Title: Level 2
(Memory Chronicles #2)
Author: Lenore Appelhans
Length: 288 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster BFYR
Rating: 3 stars
Three levels. Two loves. One choice. Debut novelist, Lenore Appelhans has written a thrilling otherworldly young adult novel about a place that exists between our world (Level 1) and what comes after life (Level 2).
'I pause to look around the hive - all the podlike chambers are lit up as the drones shoot up on memories ... I've wanted to get out of here before, but now the tight quarters start to choke me. There has to be more to death than this.'
Felicia Ward is dead. Trapped in a stark white afterlife limbo, she spends endless days replaying memories, of her family, friends, boyfriend ... and of the guy who broke her heart. The guy who has just broken into Level 2 to find her.
Felicia learns that a rebellion is brewing, and it seems she is the key. Suspended between heaven and earth, she must make a choice. Between two worlds, two lives and two loves.
The beginning of the book is enough to draw you in. The memory downloads, the back-stories surrounding Felicia's friends, and the beginning of Felicia's story.
The story starts to lose it feet when Felicia, who has "woken up" a la Matrix, to find that she is the female teen version of Neo, and Julian, the boy who broke her heart is her teen Morphious.
It is clear from the start that she doesn't like the boy who has made it his business to save her. She instead pines for Neil, her church going, choir singing, too good for words boyfriend, who she is convinced is somewhere in Level 2 and who she is determined to save.
This plot line is so at odds with the Angelic Matrix theme and the flashbacks that tell the part of the story that is built upon Felicia's past.
This book seems all over the place plot-wise. A serious case of too much too fast. As such, it is very hard to build a connection with Felicia. If anything, Julian is the most well rounded character in the story.
There are twists and turns that make the plot better toward the end, but there is a great deal of teen angst to get through.
Overall, this is not a bad book, it is just suffering from a bit of an identity crisis. Due to the fact that this is the first book in a series, there is thankfully a great deal of room for the series to decide where it and it's readers are going.