Adam Silvera’s Death Cast is Back – Warning People When They Die and Telling Them to Live

“The First to Die at The End” features two subscribers to Death Cast, one of them will die and the other is actively dying.


Emily Cardinal, Staff Writer

“Death-Cast won’t just tell people when they’ll die. We’ll make sure their lives don’t go unlived,” Joaquin Rosa claims in the novel The First to Die at the End. The prequal to They Both Die at The End. The First to Die at The End shows the first day that Death-Cast launches. Death-Cast calls subscribers if they die that day. It is seen in They Both Die at the End, that the Death-Cast’s predictions are correct. Rufus and Mateo live their last day together within They Both Die at The End. Adam Silvera notes that no one thought the title was the truth; “People thought I was going to do a fake-out. None of us is going to be the exception to death.”

The First to Die at The End is a love story between two young protagonists. Meeting at Times Square to celebrate the beginning of Death-Cast, Orion Pegan approaches Valentino Prince. Valentino had just moved to New York and knew no one, so Orion’s friendship was a welcome surprise. Valentino learns Orion signed up for Death Cast because he believes he is going to die: He has a heart condition and can die from a heart attack at any moment. Orion wants to be a writer but believes he’ll never live long enough to write anything important. Orion expresses his fear to the reader by saying, “I write short stories because I am one.” He learns within the next few minutes that his story will be longer than Valentino’s.

Valentino Prince is the first person to receive a call from Death-Cast, telling him he is going to die today. Valentino nearly reaches a breaking point- he just moved to New York to begin living. Valentino doesn’t have anyone but his sister to call, but she is states away. He has no family since he just came out as gay and his parents disowned him. All he has is a stranger with a dying heart to keep him company.

Valentino believes he will die today, so he promises Orion his heart.

Out of all the characters Adam Silvera has created in the Death-Cast universe, he relates to Orion the most. Initially, Orion wasn’t going to be a narrator of the book, his best friend was. Silvera struggled with writing the story from Dalma’s, Orion’s best friend, point of view so he wrote it from Orion’s. Adam Silvera wasn’t out as gay during 2010 and he said that “There are so many parts about his identity that are identical to my own, except I just wasn’t out yet.” Adam Silvera was able to use Orion in order to see what parts of his life could’ve been like, if he was out in 2010.

An interesting detail to They Both Die at the End and The First to Die at The End is that the Death-Cast isn’t the villain. Adam Silvera expresses his view on the Death Cast by saying, I’ve never viewed Death-Cast as villainous.” Death-Cast is meant to be a service to its subscribers, allowing them time to get their affairs in order and experience a good last day on earth. There are some minor antagonists in The First to Die at The End, but nothing the characters are actively working against.

The First to Die at The End is told from several points of view. In addition to Orion and Valentino, it is also told from Joaquin Rosa’s point of view. Joaquin Rosa is the creator of Death-Cast and expresses his struggles in getting Death-Cast up and running. One thing that is avoided, but mentioned, in Joaquin’s point of view is how Death-Cast works. That part of the Death-Cast universe remains a mystery. Several more characters also show their point of view with Death-Cast and this new way of living. Mateo and Rufus, the main protagonists from They Both Die at The End, also have chapters of their lives as children.

9/11 is mentioned throughout The First to Die At The End and is tied into Orion’s story, as he lost his parents because of it. This part of the story was added because of Adam Silvera’s own fear and experiences. He was 11 years old when 9/11 happened and his mom was in Manhattan the day it happened. He recalled that he had to make plans in case they got seperated as his mom, himself, and his brother walked home from school. He recalled, “It was so terrifying to fear death like that.” Two months after the tragic event of 9/11, Adam Silvera learned anyone can die at any moment when his favorite uncle died in a plane crash. The idea of Death-Cast was created because of his anxiety regaurding death.

Adam Silvera was in love with the universe he created in They Both Die at The End and expressed his joy in expanding it. Something unique about the universe Adam Silvera created is that he can continue writing books without writing “the same book over and over.” There is going to be a third Death-Cast novel that will take place in 2020. Adam Silvera explains his plan of the book by saying, “I’m going to be talking about how Death-Cast helped prevent COVID from becoming what it became in our world, because it’s an alternate reality.”