Books like this give me trust issues. The cover gives the impression that the story inside the covers will be badass, while the blurb promises a gritty dystopia thriller. WRONG. WRONG. WRONG.
Short recap: Felicia has died and finds herself in a place considered “Level 2” – essentially a stop between Heaven and Hell. She fights to help uncover the truth of the evil plan of the angels that are keeping people trapped in this Level 2.
Uh… what. The blurb itself talks about Felicia spending her days in a white, pristine place doing nothing but watching her old memories all day. Everything is turned on its head when Felicia discovers another girl dead (how can that happen when everyone is already dead?) but nobody knows who Felicia is talking about. It is as if the girl never existed. Sounds kind of … sci-fi and right up my alley. But this story was anything other than good. What I read was a gushy, sopping pile of instalove with a side story of Heaven vs. Hell and angels being bad guys. It was all over the place. I almost needed a map to be able to figure my way around. There were just so many things that hit me wrong about this story and that irritated me. It left me confused, as if I just wasn’t smart enough to figure out what was going on. I’m not a stupid person, this story just did not make sense to me.
The overall plot. Let’s start there, shall we? Anyone that knows me knows I love a good dystopia. This was not a dystopia story. I’m not even sure what it was. It tried to be too many things and ended up failing at all of them. Apparently, in this story, when someone dies (not murdered, mind you) they go to a place called Level 2. As I mentioned, it is considered an ‘in-between’ place. Everyone that is in Level 2 is completely clueless why they are there and spend their days rewatching their past memories. That’s right. That’s all they do. OH, and people on “The Net” can rent these memories and pay a small fee. The person that owns the memories can choose to keep some private, not release for public viewing. I could keep going but it just gets weirder and more pointless. There were so many things happening but together they made zero sense. It left me confused on what the actual plot was supposed to be – these trapped souls in Level 2 trying to escape to see what happens next. None of that is really discussed until the last half of the book. The first half is all about Felicia reliving her memories. YAWN.
There was also a severe lack of detail throughout this entire book. The author had one job: create a world that pulls the reader in and keeps them there until the end. That did not happen here. I was not able to connect to the world or picture what was going on because too much time was spent in Felicia’s memories – none of which had anything to do with the overall story. Sure, they were probably there for backstory but 75% of the book cannot be her backstory. Also, this was the type of story where things magically happened because it was just easier for the story. Felicia is supposed to be addicted a drug from pods she watches her memories in but suddenly she isn’t? In a very short amount of time she is able to simply manifest anything she wants like a pro? That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works.
Now the characters. I strongly disliked Felicia in a way I haven’t disliked a character in a while. She was weak and immature and I could not ever connect with her. How was she supposed to be one of the main people fighting the angels to get into Heaven? (see, that just sounds so bizarre.) All she wanted to do was relive her memories with Neil, her instalove, and Julian, a boy she liked but acted like she didn’t. groan She kept hinting at something “super awful” that happened in her past so I guess I was supposed to believe she was a megabadass? Not going to happen. She was too meek and fragile to do harm to anyone or anything. I could not stand the way she did nothing but pined over Neil and she wanted nothing more than to save him. Honey, he did nothing for you so why risk it all for him?
I was not aware this story had such a heavy religious tone to it. If I had known, I honestly may have skipped it. This isn’t a cram it down your throat religious book but it was pretty bad. Felicia’s character was very active in her church and we, as readers, are forced to relive them. It shouldn’t be that bad of a topic but the way it was portrayed in this story made me a little uncomfortable. Felicia was dating (instalove) the head church boy and he didn’t want to get physical with her. She was upset by this. UH, why is this even brought up? What does this have to do with anything? Felicia herself was playing two boys at the same time so she really shouldn’t be casting stones. What I’m getting at is that the heavy use of religion in this story was out of place and probably not necessary. I didn’t need to relive the memory where Felicia goes to a sleepover in the church and they play a game where Roman soldiers were hunting down the Christians. Pointless.
As you can tell, I did not enjoy this book. It caused me to rage in a way I haven’t in a long time. I thought I knew what I was getting into when I started this but I was so very wrong. This was a long, boring, pointless story that simply tried too hard to be something it wasn’t. In fact, it was such a mess that I don’t think it knew what it wanted to be when it grew up. The author just tried too hard to put so much into this one story that it messed it all up. I will not pick up the second book, nor will I ever recommend this to anyone. In fact, I’m going to try to forget I read this one.