Narrator: Jenna Lamia
Series: The Memory Chronicles,
Published by Listening Library on 18 December 2012
Genres: Afterlife, Angels, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Friendship, Girls & Women, People & Places, Sci-Fi, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Length: 8 hours 19 minutes
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Place(s) Traveled To: Frankfurt, Germany // Level 2
First Line(s): I’ll sleep when I’m dead. I used to say it a lot.
Previously Titled: Level 2
The Memory of After was a book that I wasn’t sure I wanted to read and not because of the premise as that intrigued me but because of who wrote it, Lenore Applehans. Lenore is someone that I call a friend and who I knew first as a blogger and then watched as she transitioned from reviewing to writing books herself. I was so proud of the day when she announced her deal and putting to rest all the speculation that a person couldn’t be a book reviewer and an author. Lenore is also one of the most down to earth and nicest people I know. I was wary of this book because I didn’t want to not like and as I can be terribly picky with books this was a real fear. But curiosity won out and I found myself downloading the audiobook and listening to it on my morning commute. The narrator, Jenna Lamia, was new to me but I liked her voice and she reminded me of a few of my favorite narrators so I settled in and let the story flow over me.
At first, I was intrigued by this new world that Lenore had created and even though Level 2 is quite barren I could picture all its small nuances based on how it was described. Felicia, the main character, seemed a little blank but that falls into part of what makes Level 2 what it is as the memories of the people contained there are used as currency and maybe something a bit more sinister than that. Residents of Level 2 are encouraged to spend the bulk of their time in their pods reliving not just their memories but the memories of others who exist in this realm as well. It seems like a quaint and quiet existence but all is not as it seems in Level 2 and when Julian bursts onto the scene you learn that there is something more sinister going on. Julian is one of those ambiguous characters that toes the line between good and bad and depending on how you are seeing him your opinion tends to change. For Julian is special in that not only is he in Felicia’s present but he was also a big part of her before…her time alive before.
The Memory of After jumps quickly into the action but then sort of fizzles out quickly as Felicia needs to spend a lot of time in a pod as she weens herself off of a drug used by Level 2’s keepers to keep residents mellow. While she’s in a pod we are often shown one of her memories, the series of events that led her to becoming a resident in Level 2 which is an afterlife of sorts. In her memories we meet Neil, another romantic interest, and is the other side of the love triangle that isn’t a love triangle. Felicia has strong feelings for Neil in her past and wants to try to find him in her present but then there is Julian and all her mixed up feelings for him. Both Neil and Julian are very different and there were many a times when I wondered why they were drawn to Felicia as she was a very mellow character. She never really showed anyone her true self and I found it hard to connect with her. There were also moments when I didn’t like her very much but then the same thing happened with Julian as well. But overall, my favorite character of the story was Julian and I would have loved to have read some chapters from his POV to fully understand his motivation for doing all the things he did.
There is a bit of a mystery in The Memory of After but it isn’t what moves this story forward since so more time was spent in Felicia’s memories than in trying to figure a way out of Level 2 and learning more about its mysterious keepers. The memories while intriguing at first just started to bog down the story for me and if I wasn’t listening to the book then I may have started to skip them. I would have preferred more time to be spent building up the story instead of reliving the past especially when the memory being shown didn’t add anything to the story. I also found the ending to come about too quickly and was a bit unbelievable as it just sort of appeared on the page and then the book was over. I did enjoy The Memory of After and I am looking forward to the sequel/finale Chasing Before to see how it all ends. Now I just have to decide on if I want to read it in print or go with the audio again.