Geek Book Review: “The First to Die at the End” by Adam Silvera

“The First to Die at the End” is equal parts heartbreaking and uplifting

Death-Cast called Valentino Prince to tell him that he will die today. He’s supposed to start his new life as a model in New York. It has not even started yet. Now it will be over. Orion Pagan has live his life waiting for his heart to stop beating any day. Fate brings Valentino and Orion together during the launch of Death-Cast. One recevives the call, and the other doesn’t. But both their lives will change forever.

In this prequel to the 2018 Geek Prize bronze medalist “They Both Die at the End,” Adam Silvera introduces to us the first “decker” Valentino Prince. Set in New York, the premise is the same: Death-Cast calls him to tell him that he will die within the next 24 hours.

“The First to Die at the End” also features two characters who will try to live their lives to the fullest with the clock ticking. Valentino, and the other major character Orion Pagan, will navigate New York, trying to create lasting memories before they die.

Life doesn’t care how young you are. It forces you to grow up anyway.

But there’s a difference that would be interesting to readers. Valentino is the first-ever decker. We got to see Death-Cast in its inception, and the chaos and confusion following its launch. There are glitches that make it more riveting. Death-Cast failed to call some people who were registered before they died. So we know Valentino will die at the end, but we thought Orion was safe.

I write short stories because I am one. I wish I was a novel. Breaths away from midnight, I know my final chapter is close.

There are plenty of books detailing the endless places in New York, my recent favorite being “Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares” by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn because it’s Christmas. Also, Adam Silvera really likes writing about this city. You would think it would be boring and repetitive, but no. The scenes in the places they visited were fun, sad, and memorable all at the same. The pawnshop where they bought their digital camera. The High Line Garden. The train dancing and “being blindfolded and taken past the secret subway station” are too cheesy, I admit. But Valentino modeling inside the train and taking his shirt off is hot. The scenes in tourist spots Time Square and Brooklyn Bridge are given memorable moments. Not to mention the heartbreaking scene where Orion, who lost his parents during the 9/11 attacks, visited the World Trade Center (under construction) for the first time after the incident.

I’m no longer a short story. I’m now a novel. I’m a work in progress. I have all these new blank pages, and I’m going to live a life worth writing about.

Partnering a decker with someone who has a heart problem is brilliant. The story becomes more intense once the readers find out that the Death-Cast system is not perfect. There were people who did not receive a call from them before dying. So, while in the first book, the two characters are expected to die in the end, the readers will just find out that Orion might not make it in the last pages of the book. “Orion has lived with this panic for years. No, he’s never known for a fact that his death was certain. But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t questioned every little choice he makes.

There’s something off about Valentino being a hot model but having no sexual experience. Especially when he’s churning thoughts about freedom, love, and other deep stuff.

I want to make great memories. Something to look back on whenever existing seems hard.

I like the early 2000s setting, with no gay marriage, etc. Mateo and Rufus (in book 1) were introduced here as kids. While I appreciate the gesture of setting a background story for these two characters, they’re too young to be having those deep thoughts about death and life and it’s not really realistic. Valentino bought Rufus a bike. Is it the same bike he used in the book? The origin of the app “The Last Friend” was also revealed here.

I like that same as before, the focus is not solely on the lead characters. It is interspersed with the stories of other people, sometimes connected with the main characters.

Geek Rate

(Sun god Worthy. 4 out of 5 stars). “The First to Die at the End” is equal parts heartbreaking and uplifting. In the amount of time you read the book, your heart will be invested in the main characters, Valentino and Orion. The death scene is really heart-wrenching. But the book shines best on the pages where it shows us how we can enjoy life even amid the shadow of death, and that’s what I appreciate about it.

See our review of the book’s sequel:

Photo 4-24-22, 11 22 59 PM (2)Reignell Francisco

I’m a content creator with passion for travel, history, football, and anything on TV. Visit my YouTube channel onelostgeek for my travel stories. Business inquiry: geekgodreview@yahoo.com

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