The First to Die at the End is a beautiful and heartbreaking prequel to the Death-Cast series

The cover for The First to Die at the End by Adam Silvera

The cover for “The First to Die at the End” by Adam Silvera

There I was, Friday night, sobbing on my bed. 

Literally sobbing. 

Nothing tragic had happened, at least nothing in real life.

You would think that I had learned from the first time. But alas, I decided; when Adam Silvera released a prequel to the original book, They Both Die At the End, I would sacrifice my mental health for the next two weeks, even if it meant that I had the potential to read another masterpiece from him.

After I got over my initial shock that the main characters in They Both Die at the End did, in fact, die at the end of the book, all I wanted was to read more. 

Fortunately, one week after I finished the book, Adam Silvera announced that he was in the process of writing another book that would be a prequel to the novel.

The First to Die at the End follows teenagers Valentino Prince and Orion Pagan around the streets of New York City for one beautiful, heartbreaking day. Valentino had just moved to the city that day, trying to start a new life with his twin sister, Scarlet. Orion has not only lived in NYC his whole life, but he has also lived with a serious heart condition. Death-Cast is a company that claims to be able to predict someone’s death on the day that it will happen. 

Valentino and Orion meet at the death-cast launch, and so kicks off the romantic tragedy that I don’t think I’ll ever get over. 

The First to Die at the End is written in both first-person and third-person points of view, from multiple characters’ perspectives. Because the book is written in a multi-narrator format, it allows the reader to see the inside thoughts and feelings of many different characters that they wouldn’t normally see. The two main protagonists of the book—Valentino and Orion—have first-person narratives, while the other characters are written in the third person. 

The character development of every single one of the characters in The First to Die at the End was incredible. Sometimes, when an author tries to write many different characters into the story, they turn out underdeveloped and boring. For this book, that wasn’t the case. No character was left with a half-baked story, and none of them felt like incomplete ideas that Silvera had started to write into his book and never gotten around to finishing. 

No character was left with a half-baked story, and none of them felt like incomplete ideas.

While the characters all had very developed backgrounds, some of their roles in the story were not clear until their paths collided with the main characters. This left some mystery surrounding what was actually going to happen, and when it did, I was left with my mouth hanging open in shock—before bursting into tears, of course. 

It isn’t often that I find a book that isn’t predictable from at least halfway through, but once in a while, it happens. This was one of those times for me. 

Of course, the title lets you know before you pick up the book that it’s not going to be a satisfying ending. So while I knew that one of them was going to die at the end of the book, that was about the only thing that I was able to predict in advance. 

One of my all-time favorite things about The First to Die at the End is the continuous connections between characters. Both in the book and from the original: They Both Die at the End. 

In the book, there are tiny, minuscule details that are only noticeable if you have spent hours crying over the book like I have. Little moments made my heart skip a beat and had me marveling over the brilliance of the author when I read it. 

Then, there were other connections. Chapters dedicated to characters that I thought I would never be able to read about again. Chapters when I had to put down the book and breathe for a few seconds, because I wanted to scream at the characters to not do what they were doing.

There were connections between the books that made me sob and smile at the same time and connections between characters that neither they nor I will ever forget. 

I loved this book with my entire heart and soul. Honestly, I didn’t expect it to quite hold up against the first one, but trust me, it did. I loved every minute of reading it, even when I couldn’t make out the words through the tears blocking my vision. I will forever recommend this book to anyone and everyone who comes to me looking for something to read.