I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Chasing Before by Lenore Appelhans
Series: The Memory Chronicles #2
Narrator: Cynthia Holloway
Length: 10 Hours 22 Minutes
Published by Simon and Schuster on 2014-08-26
Genres: Death & Dying, Science Fiction, Social Issues, Visionary & Metaphysical, Young Adult
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Perfect for fans of The Matrix and Inception, Chasing Before follows Felicia as she grapples with a futuristic afterlife in this riveting sequel to The Memory of After.Itís been four months since Felicia saved Level 2 from the Morati, the corrupted angels who trapped her and her boyfriend, Neil, in the afterlife. Now, she and Neil are finally ready to move on to the mysterious Level 3, an afterlife training facility where humans pick a career to pursue until they supposedly retire to the next level. Shortly after arriving, Felicia learns some shocking truths about her life that make her question everything. Neil wants to focus on the future, but Felicia insists on looking for answers about her past. Just when Felicia thinks things canít get any more complicated, deadly explosions begin to rock Level 3, and Julianóher charming former love who might still be aligned with the Moratióreappears. Felicia has a choice: Will she do everything in her power to expose the Morati and end the destruction of Level 3, even if it means never knowing who she really is? Or will she chase after the desires of her heart and risk losing her past humanity, her present afterlife, and a future with Neil?
Why Did I Read This Book?
First things first, Lenore is a dear friend and my name is in the acknowledgements of this book and she has given me German chocolate and I have seen her awesome birthday dance and so yes that totally colors me, and you can feel free to read this review with that full disclosure in mind. I absolutely and totally loved†Level Two or†The Memory Of After, the first book, and it’s exploration of heaven and faith in this non-preachy way that felt familiar to the faith that I grew up with — minus the megalomaniacal Morati angels. Still, the first book talked about playing Underground Church which omg I lived for on overnight church camp retreats. Anyways. I picked up†Chasing Before because I was desperate to see what happens next. I wanted more Felicia and Neil. I decided to listen to the book because I liked the sound of Holloway’s voice and also because I am so time limited when it comes to eARCs, so, audiobooks makes the TBR more manageable and Lenore’s book was something I knew I needed to read.
What’s The Story Here?
Main character Felicia Ward has somehow triumphed over the evil Morati in Level 2 and has found herself ascending to Level 3 with her boyfriend, Neil. There she must choose a profession and decide which task she would like to spend her afterlife doing. Well, at least if all was going according to plan. However, it seems that the bad Morati have infiltrated Level Three of the afterlife, and so, Felicia finds that she must fight them all over again. Also? She discovers that she’s got some missing memories and the siren call of those memories is too much and so, she becomes obsessed with getting those lost memories back, even at great risk to the other residents of Level Three. Oh yeah and there’s some trouble in paradise between Felicia and Neil and it’s kind of actually fantastic to see their relationship tested. Oh and of course, Julian comes around to mess things up, but also to play an important role, AGAIN. Also we get to really know her best friend Autumn and see her as this complex character.
How’s The Romance?
I loved that Felicia and Neil’s relationship had to actually face a few realistic obstacles. There is this huge reveal about Neil that could definitely change the way we all think about him. He’s not quite the perfect person that Felicia thinks he is and honestly, that makes it pretty real for a book about angels and the afterlife. I love the tension that permeates between the two. I love the fact that there is still some kissing and maybe some more action, but it doesn’t come easy. What is great about Appealhans’s†Chasing Before is that she shows that relationships take work and that if you see one person in the relationship as perfect and not as human, then you end up setting yourself up for a whole lot of disappointment. I just, I loved that this book showed a relationship and it’s ups and downs.
What’s The World Building Like?
MORE OF THE AFTERLIFE PLEASE. But for serious, I think I liked the world building in†Chasing Before nearly as much as†Level Two/The Memory Of After. I loved the different jobs people could have like healers, demon hunters, muses, seraphim guard, etc. I loved that people could materialize objects based upon things they touched. I loved that Felicia’s memories were stored in orbs. I loved how a certain part involving the morati played out.
I loved the impact of music too. There’s a part in the book where Neil talks about why he loves church and he describes the music and how singing at church makes you feel like you are a part of something larger than yourself. Back when I used to be really into church, that was one of my favorite things and for that exact reason too. I am not sure if talking about Neil and his music counts under world building, but well, I think that Appelhans certainly captures why some people (me) were so into faith-based activities like singing with this praise and well, she brought that whole world rushing back to me with just one simple paragraph.
How’s The Narration?
Okay so Cynthia Holloway is kind of an excellent narrator.†Chasing Before was the first audiobook narrated by her that I have listened to. She’s got this gentle sounding voice, but at the same time she is able to infuse it with a little bit of a whine for tense situations and it just works. She also does different voices and accents for the characters. Her voice is never boring or annoying. Overall, I would recommend this audiobook.
Who Should Read This Book?
- People who like different portrayals of faith and examinations of faith
- People who loved†Level Two/ The Memory Of After
- People who think angels are overrated
- People who like romances with a portrayal of the issues real life relationships face
Sum It Up With A GIF:
Just some of that good time old religion, but also, all the excitement at reading CHASING BEFORE by Lenore Appelhans FINALLY and just totally getting it.