Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: January 15th 2013
Genres: Adolescence, Death & Dying, Science Fiction, Social Issues, Young Adult
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.
If you have read in my review of SPLINTERED, then you know I love originality-especially in YA. While LEVEL 2 brings this, it falls short in other categories, leaving much to be desired. Its major downfall was the concept of memories, which are basically cleverly designed flashbacks.
“The point is to keep trying new things, meeting new people, visiting new places. Once you settle into a rut, no matter how fun that rut may seem, you stagnate. You might as well be dead.”
Let me give you a little background here. Felicia, our protag, is trapped in Level 2. “Limbo,” if you will. How did she die? Well you’ll find that out soon! By soon, I mean the end. Yep! You find out what she has been talking about almost nonstop in the book and in her memories literally ten pages to the end. Anyway, a boy she knows from her past suddenly appears, and Felicia is about to find out just how much of the afterlife was hidden from her.
Since I addressed it first, let’s talk about the flashbacks memories. I hate them. Blunt, sorry, but true. Especially when they are not even in order. Not only am I going into the novel with no knowledge (and slowly-so slowly-gain more) but I have to try to figure out if one memory happened before the other and it’s just a mess. Frustrating, to say the least.
“At this rate I’ll soon be completely buried, like a cursed princess trapped in the bottom of an hourglass.”
Religion plays a relatively substantial role in LEVEL 2, in a hidden sort of way. There is talk about God, angels, Church, fallen angels, and Heaven. I am a Catholic, and even I thought it had a bit too much. A few of the flashbacks take place in Church and I found myself skimming those pages. There is a way to talk about such issues and I did not feel this was it.
The ending was tied up, even pretty much hinting that it was done, with no real plot holes or room for expansion. I felt it was thrown together, though. The conflict was solved in a ridiculously fast pace-and not in a good way.
Felicia is forgettable, she’s not really anything special except for the fact we are told she is special. I’m still not quite sure why she was so important to everyone.
As I am content (if you could say that) with the ending, I will not be reading the sequel. Three stars because it was semi-entertaining and unique.