Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans (The Memory Chronicles) Review

Level 2 (The Memory Chronicles)  by Lenore Appelhans
Amazon, Kindle, Audio CD Audiobook, Audible Download,  Barnes and Noble, Indiebound,
Goodreads Summary- 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.

So I am so happy for Lenore Appelhans first off, a book blogger that took the time to explain what a dystopian novel was to me when I first started blogging back in 2010. She won't remember me, but I totally remember her blog, it was kind of pea green with a woman floating at the top drawn with a single line. It didn't look very dystopian but it was simple. And Lenore was as gracious as she could be. Little did I know I would be reading her novel a few years later! So congratulations Lenore!

The way the novel is set up is perfect. Felicia wakes up on Level 2. We already know she's dead but we don't know why or what's happened in her past. The way the story is built though, a delicious kind of tension is built up between the past and the present. The past starts in Germany with Felicia and her friend, Autumn meeting Julian and the story moves back and forth between the Julian/Autumn/Felicia story to the Felicia/Neil story to the present. The present is Level 2 and the past is accessed through memory screens almost like video's of Felicia's life. She can view them over and over again. And other people can view them as well. Other people can even view her videos. She labels them and rates them and other viewers can rate them as well. It's kind of like reviews, label, rate.....

Felicia is a wonderfully layered character. We see her complexity on every page as she works through her memories, her past, coming to terms with what happened both because of her and to her. And what's happening now. There is a point where she is going to church a lot and involved with youth group. I was afraid this book was going to be preachy, but no, this has nothing to do with God. There isn't any preaching or anything, just one of the characters is closely related to the church. I can't take religion in books. I don't want anyone telling me what to believe or what to think, but that's not what this book does. It's just not. So don't be scared away when religion come up.

The thing is, I felt like the ending was very easy and almost too perfect. I loved the book! The tension build up was almost unbearable. But then in the end, it was almost too good to be true. And there are so many ways to look at that. Maybe that's what Heaven is, too good to be true. Or, a character told her on Level 2 that someone could plant memories in her mind. So is that what's happening and she's going to wake up and have to start all over again?  After all, this is a series. I just have no idea what's going to happen. If I was going to choose and ending, I would have chosen the one I got only made it last a bit longer. Appelhans did such a great job building the tension to Felicia's death, to what she was so ashamed of, I think she could have built the tension to the ending more. I'd really love someone else's take on this one! It seems that people either love it or hate it. I loved it!

Buy it! Because if this is the first one....Enough said!

Happy Reading!


  1. Wow, this book sounds awesome. I love that it has a refreshingly new premise. Going to check it out now! Great review as always, Heather!

  2. I also want to read this one. Good to know it's not preachy. I'm not into those either. I also don't mind things being too good to be true. I mean it's fiction, right? :)

    I do know of her blog and I think it is awesomesauce that she got a book published.

  3. I'm one of those who like religious themes and concepts in books, but I don't like to be preached to either. From your description the first thing I thought of was The Matrix but I guess this isn't too science fiction-like or philosophical. It sounds like something I might give a try though.

    Tossing It Out

  4. Felicia and her layers and well as the book set up sounds wonderful.
    Great review.
    Happy reading,
    Brandi @ Blkosiner’s Book Blog

    1. I thought it was great, just a small problem with that ending, but it might be intentional. But as far as revealing the past, it might have been really hard, but the author made it seem effortless. It really worked well.

  5. I haven't been drawn to this one so far, but your review is making me think otherwise. I may have to check it out!

    1. I wasn't going to read it either until I found out who it was by and found out I might get to have her sign my copy. Couldn't pass that up! I'd also already borrowed a sneak peek from NG and that was half the book!

      I'll say this, some people say the characters were flat. I didn't think so. Some of them were, but they weren't main characters. Felicia is the main character. I'd still like to dig deeper with her.

  6. New follower here...found you through another blog. This book's interpretation of afterlife is quite interesting...I worked on a MS once where religion was one of the themes, but it wasn't used to preach, but to show irony and the hypocrisy of certain characters. So I was a little disappointed when some people who read a few pages of my story automatically classified it as being "religious fiction" when it so wasn't that at all. I do think some people get scared when there's a suggestion of religion in a story, and I think that's unfortunate.

    1. I've read some reviews that said it was religious and obviously Christian, but it isn't other than the concept of moving on to another place after you die. It isn't even called Heaven. And yes, Felicia's boyfriend is religious so there are some things that happen at church and a kind of bizzare thing that happens at a lock-in but that's because the boyfriend is religious. Felicia is not. And still the book doesn't preach. I am really turned off by religious books being forced to attend church with my parents until I no longer lived under their roof. Sunday School, Youth Group, Choir all of it I dreaded. So if I say it didn't bother me, I guarantee you it's not preachy.


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