Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Review: Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans

Level 2 (The Memory Chronicles, #1)Level 2 (The Memory Chronicles #1) by Lenore Appelhans
Publisher: Usborne
Released: January 15th 2013
My Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads
Note: I own the US version of this book, but have included information about the UK release.

Felicia Ward is dead. Trapped in Level 2, the waiting room between Earth and Heaven, 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 in Level 2, 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. A choice that will change everything…

(from Goodreads)

Level 2 was an interesting take on the afterlife and definitely had me intrigued from the beginning. I had a few problems with it (mostly just stuff that confused me a little), but enjoyed it as a whole.

Felicia was an unusual sort of main character. She wasn’t exactly instantly likeable – she had done a lot of stuff in the past that she regretted, she was pretty self-centred and a little arrogant and she seemed unreasonably hostile at certain points. But I did actually like her, because she was so human. She had done things wrong yes, but she had admitted to her mistakes and was trying not to make them again. In the “hives” – the places in Level 2 (the afterlife) where people were plugged into a network and made to relive their memories of life – she relived her happiest memories most often while staying away from the bad ones – just like most people in real life would try to shut out their worst memories. However, when she needed to, she went through them and tried to get information from them that could help everyone. Most of the memories she enjoyed were ones of her boyfriend Neil, and I liked seeing her relive all her memories because it gave us an insight into the type of person she was in life and how she changed over time. I didn’t exactly understand why Felicia was a target or what was so special about her that she would be chased into hiding – it was explained, sort of, but I didn’t really get it. Definitely hope to get more information about that in the next book, because it would clear up a lot of questions I have about Felicia and Level 2.

As for the love interests (though the love triangle wasn’t really a love triangle – you’ll see what I mean if you read the book), I am firmly Team Julian. Yes, yes, call me morally ambiguous, but I preferred Julian. Neil (who mostly showed up in memories, rather than in person) was so perfect he was positively saint-like and I’m much too sarcastic to tolerate him. Julian was a bad boy, emphasis on the “bad”, and after that ending I have no idea what to make of him now, but I still preferred him, because he had a personality that stood out more, for me. Neil was all kind and sweet and that was all very good, but he didn’t have much to say. Julian was a lot more challenging and had more chemistry with Felicia in my opinion, and despite knowing all the stuff he’d done, he was still better than Neil because Neil was just...eh. Boring and naive. And too nicey-nicey. “Oh Felicia, whatever you want is fine! Don’t mind me!” “Oh Felicia, I don’t care about the things you’ve done because I for some reason just really like you anyway! And of course, ‘To err is human, to forgive divine’ and we all know I’m just a saint!” “Oh Felicia, good always triumphs over bad!” “Oh Felicia, everything will be fine and dandy, just you wait!” -__________- To say he annoyed me would be an understatement. I realise, however, that a lot of people will like Neil better. Won’t lie, Julian acted like a major jerk at times and didn’t even seem to WANT to be liked. But this is the book world, and he was the character I found more interesting, so there you have it. Team Julian and his questionable morals all the way!

Plot-wise, I found the beginning very slow, but it got better quite early on and things became a lot more interesting. A lot of time was spent reliving memories, and while I did enjoy most of them, I felt like this took up a lot of room in the book and left little space for other things to happen. Felicia did seem to spend quite a few pages wandering back and forth, visiting different hives and charging up with memories (and in every memory of her dad, he called her “sweet pea”. I never want to hear “sweet pea” again now). However, I did enjoy the world-building, and the concept of the hives and Level 2 was pretty unique and definitely appealed to me. The whole “war” (is war the right word? Basically two groups fighting against each other) aspect which came into play (and explained a lot more about Level 2) was also something I enjoyed because we didn’t actually know much about the “bad guys” (or what they were really after – again, it was kind of explained, but I found it hard to make sense of it all – though this could just be me) and the “good guys” seemed to take a lot of harsh actions to try and get ahead, and it made me question just who was who in this war. I also loved the ending – I guessed a few things but there was one thing I didn’t see coming at all, and it completely surprised me! Definitely intrigued to see how it all plays out in the next book because I think things are going to be very different.

Overall, I liked Level 2 and it was definitely a pretty original story. Recommended to those who like books about the afterlife or general dystopia fans.


  1. I preferred the contemp parts of this rather than the afterlife stuff! I was firmly Team Julian too. I found Neil kind of boring!

  2. nice review! I do want to read this one at some point. I've heard similar reviews about this - but it seems like the sequel will help people enjoy the story more.


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