Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Review: Firstlife by Gena Showalter

First, thanks to Harlequin Teen and Netgalley for making an e-galley of this title available to me.  And then I was lucky enough to walk into work at my part time job at Barnes and Noble and find a physical ARC of this title.  I believe this is the first full length book by this author that I've read, and I have to say that I was not disappointed!  In fact, I know now that all of her other books will be on my TBR list for sure!  The idea behind this story was a really interesting, and kind of unique one, at least in my opinion. 

The main character is named Ten, which is short for Tenley.  And like her name, she really is into numbers.  Counting, how they relate to what is going on, all of it helps her stay calm and relate to the world around her.  But that's not what her problem in.  You see in Ten's world, you have to choose where you are going to go when you die, your Everlife.  There are two different worlds, Troika and Myriad.  Her parents want her to choose Myriad, because her father will get a big reward for bringing her into that life.  But Ten doesn't want to choose yet.  She doesn't know which world is where she will want to spend the rest of her time after this life is over.  Her father is tired of waiting on her answer, and so he sends her to an asylum until she makes her decision.  At Prynne asylum, the more she fights making the decision, the worse her stay there becomes.  She is tortured, the guards are threatening both physically and sexually. The other patients there are also dangers. 

At the start of the story we get some correspondence between two recruiters and their bosses.  Each of the realms wants Ten, they believe there is something special about her that she has to be in their realm, to help them in the war against each other.  And so to try to recruit her, both of them are sent in.  The first is sent in as a girl named Bow.  Now Bow is really a boy named Archer, he's just been given a shell of a girl so that he can be Ten's roommate and try to sway her that way. The other that is sent in is a boy named Killian.  And Killian, whoa, he is a hottie!  In fact that is kind of how he has pretty much "convinced" all his other recruits to sign.  Ten will learn from these two more about the realms, she will learn that she is important, but she will also find out that a boy she thought loved her was really not who she thought he was. 

Finally they will have to make a decision, get away from the asylum and stop the torture while trying to get Ten to make a decision.  Will her family be put in danger if she doesn't make a decision?  And she will have to decide which of these two boys to trust, as she learns what they are like, and what they may or may not do in their quest to recruit her for their side.

Yes, there is a bit of a love triangle in this one.  Although I probably had my favorite, Killian.  So I'm sure that will turn some people off from the story. But the world that has been built, all the different details and the look at an afterlife with what could possibly be called purgatory, all of that is stunning and so unique.  The puzzles that Ten has to solve, the family secrets, the betrayal of friends and family alike, all of it leads to a great, suspenseful, but can't stop turning pages kind of read. I can't wait for the next book to come out, although I hate that I now have a whole year to wait!