Friday, 18 July 2014

Review: Chasing Before by Lenore Appelhans

Title: Chasing Before (The Memory Chronicles #2)
Author: Lenore Appelhans
Release date: August 26th 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Format: eARC
Pages: 371
Source: Edelweiss

Felicia and Neil have left Level 2 behind, but another level stands between them and Heaven: Level 3. While the purpose of Level 2 is to relive your time on Earth and make peace with your memories, the objective of Level 3 is to completely detach from life and prepare for your divine vocation.

During Felicia and Neil's training period, a series of explosions destroy the portals out of Level 3. Tension is high, and casualties are mounting. Though Neil wants to become either a Muse or a Healer to help, Felicia is drawn to the Seraphim Guard. A rift forms between the pair, one that grows wider when Felicia receives memories from the Morati. The memories cast doubt on the people she loves the most, but Felicia can't stop her curiosity. She has to know the truth about her life before she moves on--if she can manage to evade old enemies long enough to find a way out of Level 3.

We don’t erase the past. Our triumphs, our failures, our loves, our betrayals – they all provide the clarifying context that makes life more meaningful. Without our roots we might be carried off by the first wayward wind.
But we also need to realize we can fly.
I've got to admit this is the first series where I've seen a blend of dystopian and paranormal. Though Chasing Before focuses more on the paranormal, with the Morati still being a problem even in Level 3. This book is primarily about development, of both the characters and the plot.

Felicia has escaped to Level 3 along with her boyfriend Neil, and she's relieved to be free of the Morati. But soon enough, she realizes they have ascended up to Level 3 with her, and still pose a major threat. On top of that, she has no idea what happened to Julian, the angel boy who rescued her. Felicia and Neil both have a lot to discover about themselves and about their time on Earth, but both deal with the truth in their own way, which creates a rift between them. They need to figure things out before the Morati manage to destroy more lives.

Level 3 confused me even more than Level 2 did. People go to training classes and pick careers. They have jobs! The idea of afterlife careers seems quite ridiculous to me. I mean, you're dead, aren't you? I'd do what the hell I wanted. The impeccable order and organization on the level really surprised me, considering the situation.

Felicia really bugged me in this book. She's entirely fixated on retrieving her lost memories, and honestly doesn't seem to care about any consequences of getting them back. And the whole love triangle thing with Neil and Julian annoyed me to no end. You're with Neil, don't freaking kiss Julian. And if you want Julian, break it off with Neil. Don't string both of them along for who knows how long!

Neil I have mixed feelings about. On the one hand, he's really sweet and genuine. He cares about the people around him, and he's so compassionate. You don't see many YA guys like that anymore - most of them are pretty jerk-like. Kinda like Julian. Neil is one of a kind. And his ability to calm a whole hall of people down with his voice... wow. I wish I could hear him sing. But on the other hand, his rigidity pissed me off. Yeah, he's a devout Christian with very firm beliefs. But I totally empathizes with Felicia on this one. He's dead, why can't he just share a freaking room with his girlfriend? It's not like they have to actually do anything he doesn't want to, and it's not like they're going to get married in the afterlife. Sometimes Neil and Felicia just don't get each other, and I'm surprised their relationship has lasted this long.

Julian is probably the only character I fully like. Okay, so I tend to gravitate towards the bad ones. But Julian's very straightforward about who he is and what his intentions are. He doesn't play a stupid cat and mouse game like Felicia and Neil. And I could tell he really cares for Felicia, I wish she'd see that too. I'm hoping for lots more Julian in the next book!

We get a few new characters in this book of course, since it's a new level. And an old character returns. I won't say who! But definitely with all the new additions, I can say one thing - no one is what they seem. What I really liked about this book is that you never know who's on what side, and when it all comes together in the end, it's epic. There's a lot of mystery surrounding the plot and the missing memories, and Felicia gets way more shocks than she's prepared for. So did I!

Overall, I enjoyed Chasing Before more than the first book, and I'm definitely looking forward to seeing what's next. But I'm also hoping the characters shape up a bit more, because I can't stand annoying protagonists. If you've read the previous book, you'll definitely want to pick this one up ASAP.

*Thank you to Simon & Schuster for providing me with an eARC for review*

Rating: 3/5

1 comment:

  1. What the fuck. Love triangle? She kisses the other guy? NOOOO. No no no. This makes me so damn unhappy :( I did enjoy book one, but now I'm worried I won't like this book at all :( Damn it. Love your review, though. <3 Thank you for sharing and being honest sweetie :)


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