Friday, May 24, 2013

review - The Memory of After

The Memory of After Cover Image

Three Stars
The Memory of After
by: Lenore Appelhans | Website | Twitter

Publication Date: January 15, 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Series: The Memory Chronicles #1
Format: eBook on PulseIt
Page Count: 304
Genre: YA, Sci-Fi, Paranormal
Get your copy: Amazon | B&N

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Summary: 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.

Summary and cover image from goodreads.

The Memory of After Header Image
My Review
After following Lenore Appelhans' blog for about two years, I was so excited to hear that she signed a YA book deal. Originally titled Level 2, it was recently renamed The Memory of After and got a cover redesign. And as redesigns go, this one was perfect; the photo was actually from the original photoshoot and maintained the same look.

While some might tout The Memory of After as a dystopian tale; I would actually call it a paranormal afterlife story with futuristic touches. The story pleasantly surprised me, because while I knew it would focus on a character's life after death, it didn't seem to fall into any cliched limbo/heaven scenarios. There weren't clouds and cherubs, rather a Matrix-like setting, a 21st century afterlife if you will.

We meet Felicia, who is stuck in a bizarre limbo along with a hive of other girls following their untimely deaths. To pass time, everyone relives their memories via interactive pods. (I always pictured the TV show Dollhouse-like pods) Outside of their pods, all the girls seem to lose track of who they are, but Felicia seems to be slightly more with it memory-wise, being able to maintain certain truths and memories. I thoroughly enjoyed the flashbacks and how they were introduced as YouTube-like video with stats for each memory file and that watches basically amount to a form of currency. There are really three timelines in the book; living with her parents (aka Julian timline), living with her grandma (aka Neil timeline), and living in Level 2 after her death. The consequences of her actions are revealed through her memories of the past. There is also this ever-present feeling of self-loathing; Felicia's past really haunts her.

Wondering if she'll spend eternity stuck in this rut with her fellow zombie-like hive occupants, Felicia's world is turned upside down when Julian barges into her hive. Thus begins her journey to discover answers and find the boyfriend, Neil, she lost when she died. Julian acts as her guide outside of the hive, and this is where (around 45%) the story slipped into a repeating pattern of running to the next hive, reliving and repowering via her memory files. I was just starting to think that something had to give, when Felicia finally makes a stand and demands answers before she'll blindly continues.

Like every good YA dystopian/paranormal story, there is a rebel force, fighting against those in power. Felicia just happens to be the key to winning this battle against the Morati, or fallen angels, who rule over Level 2. Here's where the action starts and reveals are made.

While reading, there are some clues, coincidences that started to tickle my brain, but I did not guess their true meanings. At one point, I actually thought that the whole thing was taking place in Felicia's head. But fear not, that was not the case and it was so much better and heart-wrenching.

Have you read The Memory of After, aka Level 2? What did you think?


  1. I'm not such a fan of this cover. I really like the old design, but I can live with it. I think I will enjoy this book. I like the sound of "a paranormal story with futuristic aspects"

    1. I did really enjoy the original cover's pop of salmon-red. This one is very monochrome. Could have used a dash of color!

      Its a good one, enjoy!