Felicia Ward doesn’t know how long she has been in Level 2. Time is hard to track when you’re dead and your body no longer needs food or sleep or air. With the constant lure of a memory chamber to help her relive her fondest memories, sometimes it’s hard to even remember she is living in a hive in Level 2 and not back home with her family and her boyfriend Neil in the life she had before the car accident.
She could look at other, less comforting, memories. But what’s the point in reliving the moments from her past that Felicia wishes she could forget?
Everything Felicia thought she knew about her post-death existence is thrown into question when another girl in the hive turns up dead and Julian, a handsome boy from Felicia’s life, shows up in Level 2. On the run with Julian, Felicia will have a chance to reunite with Neil–but at what cost? Soon, Felicia will learn that the truth behind Level 2–and her own place there–is more shocking than she could have imagined in The Memory of After (2012) by Lenore Applehans.
The Memory of After is Applehan’s first novel. It was previously published under the title Level 2.
Applehans offers a haunting story of life and what comes after in this story that combines flashback memory sequences with Felicia’s after-life in Level 2. The Memory of After is an austere story that focuses on Felicia and the truths to be found about death and what comes next.
The story, much like Felicia herself, is divided between Felicia’s memories of Neil and her present escape with Julian. While this story offers a love triangle, it may feel one-sided as Julian is often a much more vivid character compared to too-good-to-seem-real Neil. (Much of the storyline with Neil takes place at church or bible study or other religious activities which while handled well, may pull non-Christian readers out of the story.)
This high-octane blend of action and science fiction mind games create a story that is both engrossing and original. Although the plot often moves in starts and stops because of Felicia’s memories, the storylines are well-balanced. Applehan’s uses the memory chambers effectively throughout the novel to effectively present information.
The Memory of After is a strong and twisty debut sure to appeal to science fiction fans who like their action to take place in surprising worlds. If you want to find out what happens to Felicia next you can also check out the sequel Chasing Before.
*A copy of this book was acquired from the publisher for review consideration at BEA 2014*
Possible Pairings: Matched by Ally Condie, Delirium by Lauren Oliver, Starters by Lissa Price, Unwind by Neal Shusterman, The Program by Suzanne Young, Ashes to Ashes by Melissa C. Walker, Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin