Firstlife be Gena Showalter

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RATING: 3.5/5

SYNOPSIS: There are two places that you can go after you die, Myriad or Troika. Both are at war to win your soul, but the stakes have been raised for Tenley “Ten” Lockwood. Myriad and Troika believe she is someone special and important to the both of them, but Ten doesn’t know which one she wants to choose. Her parents want her to choose Myriad and have locked her in an asylum to make sure she does it, but Ten and her Myriadian and Troikan guardians have other plans.

 

I finished this book a couple of days ago and am still figuring out my feelings for it. On the one hand the story was refreshing, exciting, and interesting and on the other the beginning was very slow, the love interest is my least favorite character type, and I didn’t feel that any of the character deaths were earned (yes they had good consequences but it felt like they happened just to show consequences rather than my feeling the consequences). It’s a pretty even mix of the good and the bad. I’ll start with talking about why the bad things bothered me before I go into all the reasons why I liked it and will probably read the sequel. The beginning took a while for me to get into. There was a lot of information coming at me at once, the two male characters sounded exactly the same (but as the story went on their individual personalities emerged), and a lot of the motivations seemed incredibly superficial and I had a hard time believing why anyone was doing what they were doing. I was seriously considering not finishing the book, but I really loved Ten and Archer. Thankfully I kept reading because all of these issues corrected themselves and all the motivations were a slow reveal thing and once all the secrets were revealed I liked them. However the villainess still has questionable motives. I’m still not sure what she really wants and I hope we find out more in the next book. My least favorite character type in love interests is the bad boy who suddenly develops a heart of gold even though he was super icy in the beginning and he was very creepy, which is what Killian was. I never believed in his and Ten’s chemistry (she had more chemistry with Archer, but they remained just friends which is something I liked and will go into later), I constantly questioned his motives, and he was another character with motives that didn’t have that good of an explanation to me. It was hard for me to root for him or their love which is a problem I also had with The Iron Fae series by Julie Kagawa. I won’t go too in depth with the character deaths so as not to be too spoilery, but I’ve reached a point in my life that if I don’t feel something when someone dies I just get angry or if a character I really like dies I just get angry. It takes a lot for me to feel like a character’s death was earned especially since every writer whether it be for books, movies, or television thinks that is the absolutely best way to raise the stakes of a situation. Now for the good stuff! Ten and Archer had a wonderful relationship that I enjoyed immensely! They genuinely cared for each other, their banter was fun and playful, and you could tell that Showalter had a lot of fun writing their interactions. I also like that it easily could’ve been a love triangle between Ten, Archer, and Killian, but that never developed and I just got to enjoy Ten and Archer’s amazing friendship. The concept of the story was intriguing in the summary and even more intriguing in the actual reading of the book. I liked how complex Myriad, Troika, and Many Ends (where the people who die before they can pick go) were and I liked that we saw the pros and cons of choosing any of the worlds. I am interested to see how they’ll further develop in the next book, but I am worried that Myriad is stuck being the “evil world” because good people do end up choosing it, but everything we are shown indicates bad. I guess I’ll have to wait until the next book to see. Overall I enjoyed this book, but I’m glad I checked it out from the library. I’m interested to see what happens next, but it isn’t high on my list of books I want to read.

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