Title: The Leveller
Author: Julia Durango
Series: The Leveller #1
Release Date: June 23rd 2015
Source: e-ARC via edelweiss
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 an e-ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion whatsoever nor was I compensated in any shape or form in exchange for this review.
The Leveller is about Nixy Bauer, a leveller - a person who's paid to bounce people out of their personal virtual worlds and back into reality. She's really great at her job and has never failed once at it. Due to her infamy, the creator of the MEEP or MeaParadisus, hires her to bounce his son out of his MEEP where he has been for several days and has left a suicide note as well.
This is a really cool concept for a novel. After all, it's virtual reality! The world building for it is really great, especially with all the restrictions and stuff in place that make it seem plausible and realistic. To be honest, I would love to experience the MEEP. And since this is virtual reality, Nixy faces a lot of action involving dinosaurs, skeletons and zombies so it feels a lot like a video game or a fantasy world rather than scifi.
While virtual reality seems fun and all, THE LEVELLER touches on all the drawbacks of it and it's the cause of the problem in the story.
Nixy is a fun character. She's very serious about her education and ambitions so she uses her levelling job to make money for her post secondary education. She's confident and a warrior in her own way. However, while she is a sort of warrior, she's still a teenager and that's clear when she meets Wyn, the son of that has locked himself into the MEEP. He's handsome and charming. When Nixy meets him, we learn that there's more to his situation than suicide.
The ending sort of left me wanting for more. While it was no cliff hanger, I would have liked more resolution and just seen things tied up more. I'm a sucker for the "after" of the problem and seeing the aftermath.
The Leveller is a fun, action packed sci fi novel with a super cute romance thrown in. It's fast paced in all the right ways and is definitely one to check out if you're into virtual reality.