Spoiler alerts– if you have not read book one do not continue with this review. There will be unintentional spoilers, book two gives away book one’s ending. You have been warned!
Lifeblood by Gena Showalter
Summary from Goodreads:
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.
This second installment in a planned trilogy, was not as fast paced or as interesting as the first. I think this was because the Everlife realms just weren’t that interesting, or at least Troika wasn’t. I found it to be a little too perfect. Everyone was too nice and overly concerned with free will. There wasn’t as much going on in the story either. The tension and romance between Killian and Ten wasn’t the important part of the story any more. It was still there, but it wasn’t as important and it wasn’t as interesting. The plot was also a little to perplexing with its many sides to the same issue. Was Ten who everyone thought she was, did she or could she live up to their expectations. The whole thing was rather uninteresting.
Ten also doesn’t show as much growth as a character in this book as she did in the first. Once her decision on which realm to go to when she dies is made, her inner struggle was done. Now her focus is stopping the war and getting Killian on her side, which he really was already. Their relationship is extremely complicated and their issues won’t easily be resolved. I still really like her obsession with numbers and her poetry. The story is told from Ten’s point of view, but we do see glimpses of what Killian is up to through the use of messages sent between him and his generals. I found these messages to be helpful and to see what the other side thought was going on as well.
Although I wouldn’t go so far to say that this is a religious book, there are some undertones of it especially in the descriptions of the different afterlife realms. Although I found it interesting in the first book that humans got to choose which realm they went to, I don’t think anyone is ever told the full truth of what the realms are really like. I also found the courtroom scenes, where humans who wanted to change their minds have to go and prove their worth, were a little too much. The two humans in this story were very weak willed and kind of whiney. They certainly were not great examples, but I suppose that was done on purpose.
I really liked the first book and had high hopes for this second one, but was slightly disappointed by it. I still would recommend this series to those friends who want a different twist on what happens to us when we die. I probably will pick up the third book and read it as I am interested in seeing how the story ends, especially between Ten and Killian.