Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Source: Publisher (Thank you!)
Age Group: Young Adult
* Review copy provided by the publisher for an honest review *
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.
Rating: O.K. Read
When I first heard about Level 2, I was instantly captivated by the unique concept of the book. Felicia has died, but instead of moving on to the next level she is stuck in Level 2, an afterlife that is kind of like a spin-off of purgatory. In Level 2, people are stuck in a hive spending time in stark white chambers reliving their own or others’ memories. Except, lately there have been weird things happening that only Felicia seems to notice. Then, Julian, a boy from her past, comes busting through the door and breaks her out of the hive. Julian wants Felicia to come help with the rebellion to overthrow the Morati, the guardians of Level 2 who have been abusing their power, and he offers her something she would do anything to for – the location of Neil, the love of her life.
One of my favorite aspects of Level 2, was how Appelhans scattered memories of Felicia’s life throughout Level 2. At the beginning of Level 2, I didn’t really understand much about Felicia’s personality, but I found myself being drawn into the story, trying to piece her life together. There are hints here and there that something traumatic must have happened in her past, but you aren’t really sure what to think. Then, BAM! Appelhans smacks you right in the face with this huge, revealing memory that just opened my eyes to Felicia. The way Appelhans built up this somewhat hidden suspense in Felicia’s memories was done brilliantly and it really made Level 2 a more enjoyable read.
Um… Well, to be honest, I was not the biggest fan of the characters in Level 2. And, I honestly do not have much of an opinion of Felicia. At first, I didn’t really know what to think of her, but I found her obsessiveness with Neil to be a tad bit annoying. Plus, her actions could be really confusing, but fortunately Appelhans does give you a better understanding of Felicia later on throughout Level 2. When that happens, you’re going to be majorly feeling for this girl, and that was the first moment where I really felt some sort of a connection with Felicia. Oh, and the boys… They just didn’t do it for me. First, Julian… He was just confusion all wound up in one big mess. I felt like he was completely shrouded in mystery. Every aspect of Julian needed to be decoded, but the problem was that I missed out on that secret decoder. And, Neil… He plays a big part in Level 2, but I never got to know his true personality because we’re seeing him through the eyes of Felicia who worships the ground the guy walks on. I just felt a lot of disconnect with the characters, although I can see the potential for character growth in future books.
The plot of Level 2 moved at a pretty good pace and it was fascinating enough to capture my interest, but the last part was… No joke, towards the end of Level 2, I felt like I was sprinting the last 10 meters of a race. I was out-of-breath, unmistakably exhausted, and everything just blew right past me. It was way TOO rushed. But, the fact that it was also exploding with information did not help. If Appelhans had just given us a little bit of a breather to digest the information, it wouldn’t have been as confusing. Instead, we zip through the ending, leaving myself brain dead after forcing it to work at least 100 miles per hour after trying to keep up with the plot line. I couldn’t even process most of the information Appelhans threw at me because soon after another piece to the puzzle was thrust my way.
Overall, Level 2 is based on a very unique idea and was an alright read. I found that the plot with plenty of unexpected twists and turns was much more of an attention grabber than the somewhat flat characters. I don’t think I’ll be rushing out my front door at midnight to go grab the sequel to Level 2, but I will definitely be interested to see what Appelhans has planned for Felicia, Neil, and Julian.