Series: The Memory Chronicles #1
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on January 15, 2013
Genres: Young Adult, Social Issues, Death & Dying, Science Fiction, Adolescence
Source: Simon & Schuster
I received this book for free from Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Buy on Amazon
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 have been reading Lenore’s blog for years now. And, we met at BEA in 2011 and 2012. I’ve been excited about her novel since she announced it. Just thought I’d get all that stuff out of the way.
My first impressions of Level 2 was that it was a dystopian novel. However, it should be made perfectly clear that this is a novel about the afterlife, with a few dystopian elements. Meaning that the society (of souls after death) is supposed to be perfect, but holds some very dark secrets.
Memories are used as currency. Those memories that the dead wish to make public are uploaded into the system. Others are then able to slip into the memories and relive them. They can rate them, and the user who uploaded the video is given credits based on how many times their memories are viewed. Then the uploader can either relive their own memories, or use their credits to relive another soul’s memory. There are limitations; for instance, you can’t view memories that occurred before you lived.
I hope that explanation helped, because I honestly couldn’t figure out what was going on until about page 100. I held on because I really enjoyed Felicia’s memories and learning about her life on earth. The world in Level 2 was a little harder for me to connect to and enjoy because I simply couldn’t figure out what it was for a good portion of the novel.
But, there were a lot of things to love about Level 2. Learning about Felicia through her memories and even how many times they have been viewed and which ones were private was absolutely fascinating. Her interactions with Julian both on earth and in Level 2 were complex and very twisty. And her romance with Neil (who is shown in her memories), is sweet and lovely. Also, once I got a handle on what was really going on in Level 2, I was very drawn into the seedy underbelly of the afterlife.
Try this one if you’re looking for a very unique take on the afterlife. I’ll definitely be looking out for the next one in the series!