Oh man, less than 50 days to The Oathbreaker’s Shadow UK publication. Now that *is* scary! I’m working on quite a few blogs and giveaways over the next few weeks, and there should be a first chapter excerpt available very soon! I’ve also been loading things up on Pinterest – go have a look there if you want some visual representation 🙂
But throughout the lead-up to the release, I’m going to pay things forward by shouting out to some brilliant Lucky 13 and Author Allsort books I’ve been reading recently. First up is Level 2 by the brilliant Lenore Appelhans, which was published earlier this year by Usborne books… which means you can head out and get a copy RIGHT NOW.
I was lucky enough to be able to attend Lenore’s launch party, which was held in a very cool venue known as the ‘ice tank’ in Central London. Everything in it was bright, industrial white – the perfect setting for Level 2. Usborne, Lenore’s publishers, had brought along some neat props – but the crazy telephone contraption thingy I’m wearing on my head gave me neck ache for days after! Worth it for awesome photos like this though:
Now, how about the book itself…
(Quick caveat: Level 2 is actually going to be better known in the US as ‘The Memory of After’, but will still be known as Level 2 over here in the UK. I love The Memory of After as a new title: it fits the book perfectly!)
Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans
Felicia Ward is dead. Trapped in Level 2, the hive-like waiting room between Earth and Heaven, she has spent endless days downloading and replaying memories of her family, friends, boyfriend, and the guy who broke her heart. Now a rebellion is brewing in this limbo world, and Felicia is the key. Suspended between Heaven and Earth, she must make a choice between two worlds, two lives and two loves. Her decision will change everything. An astonishing, imaginative and out-of-this-world story of love, life and death from debut author Lenore Applehans.
I really sped through this book as Lenore has developed a totally immersive concept and a very original portrayal of the Afterlife. Felicia is a complex character, and I love the idea of being able to access, share and rate memories with other people. Despite it being a novel of ‘what’s next’ after death, the memories of Felicia’s life were probably my favourite sections to read. One of the main elements that struck me was how naturally Lenore weaves in the details of Felicia’s travels. For me, the most vivid part was when Felicia travels into the Turkish hills to hunt for bell-ringing goats with her dad. Lenore’s writing completely transported me there – and I was amazed when she told me that this wasn’t actually one of her travel experiences (although she does have many!) but an encounter related to her by her husband. She really made it come to life.
An amazing debut, a blend of contemporary with science fiction, that deals with the big questions as well as delving closely into the personal relationships between characters. Highly recommended.