In Firstlife (the first book in Showalter‘s new Everlife series) the life you are born into is more or less a dry run to prepare you for the afterlife – known as Everlife. However, Everlife is not as simple as dying and living for the rest of eternity in a happy magical land; Everlife consists of two realms (kind of three), Myriad and Troika, and people are able to (and more or less expected to) sign on to one at the age of 16 (ahem, Divergent). Tenley, who goes by Ten, grew up in a Myriad household, but now cannot bring herself to officially make a decision and to force a decision out of her she has been sent to an asylum, where fights and torture are regular occurrences. Of course Ten is special and both sides are dying to sign her and have each sent scouts, called laborers, to bring her to their side. Ten, unsurprisingly remains difficult, but the laborers come to care for her as more than a job and vice versa. Lots of action and drama ensue as Ten agonizes of her decision and lives hang in the balance (kind of because there’s Everlife).

Interesting premise with some good action scenes, but overall it fell a bit short of being really enjoyable for me. The dialogue was, more often than not, awkward and none of the characters seemed fully fleshed out. It was a bit fun, but I’m probably not going to be reading the sequel when it comes out.

Side note: the laborers communicate with their superiors via more or less email. Really? They’re supposed to be in the fantastical (although constantly warring) Everlife, that has designed human suits that Everlife souls can use on Earth, but the best communication tool they can come up with is email?