Thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin Teen for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: February 28th, 2016
Synopsis: My Firstlife is over, but my Everlife is only now beginning.
With her last living breath, Tenley “Ten” Lockwood made her choice and picked her realm in the Everlife. Now, as the war between Troika and Myriad rages, she must face the consequences.
Because Ten possesses a rare supernatural ability to absorb and share light, the Powers That Be have the highest expectations for her future–and the enemy wants her neutralized. Fighting to save her Secondlife, she must learn about her realm from the ground up while launching her first mission: convincing a select group of humans to join her side before they die. No pressure, right?
But Ten’s competition is Killian, the boy she can’t forget–the one who gave up everything for her happiness. He has only one shot at redemption: beating Ten at a game she’s never even played. As their throw-downs heat up, so do their undeniable feelings, and soon, Ten will have to make another choice. Love…or victory.
Before jumping into Lifeblood, you definitely need to read Firstlife, because otherwise you’ll find yourself completely lost in this rather complicated world. To sum it up briefly, in this alternate world, humans have a Firstlife but they need to make a contract with either Troika or Myriad to spend their second lives in, or their spirits will wind up in the extremely dangerous Many Ends, which is something like Purgatory. Troika is all about love and light, while Myriad is about power and might. Both realms are continually at war with one another. So, this sequel picks up exactly where the first book left off, Ten, has just been betrayed and killed, but before dying, she declared her allegiance to Troika. Unfortunately, she’s in love with Killian, who’s from Myriad, so there’s definitely a Romeo and Juliet theme here. Ten really finds her feet in this story and fully embraces her inner warrior princess. What I love about her is even though this is a fantasy novel, Ten, and for that matter, the rest of the characters come across as very real and relatable. While she has many positive characteristics such as strength, loyalty, and compassion, she can also be naive, stubborn and impulsive, which in this case can lead to people getting killed. Showalter does a phenomenal job at character development and Ten learns from her mistakes, thereby becoming a better friend and leader. The supporting characters come with their own backstories which makes them equally interesting. The romance between Killian and Ten is wonderful and considering everything that’s stacked against them, there’s virtually no relationship drama as far as love triangles, blow-ups, etc. However, this does lead me to the one criticism I had. Ten spends a lot of the story mooning over Killian, and not only did it get a little repetitious and annoying after awhile, but it was also at odds with everything else that was happening. I understood that she’s madly in love with him and worried about him, but I didn’t need to be told this constantly throughout the story. But honestly, this is just a minor complaint. These are two people who trust each other implicitly, and will do whatever it takes to be together. The world building continually amazes, with layer after layer being added, so as a reader you’re constantly being introduced to new things. How the author does this without taking anything away from her characters is testament to her talented storytelling. There’s plenty of action which keeps the momentum up and I finished this in two sittings. The Everlife series is shaping up to be a standout series that will appeal to teens and adults alike, especially if you’re looking for something totally unique. I can’t wait for the third book which is due out next year!