Level 2 (The Memory Chronicles, #1)
by Lenore Appelhans
‘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. (goodreads.com)
When I first heard that Lenore from Presenting Lenore had her dream come true and was going to become a published author, I was excited. Not all book bloggers want to be writers (like me!) but when a book blogger within your blogging community has something great happen to them, it’s quite a to-do! I was even more excited when the details of her first novel were made public. I love me some dystopian type stories but this book seemed to have a very different spin than what I was used to.
Flash back to June 2012 when I was able to attend the SimonTeen shin-dig right before BEA began. Level 2 was one of the ARCs included in the party favours and I have been sitting on this book for HALF A YEAR in anticipation of reading it. It’s been in a pile, semi-hidden from my sight so that I wouldn’t be tempted by it on a daily basis. I could have read this book months ago, but I can’t do that. My brain is all “IT’S TOO EARLY!” and “You’ll have to wait even LONGER for the sequel if you like this book. JUST WAIT!” So, January came and I picked up this book and…
That’s a good wow, too. There is so much going on in this debut novel that is fascinating to read about and original content. I loved the mish-mash of the mysterious, creepy Level 2 hives and drones and memories for credits… and the flash-backs into Felicia’s life by way of recorded memories that you can access, rate, tag and make public for people to rent. I loved how each flash-back was categorized and listed as if in a catalogue.
I was even fascinated by the references to religion which were spattered about the book. Not once was it preachy but you could really get a glimpse into the views and beliefs of how much faith played a role in Felicia’s life before death. One of the memories she revisits is one where there’s a sort of sleepover youth camp thing at the church and they play a game with Romans and christians and you have to make it to Christ to win. Or something like that. I’m explaining it poorly because I read this book over a week ago and I don’t have it near me as I type this up now. Anyhow, I thought the religion aspects of the story were well done and interesting, even though I was worried for a moment it would be TOO religion-y for me.
It doesn’t really have a huge role to play in the actual story, but I loved these memories throughout the story because they seemed so real and believable. They made the story a lot more deep and meaty than if they hadn’t been included. They just made the pacing of the book seem fast and engaging to me.
What I didn’t like about the story? I didn’t like Julian. Not from his first appearance in the book and not by the end of the book. I didn’t like his character and I didn’t like how he manipulates Felicia with every single breath he takes. I was so mad at him by the final chapter that I just wanted to throw the book across the room and not read the next book when it comes out. Stupid Julian. Bah.
I was also slightly confused at the end of Level 2 as explanations were coming out. I sort of wondered if maybe it was just a little too much to take in at once, but mostly I was irritated that Julian was still around and I had to suffer through more of him in the future.
Totally Random Cat Fact & Side Note: I am a huge fan of the TV show Angel, but I never once liked the character of Gunn. I said almost every episode “Why don’t you just DIE already!?” and each time my husband and I re-watch all five seasons (we have done this numerous times) I still said things like “Maybe Gunn will die this episode.” knowing full-well it wasn’t going to happen. A girl can dream. And then to add insult to injury, the dude doesn’t even die in the COMIC BOOKS! Oh, no. He gets killed alright but then COMES BACK AS A VAMPIRE JUST TO RUIN MY LIFE WITH HIS PRESENCE!!! Gah! Stupid Gunn. Ruining my life.
I have a feeling Julian is going to the Gunn of the Memory Chronicles. Ugh.
So, Internet, I highly recommend that you check out this Level 2 novel because it’s fresh and new and pretty imaginative. It’s different from what you’re used to reading in a totally good way. We need more NEW in YA literature and this is one of those books that falls into that category.
Meanwhile, I’ll just be here waiting for Level 3 to come out and hope with all my might that Julian dies in that one. heh heh
The Memory Chronicles
- Level 2
- Level 3 – 2014