Firstlife by Gena Showalter (2016)

Rating: 2 stars (Did not finish page 70/467)25785357

I tried to like this book, tried to get into it. Really I did, but after 70 pages I had to call it quits. I couldn’t face continuing on for another almost 400 pages. Its not that
the book was necessarily bad, but I felt very little pulling me into the piece at all.

The concept behind the book I find challenging to explain. Partly, because its so complicated, and I barely made it through the first fifth of the book. That being said, at this stage, you’d hope to have a more clarity about the world. Tenley
is a girl in a world where there is a “Firstlife” and then an “Everlife” that follows, where you select where you intend to live out the rest of your days. She stuck in an insane asylum because she refuses to choose one of the two factions – Myriad or Troika – for her Everlife.

I had two big problems with the book that really stopped me from moving forward. First, the world felt ridiculously complicated, and the first few chapters of the book were rich with info-dumping. Part of me was a little bit bored of it all. My second problem (and in my opinion a much bigger issue), was the complete lack of motivation for Tenley’s desire not to choose a side. It’s the crux of the book and I can’t understand why she’s even in the asylum after 70 pages. This to me is a real problem. I can’t follow characters that I simply don’t understand.

There was some mention of her distaste for the factions. But it also mentioned that her parents were Myriad, that her family would lose everything if she didn’t go to Myriad – and I thought – really? Either convince me that she has sound reasons for actually choosing to live in an asylum and remain undecided or recognize that you are leave me to see her as a horribly selfish teenager who has no desire to even save her family. I wasn’t convinced.

I’m slightly familiar with Showalter, as I’ve read the first and second book of her White Rabbit Chronicles, and although I did enjoy the first book, my interest waned on the second and I had abandoned it. Although the writing itself was ‘okay’. There were many descriptions or comparisons that I’d read and thought “I feel like I’ve read this before”. It didn’t feel new and creative to me. It wasn’t bad writing, just not enough to keep me captivated.

So who would I recommend this book to? Well, hard to say. You’d have to be a bigger reader in order to get past the enormous info-dumping that happens in the first chunk of the book. Reviews I’ve read of this book are mixed, some are diehard fans can’t stop raving about it, while others felt the opposite. I didn’t hate it, but to me, there just wasn’t enough there to make me want to finish it. It felt like the second book in the White Rabbit Chronicles all over again.

If you want something new and different, give it a go, but if you need a character you can cling to, this probably isn’t your book.


About K2Harvey

Reading, and writing about it.
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One Response to Firstlife by Gena Showalter (2016)

  1. Marni says:

    I actually found this more enarettining than James Joyce.

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