*2013 Debut Author*
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication: January 2013 from Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
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.(from Goodreads)
Although it was rather compelling, unfortunately I can't say that I enjoyed this book very much. I read it all in one day as I just couldn't seem to put it down. Wanting to know what exactly was happening to Felicia and what had happened to her pushed me forward. However, once I did find out I was very underwhelmed.
Felicia is dead but she 'lives' in this sort of hive where she does nothing but access memories, hers and other dead people like her. At first, nothing is really explained - the few 'rules' to her world we are given don't make a lot of sense and as time passes, things just get more muddled. Also, the memories we do see her access are perfect for moving the story forward and giving us insight BUT they don't always fit into Felicia's story. We see what we need to see in order to understand but there isn't always a good reason for Felicia to be reliving these memories so in the end, everything feels very contrived.
I really did love the premise and I loved Neil as a character. The other aspects of Felicia's romantic encounters were...lacking to say the least. I never actually warmed up to Felicia and overall, the plot felt weak and a little boring at times. The climax was downright disappointing as everything is summed up nice and neat, no satisfying details to speak of and then proof, all done!
I know that others have really enjoyed The Memory of After so I'm going to put this in my 'not for me but maybe for you' category. I would recommend it to those who like stories with different takes on death and the afterlife.
Will I continue the series?
At this point, I can't see myself reading book 2. With everything ending so perfectly I'm not at all excited to find out what more happens to Felicia and her friends. You however, may feel otherwise.
3 / 5 Stars
The Memory Chronicles
#1 The Memory of After
#2 Chasing Before (2014)