Monday 22 April 2013

Review: Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans

My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

Source: Audiobook

Synopsis from Goodreads:
In this gripping exploration of a futuristic afterlife, a teen discovers that death is just the beginning.

Since her untimely death the day before her eighteenth birthday, Felicia Ward has been trapped in Level 2, a stark white afterlife located between our world and the next. Along with her fellow drones, Felicia passes the endless hours reliving memories of her time on Earth and mourning what she’s lost—family, friends, and Neil, the boy she loved.

Then a girl in a neighboring chamber is found dead, and nobody but Felicia recalls that she existed in the first place. When Julian—a dangerously charming guy Felicia knew in life—comes to offer Felicia a way out, Felicia learns the truth: If she joins the rebellion to overthrow the Morati, the angel guardians of Level 2, she can be with Neil again.

Suspended between Heaven and Earth, Felicia finds herself at the center of an age-old struggle between good and evil. As memories from her life come back to haunt her, and as the Morati hunt her down, Felicia will discover it’s not just her own redemption at stake… but the salvation of all mankind.

I'm not really too sure what to say about this book! I possibly had too high expectations from it, and ended up just not getting it. 

Level 2 is a stage of the afterlife where people go to relive memories of their life and to start to move on. It is a very high-tech vision of death, almost Matrix-like, where people "plug in" to pods and can keep track of the number of views, rate their memories (1-5 stars), and even share them with others to garner a user rating and "credits". Level 2 is essentially a social network of the afterlife.

We learn the story of Felicia's life in disjointed bits and pieces through her memories of her parents, her best friend, and her boyfriend Neil, and also of another mysterious boy Julian. I did like this way of reliving Felicia's best and worst memories, and having such a unique window in her life from an early age. I also like that you always get the impression that there is something important that you are not being told- the mystery around Neil and Julian and Felicia's strong feelings of dislike for Julian leave you constantly reading on to find out why.

There is also an almost dystopian element to the book when Felicia learns that a higher power is erasing memories and deleting lives, and she discovers the existence of a rebellion against the way of life in Level 2. These rebels have the power to hack into the system, to move around between hives and to alter memories and track people. But who are really the good guys and who are not?

My rating is my own personal opinion of this book. I don't think it's a bad book in any way- just that it never caught me. I didn't always follow these invented rules of this new plane of existence- the concept of life after death, (and death after death) became very strange and confusing, and stretched the power of my imagination just that bit too far. Also sometimes the disjointedness of the narrative, the jumping backward and forward in time left me really confused at points, and the character of Felicia herself is very hard to puzzle out. She makes some bad choices at times, and is not a character that I could easily relate to.

For a book dealing with the subject of death I didn't really see any emotion or get any sense of regret or loss from it. I missed the after effect of Felicia's loss to her friends and family- there is nothing there.

But it's definitely a fresh and unique book and will appeal to fans of dystopia and sci-fi through it's unique take on the world, fans of contemporary through Felicia's flashbacks to her old life and romances, and fans of a mystery story because there is a puzzle to be unravelled. Because of the way it's told it often feels like two stories in one, with the two strands of before and after death weaved together. It seems to be a book that people either enjoy or hate- so read it yourself and form your own opinion!


  1. I'm sorry this book didn't catch you!! I don't like confusing books either... I'm not sure if I want to read it because I've already read too many not-so-good reviews.
    Thanks for sharing your honest opinion!! I love your blog <3

    Sapir @ Diary of a Wimpy Teen Girl

  2. I have this one and I haven't read it yet, everytime I look at my book shelf I want it to jump out at me and yell at me to read it but, it just hasn't yet and I have also seen some mixed reviews of it but, I am definitely still curious about it.

    Kristin @ Young Adult Book Haven


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