Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans
Release: Januar 15, 2012
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.
Level 2 was undoubtedly unique. The idea for purgatory is simple enough, but Appelhans manages to make it extremely unique. In this world, in Level 2, people are placed in memory chambers where they relive memories from their past life--mostly the good and rarely the bad. These good memories can also be traded and used as currency to relive other people's memories. I definitely found the premise intriguing.
At the center of the story, though, is Felicia. She died just before her 18th birthday, and now she's reliving memories and mourning the loss of those she loves. Specifically, she mourns the loss of Neil, her boyfriend. This kind of situation could lead to excessive angst, moaning, and a "woe is me" mentality, but Felica is a strong and compelling character. When strange things start happening in Level 2, when a boy from her past appears and tells her there is a rebellion, she is quick to step into action (although hesitant to trust the boy). The boy, Julian, says he knows where Neil is and if she helps him, he can reunite the two lovers.
What follows is a story full of twists, turns, and flashbacks.
There are times when flashbacks become too much, to the point where it becomes the main story, but this never happens in Level 2. Every flashback, every memory, serves to paint a picture of Felicia and her relationship with Neil. It also depicts the toxic and complicated affair she once had with Julian. Both boys represent two points in Felicia's life, and serve as a foundation for her character arc.
And now, the big question: team Neil or Julian? Despite the things he did, and being overall un-trustworty, I think Julian is a more well-rounded and interesting character. Neil never stood out and he never caught my interest (which made it hard to understand why Felicia kept obsessing over him). I'm hoping to see more development with Neil in the future. So for fun, I'd stick with Julian. For being sweet and dependable, though, Neil is your guy.
Overall, Level 2 was a quick, face paced read, but it never seemed too short. Given the length, this is definitely a plus. And with that twisty, cliff-hangery (yet satisfying) end, I am dying to read more!
RATING: 4 SLICES
*receiving ARC from publisher, in no way, affects my opinion of the book*