Monday, September 15, 2014
CHASING BEFORE by Lenore Appelhans
“I’m a ticking time bomb. And one day soon everything is going to explode.”
Felicia and Neil have arrived in Level 3 and are supposed to prepare for their divine vocations.
But during Felicia and Neil's training period, a series of explosions rips through Level 3. Tension is high, and casualties are mounting. 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 – even if it means putting at risk everything she’s worked for in her death.
My thoughts on the book:
Let me start this review by saying that the world-building, descriptions, writing, pacing, and plot were all fantastic. Had it not been for the completely unlikable characters, I would have enjoyed this book immensely. However, reading from Felicia's bratty point of view really ruined things for me. Instead of letting the mysteries unfold and being excited to find out what came next, I found myself sighing and checking to see how many pages I had left before I could end this whinefest and read something a little less obnoxious.
Felicia is one of the most selfish characters I've ever had the displeasure of reading. Additionally, she's bratty and needy. She's unhealthily obsessed with her boyfriend, Neil, and he's no prize, let me tell you. He's a self-righteous, judgmental bigot. The entire book consists of Felicia complaining and whining that she's not good enough for Neil and that he's the only thing that brings out her good qualities. Well, if those are her good qualities, then I'd hate to see her bad ones. Also, I completely disagree with her. Anyone that dependent upon someone else needs to do some serious self-evaluation. With Julian (the only redeemable character), Felicia thinks about others instead of just worrying about her relationship with Neil. She wants to do what's right because it's right, not because it will impress self-righteous Neil. Julian makes her much stronger, and something needs to. She's a completely weak and pathetic character. I really hope that Appelhans has Felicia grow some, and quickly, or I'm going to have to quit what would otherwise be an extremely interesting series. Felicia needs to break up with Neil and learn to stand on her own so that she's a worthy YA heroine. As it stands, she pales in comparison to the actual strong and likable heroines out there.
Aside from the characters, this book is fantastic. I really loved learning about Level 3, and the mythology behind the levels of ascension is intriguing. The plot is also tightly woven and engrossing. Furthermore, the pacing is spot on, and nothing drags or feels rushed. Also, Appelhans is a fantastic writer. Her descriptions really helped me picture the world around Felicia. The unraveling of the mysteries is also handled very well, and the ending ties things up nicely. The romance makes me want to gouge my eyes out, and I really hope that it goes away soon.
Overall, I'd only recommend this book to you if you don't mind really bratty, immature, weak characters. I know this is a YA book, but Felicia is supposed to be 18, not 8. It's time for her to act her age and learn to stand on her own. If you're looking for something different, though, this series definitely fills that requirement. Just be prepared to be super annoyed by Felicia.
Buy Chasing Before