May 8, 2013

Review #23: Level 2 (The Memory Chronicles #1) by Lenore Appelhans

Publisher: Simon & Schuster 
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 281
*I purchased this book. Even though I am friends with Lenore, this is an honest review of the book.*

First Line: "I'll sleep when I'm dead."

Goodreads Summary:
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 first "met" Lenore in 2009, the year I became a book blogger.  Lenore was already an established blogger at Presenting Lenore and it quickly became one of my favorite blogs to visit.  When I left blogging to pursue graduate school and work, I lost touch with her and almost all of the bloggers (except for a handful) because a) I was so busy, b) I was going through some medical problems, and c) most of all, I am horrendous at keeping in touch.  

So when I renewed contact and communication with Lenore and re-discovered her blog, it was nice.  I soon discovered she was now releasing her very first book entitled, of course, Level 2.  The premise was exciting and new and I was so thrilled for her.  A few months ago Lenore came for a tour stop in Richmond, Virginia, about 3 hours from where I live so I decided to take a trip up to see her, listen to her talk about her book and writing, and hang out.  

Me and Lenore at Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Va.

It was a lot of fun to meet her and hang out.  When I left there I wanted to read her book immediately but I had all these other obligations and time kept slipping away from me.  A couple weeks ago, however, I put my foot down and decided I was going to start reading this book.  

As you know if you know me or read the blog regularly, I don't read one book at a time.  I typically have 3-5 going at once.  (Right now it is 9, which is very unusual and highly humorous to some people, lol.)  When I began reading Level 2, I realized how much of a good thing this was because I needed time after every few chapters to digest and consider what I had read.  This usually only happens with the classics or really heavy reading in politics or education, for example.  Yet, Lenore had managed to stir up a lot of philosophical debate within my own head.  Yea, I was contemplating philosophical and spiritual ideas with myself! 

I considered what I believed happened after death.  I considered the Catholic belief of purgatory.  I thought about re-living my memories from my entire life - some which would make me overjoyed and some which would terrify or depress me.  I contemplated the idea of levels in heaven.  Lenore managed to insert and connect deep spiritual, philosophical, and even scientific themes into light and fast-paced language that consistently moved the story forward, keeping me engaged.  

The idea of beehives was really interesting because bumblebees in hives have no system of communicating information with one another, which makes complete sense for this story.  A honey bee colony generally consists of three kinds of bees: workers, drones, and a queen.  In Level 2, Felicia and the others in the chambers are the drones.  While there is no queen, per se, it does hint at a hierarchy and I assume there will be more on this hierarchy in Book 2.  

 I am very interested in seeing how the next book plays out.  What could be next in the world that is apparently the afterlife?  Since it is "the Memory Chronicles", will something happen to her memories on Earth?  How will memory play a factor?  What will happen with the rebellion?  

So many questions, and so long until Book 2 comes out!

"I wonder sometimes, though, does this collective rating of memories add value to our existence here? Do certain parts of people's pasts deserve to be remembered while others are forgotten?"

"The point is to keep trying new things, meeting new people, visiting new places. Once you settle into a rut, no matter how fun that rut may seem, you stagnate. You might as well be dead."

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  1. I love that the book made you think! I'm so thrilled for Lenore's success!

  2. I'm very interested in checking this one out-I love that it sparked a lot of discussion within yourself.

  3. I'm jealous you got a chance to meet Lenore! She wrote one of my favorite blog posts of all time.

  4. I still haven't read this one yet, but it's next on my list. Do you think the new title or the original one speak more to the book ?

    I think I'm juggling like 12 books now I can't say anything about your 9.

    1. Aww, I am in good company with my book polygamy! :D

      I think both titles make sense but I like Level 2 better since that is where she is. But I understand the name change. The Memory of After is less confusing than Book 1 called Level 2. But the Memories are about before and she is living in the after.

    2. Of course, there are things that happen after, so I don't know.


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