I will admit, I was totally terrified to read Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans. Not because the book is scary or horror or anything, but because I consider Lenore to be a friend. I’ve had alcoholic beverages in her company. Y’all, you know that omg what if I don’t like it trepidation? I HAD THAT. Then I had that nervous feeling of oh my god what if people call my review into question because of my friendship. THEN I was like, ah fuck it. I am going to read this book and let myself think and feel and react naturally. Luckily I kind of fell head over heels for Felicia and Julian and Neil and the world of Level 2.
I have not read very many books that take place in the afterlife, which is kind of a travesty because it’s a fascinating concept. Level 2 is definitely set in the afterlife and it’s sort of like Purgatory, I guess. I don’t know, my church didn’t do the whole purgatory thing. ANYWAYS. Okay, so Felicia is dead and lives on Level 2. She has two best friends. And pretty much what you do all day is you go in these pods and you get to access memories. Either your own memories or someone else’s and you do that with credits. OKAY SO. One day this pod malfunctions and bad things go down. THEN a blast from Felicia’s past, this guy named Jude shows up. OH and she discovers there are evil angels called Morati. Yeah buddy.
So, what I really completely loved is that we get to know Felicia through her memories on the pod. We learn about how she was pretty much living in Europe with her ambassador parents, then some bad things go down and then Felicia is sent off to Kansas where she meets the love of her life — because obviously it was cut short — Neil. Who oh my god you guys, is actually not one of those weird Left Behind religious types, despite being ya know, knee deep in it. OH and did I mention that Julian was a part of her European life. TANGLED WEBS BEING WEAVED Y’ALL! Anyways, there’s memories of the most adorable romance EVER and we get to gratuitously read them and IT IS AWESOME.
Straight up, Felicia is my kind of girl. She’s not boring. She’s kind of hesitant about things with Neil at first, but obviously girl has a past to get over. PLUS when they are all running away from the Morati, Felicia is a grade A bad ass. I love it. She’s not all wah wah, I am so scared let me scream and yell so we call all the bad guys to where we are. NOPE. Girl knows whats up. Although, she does put everyone at risk to save somebody, still. I just respect her as a character and was never like this person is wayyyy TSTL.
So, Appelhans has built an interesting world. There’s obviously a battle between the bad guy Morati angels and the other seraphim. I love what she’s done with purgatory, making a Level 2 where you get to access the memories of your life and other people’s memories. I love that the memories seem to be rated kind of like youtube videos. What I think I loved the most was that while reading, I forgot that it was someone I know who wrote the book, that’s kind of a hard thing for me to shake.
Level 2 is very fast paced. If you’re doing a 2013 book a day challenge or have a super insane reading list, then you should add this book to your list. Not only will you finish it quickly, but you’ll also enjoy it, I think. It’s very well written with a world that makes sense. It’s got very compelling characters and a curl your toes with swooning sort of romance.
ALSO OMG. Can we just chat for two seconds about the ending without totally spoiling you guys. Okay so the ending is NOT a cliffhanger. Like, yes there is another book but I can handle the wait because the ending is at a logical point where the book can be totally self contained. I never was like OHHHH CURSE YOU LENORE APPELHANS FOR LEAVING ME DYING IN SUSPENSE. Oh hell naw, this book actually has a legitimate GOOD ending. And then, I also got to read the final ending that’s going in the finished copy and that is legitimate too!
For reals, I loved so much about Level 2 but I read it back in like October and it’s January as I write this, so yay lazy reviewing. Anyways, I do hope you all check out and read Level 2. It’s very swoonworthy, breakneck paced, with an interesting concept of the afterlife. Plus, it delves into religion without feeling preachy or churchy.I actually really loved how faith was portrayed in Level 2. Y’all, this is one hell of a debut so get off your butt and check it out like right this second.
Disclosures: Received at Simon & Schuster Preview party. Also I am friendly with Lenore. She’s given me German chocolate before. I just want to be totally transparent, y’all.
Other reviews of Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans:
The Book Life – “Level 2 is such a unique story.”
A Foodie Bibliophile In Wanderlust – “an amazing job creating believable, complex, and interesting relationships among characters”
Serendipity Reviews – “I thought the plot was ingenious and well paced”