I have to be honest (gasp), but I have no idea where this book came from! I entered a bunch of competitions around Christmas time and won Afterworld from Allen & Unwin. Since Level 2 turned up at the same time, I assume I won it too.
It’s a great and wonderful mystery.
Thanks, Allen & Unwin, regardless. You’re a fantastic publisher. I have a fantastically horrible memory.
Level 2 came out on the 15th of January, 2013.
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.
My debut YA novel LEVEL 2 (Simon & Schuster BFYR) is out now. My debut picture book CHICK-O-SAURUS REX (w/ Daniel Jennewein) comes out with S&S on July 23, 2013. I’ve been blogging about books since April 2008.
I have no idea what to think! (How’s that for a gripping way to start a review?!) After reading Afterworld, I thought I was turned off after-life-with-angels books forever. So when this turned out surprisingly fabulous, I was happy. Very happy. I would recommend this book. Yes. So why the 3-stars?
Oh good, I’m glad you asked.
Honestly, one of the love-interests, Julian, was a jerk. It’s a triangle (oh, sigh, I punish myself), starring: Felicia, the narrator, who is dead. Then there’s Julian, mister hot and sneaky lad. He’s only rivalled by the sweet church-going Neil. Awww. Aren’t they all adorable together?
It’s hard to read about a competition where Felicia spends the WHOLE book in love with Neil because Julian is a jerk. Julian is clutching at air! Felicia loves Neil! Get over it, Julian. Go be snarky to someone else. I’m not opposed to the bad-boy sides of a triangle, too, by the way. I usually prefer them. It’s just I don’t like characters who don’t respect people. Julian had no respect for Felicia. This kind of makes sense at the end, but I had no reason to root for him throughout the entire book. The triangle collapsed, in my eyes, like a beehive made out of soap and left in the rain. (You’re welcome for that highly original metaphor.)
So why would I recommend it?
The writing is excellent! It’s crisp, clean and moves at a great pace! No endless fluff!
The flashbacks are very engaging! It’s made up almost entirely of flashbacks. Felicia is dead (boo hoo) and in a honeycomb style afterlife. She sits around all day and peruses her memories. This changes as the book progresses of course (books do that), but the flashbacks make up 70% of the story. I liked that! It wasn’t confusing. It provided huge insight. The scenes were tantalising and as they were pieced together, everything made sense.
It was like a contemporary, because of the flashbacks, but paranormal, because of the afterlife and angels.
But what was with the ending?! It’s not the kind of cliff-hanger I gasp at and sob with feels. It’s the kind that leaves me like, “Say, what?!” Confused. Weirded out. And not at all impressed. It was as if someone hit fast-forward and just scooped up the ending and threw it at me. After power walking to the end, having a few shocking plot twists, the book finishes. Excuse me, I’m just…confused.
Naturally, I’m torn. I want to say this is a good book. I want to say I enjoyed it. And both are partly true. I loved the first 70%, and then it lost me.
Apparently, dead is the new life, blogglings! How dramatic.