Book Review: Firstlife

Firstlife (Everlife #1)
Published By: Harlequin Teen Aus
Publication Date: March 1st, 2016
Page Count: 480
Buy it at Bookworld (Aus), Book Depository (Intl)
Source: Review copy courtesy of the publisher
Genre: YA/Fantasy

It was the tagline that first drew me in. Step one... you die. Just what is this book about if it doesn't start until someone dies? It's not quite a book about the afterlife, but it's definitely a book about a world that knows the afterlife is real, and their whole earthly life is focused on choosing where they'll go in their second, or Everlife. 

There are two factions vying for people's souls when they die. Troika who believe in forgiveness, order and living by the rules, and Myriad, who believe in hedonism and looking out for number one. Those in their Firstlife sign on to one of these factions before death, otherwise they end up in a place of eternal torment. 

Tenley, or Ten to her friends, is yet to decide. Her parents want her to sign with Myriad, but she's not ready to commit. To convince her, they've sent her to the Prynne Asylum where she is tortured until she makes a choice. The right choice, that is. Each of the factions sends a Laborer, essentially a recruitment officer, to help you make up your mind. Both factions want Ten badly, so they send their best agents to woo her. And woo her they do. A love triangle of sorts develops after Ten, with the help of her Laborers, escapes from the asylum. And this is where things start to get really interesting.

Firstlife is pretty brutal and violent. I had trouble believing that parents would put their children through that kind of treatment just so they pick the side they want them to. Factions are meant to be chosen freely and not through coercion, but parents of both sides had sent their children to Prynne to force a decision. 

Ten is a great character. She's snarky and determined and a real fighter - all things I really like in a character. But at the same time, she's completely indecisive about which Faction to choose, despite being pretty clear about not liking one of them. There was far too much dithering.

I loved Archer and Killian, and in particular the messages sent between them and their supervisors. The love triangle (of sorts) felt a little contrived to me, but I really liked both of them and could see how their presence made Ten's decision even harder.

Although there were a few elements that made me go, "Huh?" the story was compelling enough that it kept me turning pages until the wee small hours. And the ending? Wow. It gets an extra birdy just for that.


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…