Review: “Firstlife” by Gena Showalter

A review by Amanda.

The afterlife exists – and it’s recruiting. Called the Everlife, it’s divided into two realms, egalitarian Troika and elitist Myriad. Agents for both sides are sent to recruit those still in their Firstlife. The two factions are deadly enemies, resorting to dangerous tactics and trickery to win souls. Citizens sign their afterlives away with ironclad contracts, often swayed by family loyalties or career expectations. Fear of dying while Unsigned is a powerful motivator; no one wants to end up spending eternity in the hellish nightmare realm known as Many Ends.

Tenley Lockwood is expected to sign with the same realm as her parents but she is plagued by questions and doubts. Instead of spending her Firstlife as an average seventeen-year-old, she has been locked away in an asylum where the head doctor uses unsavory means to convince Ten to follow her parents’ wishes. Ten has managed to resist by using her obsession with numbers as both a focus and a mental distraction. She only has to survive until her eighteenth birthday. As if her life isn’t complicated enough, the factions have decided that she warrants their special attention and each sends an agent to observe, infiltrate, and do whatever it takes to get her to choose.

Firstlife had a unique take on religion and the afterlife, without coming across as preachy. It was a dystopian story with religious undertones that added to the feel, rather than distracting from it. Tenley was a stubborn, unapologetic survivor. She was not concerned with being liked which made her all the more appealing. The romantic subplot followed a predictable path, although it did veer from that path towards the end. And while Ten’s character was well-developed and nicely fleshed out, others were less so. In fact, it was because Tenley was written so well that the lack of depth in the other characters stood out. Firstlife was the first book in Gena Showalter’s new series. The overall concept still intrigues me, and I am interested in seeing where it goes from here.  I will pick up book two, with the hope that it will continue to intrigue, and that the supporting characters will grow and gain more depth.

My rating: 3/5 stars.

We may receive a commission if you purchase through links in this post. Read our full disclosure here.

Review: “A Mad Zombie Party (White Rabbit Chronicles #4)” By Gena Showalter

"A Mad Zombie Party (White Rabbit Chronicles #4)" By Gena Showalter

 A review by Domoni.

Ali Bell and the slayers put everything into defeating Anima, losing people they loved and constantly facing injury or death. They thought they had finally won, even though that victory cost them more than they thought they could pay. Frosty has lost his way. The formidable slayer doesn’t know how to go on after losing the one thing that meant everything to him.  His friends are all worried but nothing they say or do makes a difference. When Kat comes to him he thinks he may be able to pick up the pieces after all. He would do anything for her, anything for her time and smile. When she tells him to save Camilla Marks, the woman he blames for everything, he has to push through the anger to let go of the pain.

This is the fourth novel in the White Rabbit Chronicles. If you haven’t read them, they are an interesting take on zombies. The first three books focus more on Ali Bell and Cole Holland. Their relationship and Ali’s special abilities are the main focus of the stories.  This book’s focus on Frosty was not what I was expecting.  Frosty is a strong character though, and after his loss I knew that there would be a need to focus on how he dealt with that loss. Though for me, this book felt strange. I really feel like it would have served better as a first story in a secondary series.  In a few ways it felt like it was written by a different author all together, one that was not as familiar with the first three books.

To start with, Ali Bell’s personality was vastly different in this book. It was like she had become Kat. She was more quick on the ball with vain sarcasm. Perhaps this could be attributed to the evolution of the character, but it seems to have happened at some point between books. Only a few months passed between books and suddenly Reeve is filling the role of doctor and scientist in the place of her father, yet these kids haven’t finished high school. Then we bring in Camilla Marks; this is the part that made it hard for me to finish the book. Ali used her ability to remove Camilla’s memories in the third book. Readers have been shown previously how the memories can be recovered, however the author never addresses it. She mentions River banished Camilla for what she did, but never mentions how she has recovered her memories. I really felt like I was reading a confused fanfic. Which made me sad because I loved the three previous books.

My rating: 2/5 stars.

This page contains affiliate links. Read our full disclosure here.