It’s the afterlife. Where people lie around in white shifts, accessing their memories — and others’ — for entertainment. They rate the memories, earn credits and basically while away the hours reliving the best parts of their Earth life. It’s not bad. It’s not great either, though, and even though she enjoys hanging with her friends and revisiting all the happy memories of her boyfriend, Neil, Felicia finds herself wondering if really this is all there is to the afterlife. It’s not. Not really.
She finds this out when another boy, Julian, breaks into Felicia’s pod after a system malfunction, and enlists her to join the resistance against the Morati: fallen angels who are siphoning the power from dead people’s memories in order to break back into Heaven and get back at God.
Oh, and he knows were Neil (aka the Love of Her Life) is, too. So, of course (after some initial hesitance), Felicia signs up.
On the one hand, this is an interesting view of life after death. I’m not sure I got the whole “dystopian” aspect of it, but there were some elements I did like. For instance: the use of Felicia’s memories in order to provide background, but without a huge setup at the beginning. It does help us get to know Felicia and to understand her motivations.
The problem is that I didn’t particularly like Felicia. Or feel invested in her story. I didn’t really care whether she ever saw Neil again (in fact, I found myself rooting for Julian, because Neil was so insufferably perfect), I didn’t really get the why behind the desperation of beating the Morati. And I felt the plot was uneven. Perhaps it was that the memories broke up the flow of the book, but I felt the plot came in fits and starts. I didn’t like the Big Twist and the Big Reveal at the end, and I found myself wondering if this really could have worked just as well as a stand alone, without the cliffhanger at the end.
It’s not a bad book; Appelhans treats religion and the religious well, and she has some fascinating bits from Felicia’s travels around the world. It’s just not something that I really found engrossing.
Rated: Mild for some mild violence, mild swearing, and a mild nude scene (our main character got naked, but nothing happened).