by Julia Durango
Series: The Leveller #1
Published by HarperTeen Release date : June 23, 2015
Genres: Science Fiction, Suspense, Young Adult
Source: The Publisher | Format: ARC
Purchase at: Amazon (Affiliate Link) • The Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads
Nixy Bauer is a self-made Leveller. Her job? Dragging kids out of virtual reality and back to their parents in the real world. It’s normally easy cash, but Nixy’s latest mission is fraught with real danger, intrigue, and romance.
Nixy Bauer is used to her classmates being very, very unhappy to see her. After all, she’s a bounty hunter in a virtual reality gaming world. Kids in the MEEP, as they call it, play entirely with their minds, while their bodies languish in a sleeplike state on the couch. Irritated parents, looking to wrench their kids back to reality, hire Nixy to jump into the game and retrieve them.
But when the game’s billionaire developer loses track of his own son in the MEEP, Nixy is in for the biggest challenge of her bounty-hunting career. Wyn Salvador isn’t some lazy kid looking to escape his homework: Wyn does not want to be found. And he’s left behind a suicide note. Nixy takes the job but quickly discovers that Wyn’s not hiding—he’s being held inside the game against his will. But who is holding him captive, and why?
Nixy and Wyn attempt to fight their way out of a mind game unlike any they’ve encountered, and the battle brings them closer than either could have imagined. But when the whole world is virtual, how can Nixy possibly know if her feelings are real?
Gamers and action fans of all types will dive straight into the MEEP, thanks to Julia Durango’s cinematic storytelling. A touch of romance adds some heart to Nixy’s vivid, multidimensional journey through Wyn’s tricked-out virtual city, and constant twists keep readers flying through to the breathtaking end.
I received this book for free from The Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I love a good science fiction novel – especially one based on virtual reality and gaming. Bonus – Nixy is a gamer bounty hunter. Um, yes. How awesome does that sound? Sadly though, The Leveller didn’t wow me as I hoped – but it was quite enjoyable.
The concept behind a virtual reality game like the MEEP, is one that is so fascinating to me I get giddy thinking about it. I couldn’t even begin to imagine the level of awesome it would be to play in. My mind just gets tired of all the things I could/would create yet there is always that nagging fear of addiction. So, reading about them works just fine for me!
Nixy, our main character, is a Leveller. She is paid by frustrated and irritated parents to collect their kids in the game, for a small fee. Imagine her surprise when the developer of the MEEP hires her to retrieve his son, even having several “professionals” at his beck and call to do just that.
I adored Nixy. She is hilarious and quite smart for making a business out of yanking these AWOL teens from the MEEP. She is tough and pretty bad ass too – and that confidence shows. I want to say there was some development to her character, but I can’t quite figure out what it would be. I also didn’t get a good vibe on Wyn, simply because The Leveller is short in page length and never really touched on him individually, in my opinion. There is a touch of romance too, that didn’t quite fully develop, which, I am okay with.
My favorite thing about The Leveller was that it was fast-paced and action. There wasn’t ever a dull moment – and I loved that majority of the setting was inside the game. I love how there was an emphasis on what the trials Nixy would and did go through, could do damage to the mind. Even knowing when something can’t physically harm you, doesn’t take the fear and panic away.
I was slightly frustrated with the ending, simply because I was wanting a more information on everything that went down and the full scope of what is REALLY going on. Discovering – after finishing, I might add – that this was a series had me appreciating the ending more. It makes sense now. I also figured out who the “enemy” was pretty quick. The clues were there the whole time!
Overall – I liked it! It was a fun, quick read full of non stop action and a vividly described virtual setting. It’s the “lighter” side but I recommend it!
Tell Me Your Thoughts
- Have you read The Leveller? If so, what did you think?
- What kind of world would you create in a virtual reality game?