Monday, December 10, 2012

Review: Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans

Level 2 (The Memory Chronicles #1)
By: Lenore Appelhans
Expected Publication Date: January 15, 2013
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
Hardcover, 288 pages

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. -Goodreads

2 and a Half Stars


There are some writers who are perfectly capable of writing well in the present tense. These writers are incredibly gifted and are rare to come by. The vast majority of authors cannot do it and so they wisely choose not to and write in the past instead. Not the author of this book. She chose to write in the present tense anyways and as a result the novel reads like a creative writing piece written by an overly zealous high school student.

As far as the plot goes, it's not bad. Maybe the book tries too hard to be different, but the idea behind it all was pretty solid. The main character, Felicia, is stuck in a stage of the afterlife called Level 2, where she is kept in a pod and isn't allowed to do anything besides watch memories. Some are her own (she mostly watches those of her and her boyfriend, Neil) and others belong to the other girls in the same pod. Eventually, she is broken out of Level 2 by Julian, someone she knew when she was still alive and who promises her that she can see Neil again if he helps her overthrow the evil angels who are keeping them there. There were a few too many plot twists to keep track of, but the plot moved fast.

The writing was the real drawback to the book. I have no doubt that Lenore Appelhans could have made this work had she written it in the past tense and lost the laughable amount of clich├ęs she managed to include. The writing gave the impression that the author was trying too hard, and it dragged the book along, making a potentially interesting story into a boring one.

Pre-order this book at: Amazon/ Barnes&Nobles/ The Book Depository


  1. Sorry this one didn't work out for you. I'm not a huge fan of looking-back-after-the-main-character-dies stories, so I'm probably going to skip this one. Nice review, though :)

    Jesse @ Pretty in Fiction

  2. Aww, I'm sorry that this one didn't work for you. :( It sounds so terrific, and then when you put it all together, it also seems sorta weird. You said she tries too hard, and that'll probably turn me off of the book--but I still want to read it. Terrific review, Maya!

    Megan@The Book Babe

  3. Aw man. I was looking forward to this. I love the concept. I've heard good things about it.

    But, I sometimes have a hard time with present tense eve when it's written well! Ooh boy. I was thinking about purchasing this. I'm definitely going to check it out at the library first.


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