At the Other End: Three levels. Two loves. One choice. Debut novelist, Lenore Appelhans has written a thrilling otherworldly young adult novel about a place that exists between our world (Level 1) and what comes after life (Level 2).
'I pause to look around the hive - all the podlike chambers are lit up as the drones shoot up on memories ... I've wanted to get out of here before, but now the tight quarters start to choke me. There has to be more to death than this.'
Felicia Ward is dead. Trapped in a stark white afterlife limbo, she spends endless days replaying memories, of her family, friends, boyfriend ... and of the guy who broke her heart. The guy who has just broken into Level 2 to find her.
Felicia learns that a rebellion is brewing, and it seems she is the key. Suspended between heaven and earth, she must make a choice. Between two worlds, two lives and two loves.
Author Bio: Born and raised in America, Lenore Appelhans now lives in Germany with her husband, illustrator Daniel Jennewein, and their three fancy Sacred Birman cats. Lenore dabbled in creative writing throughout her schooling writing short stories for assignments, literary magazines and writing contests. Level 2 is her first novel and began only in 2010. She also works as a freelance advertising copywriter and blogs.
Level 2 captures something truly unique, all the while captivating you in the process. Within Level 2 is a subject that you always seem to think about and wonder about, yet never seem to read about along with a new twist.
What is ultimately Heaven's 'waiting room', we first wonder where Felicia is until we are confronted with the reality of the whole situation and where she actually is. When you first read the blurb you wonder if the whole novel will consist of Felicia's memories. Once you read the book, in a way, it is. But it is written and conved so well that you want to see into her memories to find out exactly what happened in her past.
As we start out, the concept of Level 2 is somewhat hazy. I first heard the title of this book and saw that it was the first in a series, immediately I wondered 'why Level 2? Why not Level 1?'. Ok, this was back before I read the blurb, but still, time reveals everything as it all starts to unravel.
Although I have labeled this as 'Infamous Loathsome Love-Triangle', it's not really a love triangle, but then it is a teensy bit when you go back in Felicia's memories. Why I say that it's not really a love triangle because we instantly fall in love with Neil and as the book continues, we understand the real Julian is not what he appears to be in Level 2. Yet at the end-end, we wonder if he really is in love with her, or just a game.
Her relationships with the people in her life vary completely. With her mum, she calls her mother, her dad as dad, and grandmother as gammy. See the difference?
There is, but there isn't really a church-y theme to this book. Most of Felicia's memories of Neil, who is a worship leader within his Church. Felicia goes to Church under her gammy's insistence, and eventually, for Neil. Also, the underlying meaning of what Level 2, and ultimately Level 3, is also brings back this church-y theme. There is no real details that make it too obnoxiously church-y. I say church-y because, reading Level 2, it doesn't specify on one kind of religion, as the overall existence and meaning of Level 2 is found in basically every religion in a different form, deity, word etc.
The choices that Felicia has made in her life, as well as the looming breaking point within it, starts to allude us, we anxiously try and figure out what happened, while waiting for it to all be revealed to us. Yet when we do find out, it's nothing that we even imagined. My jaw literally dropped. I love the way that Level 2 is done in a way that, because it is based from a real life structure, we can easily picture it. At the end of the book, as always with a series, start craving the next novel. Level 2 hasn't even come out yet and I'm anxiously waiting for Level 3 already! Don't worry, it's not a cliffhanger as such, but from the way Lenore has left off, you can't help but wonder and start imagining what will come next, especially after everything that has happened in Level 2.
Level 3 (The Memory Chronicles #2)
Finding the Time: 7 January 2014
Now for a special surprise!
Thanks to Allen & Unwin Australia for providing giveaway copies