book review: the memory of after (aka level 2)

The Memory of After (The Memory Chronicles, #1)The Memory of After by Lenore Appelhans

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was quite interesting. It takes place in Level 2: the afterlife, as experienced by those who’ve not yet moved on to whatever comes next (heaven/hell/??).

Felicia (a unique, old-fashioned name for a modern book) died the day before her 18th birthday. We don’t know the circumstances of her death, only that she has been stuck in Level 2 for what feels to her like eons. In Level 2, people are drones. They live in a hive-like structure, and their days are filled with accessing and reliving memories: of their own lives, and the lives of others. They utilize a credit system to purchase and sell memories.

The way this book unfolds is in a mixture of real-time and memories. Each time Felicia accesses a memory, we learn a bit more about her story.

Slowly, what unfolds is that Felicia has a dark past- some event that occurred between her time living with her parents, seeing her best friend’s boyfriend, Julian, behind her back, and living with her grandmother and attending church functions with the religious Neil. What the event was, we have to wait until almost the very end of the book to find out. (And when we do find out, not much time is spent on it AT ALL, despite the fact that it’s one of the most interesting parts of Felicia’s story).

Felicia’s main motivation throughout the book is reuniting with Neil, the perfect boy. When Julian unexpectedly shows up in Level 2 and drags Felicia into the midst of a rebellion between the Morati (angels who are using the drone-humans for energy) and the rebels (who want to restore Level 2 to its original purpose), she doesn’t really question how he arrived there. When we find out who Julian is, it’s not super-surprising.

The most interesting thing for me reading this was the idea of how the memories, once accessed by others, could be manipulated. Julian asks Felicia, once she’s manipulated one of Virginia’s memories, how she can be sure that any of her own memories haven’t been tampered with. How, in fact, can she even be sure that the people she thinks she knows were real?? I really wish the book had gone into that aspect a bit more, because I love questioning reality.

This was a quick read, and I will probably read the next book in the series, if there is one, if only to see how the world of Level 2 (and Level 3??) continues to develop.

PS: this book was available to read online for free at pulseit.com!

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