slowly. Finally, around page 300, I'm caught up in the story. There's action and purpose and then...the end, or is it.
I guess this is a long, convoluted "girl coming of age" story.
So, as the story begins, the heroine is in a really bad prison and she's worried about keeping her legs and underarms shaved!(page 28). Hmmm, maybe I am not the audience to which this book is directed.
Actually, not sure who the intended audience is -- there's an awful lot of torture of teens by their adult parents or custodians. I can't say I would suggest Firstlife to any teen I know.
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