Level 2 – book review

Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans

Level 2 is the first book in its series, written by Lenore Appelhans.

When Felicia died unexpectedly before her eighteenth birthday, she awakes in a stark-white afterlife limbo, known as Level 2. Level 2 is the midway point between Earth and Heaven, also known as Level 3. Felicia and her fellow drones spend their time reliving memories of their past and mourning everything they’ve lost. For Felicia, this is her family, her friends, her boyfriend Neil… and even Julian, the guy who broke her heart.

But when Julian brakes into Level 2 to find Felicia, he tells her that he knows where Neil is. Desperate to be reunited with Neil, Felicia joins Julian. But is Julian everything he says he is? Is he hiding something dark beneath his alluring and charming exterior? But that isn’t all. Felicia soon learns that she’s in the middle of an ancient war between good and evil. She must join the rebellion to overthrow the Morati, the angel guardians of Level 2, to ensure the safety of everyone in Level 2 and to be with Neil once again.

I liked reading this book, but sadly, it didn’t live up to my expectations. I had wanted to read this book for ages, so when Allen & Unwin Publishers Australia gave me a review copy, I was so thrilled that my wishes had come true. Unfortunately, Level 2 didn’t meet my wishes. I expected this book to be a sci-fi / futuristic thriller with some kind of gaming element to it. It is called ‘Level 2’, after all. What I read was more about the past than it was the future. It felt like we spent more time thinking and reliving the past than staying in the future. I really liked the idea of renting memories and reliving your own to pass the time and that was probably my favourite aspect of the book. I loved reliving Felicia’s past, however I didn’t find where she was and what she was doing in the present very interesting. I kept reading because I wanted to know what happened to Neil and how Felicia died, not because of the pressing need to save people who are already dead from evil angels. It was a weird concept to wrap my head around.
From the start of this book, I was intrigued to find out more about the place Felicia is in. However, I didn’t think the world building was very good and I wanted to see more futuristic elements added into the story. All I knew about the place that’s called ‘Level 2’ is that everything is white, people have these pod things that they relive memories in, and that’s all. Felicia explains all people do to pass the time in Level 2 is relive their memories. I would have liked to see more futuristic things, other than the pods. It sounded like all there was in Level 2 were pods. I wanted more gadgets and sci-fi elements and I felt the book was lacking this.
I found what Felicia was doing in Level 2 was extremely boring. The idea of fighting the ‘angels’ and joining the rebellion really lost my interest. Furthermore, it seemed like this book spent a lot of time talking about God and angels. Felicia went to church when she was alive. Her boyfriend, Neil, was a dedicated member of the church they went to every Sunday. In Level 2, Felicia was fighting evil angels. She wondered about God. Obviously Felicia was a bit religious, but I didn’t think we needed to spend that much time thinking about heaven and angels.
Felicia wasn’t one of the strongest characters I’ve read about, but she was determined and I felt connected to her. Reliving her memories gave me more of a feel as to what she was like when she was actually alive and I think that’s how I came to care about her. I didn’t really know whether I liked Neil or not. I suppose we’re sort of forced to like the main character’s love interest if we’re reading in the eyes of the main character, but I didn’t really feel anything towards Neil. Julian, on the other hand… wow. Julian was probably my favourite character. We first meet him when he unexpectedly walks into Level 2. No one seems to know who he is, except Felicia. She then relives memories of Julian where we get to know how Felicia met him and who he really is to her. As Felicia relived more and more memories of Julian, I began to fall in love with him. When him and Felicia were together later on in the book, I felt that he was being a bit mysterious and I really liked how he was so alluring. Towards the end of the book, I began to doubt him. I wasn’t too surprised to learn of his little secret. That, along with most of the other plot twists in the book, seemed a little too easy to guess.
Overall, this book was an okay read. I’m disappointed that the book didn’t really pick up pace until the very end and the ending seemed a little rushed. The idea of this story was good, but I wished it could have been written better. Most of this book was flashbacks, and although I really liked the flashbacks, I felt like the story needed to progress, not be stuck in the past. I didn’t like Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans as much as I had hoped, and I’d give it a score of 7 out of 10. I will read the next book in the series, but I hope for much better things to happen.

Thank you to Allen & Unwin Book Publishers Australia for kindly sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.

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