Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans
Publication Date: January 22, 2013
Format: Audio CD
Rating: 3 stars
Genre: YA Dystopian
Source: Review copy from the publisher
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.
The audio narration by Jenna Lamia is outstanding. She is the perfect choice to read this novel. Her voice and inflections are on point; the character voices distinct. She made listening to the book an enjoyable experience.
However, I had a very difficult time staying focused on the story itself. And, honestly, it might just be me. This is not the typical genre of book that I read. I wanted to read it only because the author is a fellow book blogger. The storyline is not one that I would normally gravitate toward, so I may have brought some preconceived biases into my reading experience that are not fair.
With that said, there were parts of it that intrigued me … but I was left wanting more. There were other parts that went on and on … that I just wanted to skip over. Felicia Ward is a seventeen-year old girl who finds herself in Level 2, the stage between life on earth and Heaven. Felicia is dead yet she is stuck in this in-between world where she relives her life through countless memories. This is how the reader is introduced to Felicia’s back story – her life on Earth, so to speak. I was intrigued by some of her memories; others did not seem to move the plot forward in any meaningful way but instead showed a part of her character or an aspect of a relationship that helps us get to know her character a little better. Her relationship with her boyfriend, Neil, was adorable – how they met, their first date, etc.
The dystopian-esque elements of the book (the Level 2 parts) were just plain confusing to me. The Morati who oversee Level 2 are in the process of rebelling because they want to go to Level 3, but are forever stuck on Level 2. Then Julian, Felicia’s maybe-but-maybe-not love interest breaks in to free her and tries to get her to join the fight against the Morati. Julian was part of Felicia’s real life and they engaged in a relationship, but as far as Felicia in Level 2, it is all about Neil. Neil is her one true love. So, the premise of there being a love triangle was a bit flawed. The Neil/Felicia relationship seemed more real and emotional than the Julian/Felicia relationship.
The ending felt a bit rushed and contained some surprises that I am not sure make sense, but I am ultimately happy about.
Overall, a mixed read for me. Enjoyed some parts; other parts were confusing, but this could be because this is not the typical genre of book that I read.
My audiobook review copy was provided by Random House Audio. All thoughts are my own.