Review: The Leveller by Julia Durango

the leveller

Publication Date: June 23rd, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen

Synopsis: 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.

My Review:
star2star2star2star2star2

This book is fun.

I can’t remember the last time I finished a book, sat down, and said that.  But as soon as I finished it, it’s exactly how I summed this book up.

It felt like a vacation from a lot of other books I’ve been reading lately.

The Leveller didn’t have a deep plot line, complex characters, or ridiculous twists that keep you guessing the entire way through.  It’s not so science fiction-y that you need time to digest what you’re reading before you continue, and it definitely seems somewhat juvenile in some places.  I’ll admit it, I normally hate that kind of thing, and typically lose count of the amount of eye rolls I do before tossing the book aside and starting a new one, but man, this was just…fantastic.

It starts off with Nixy Bauer, who has a job bringing kids back from the virtual reality world, the MEEP, when they have spent more than their allotted time there and don’t come back on their own.  She is paid for her services, and her motto is “Nixy Bauer, home in an hour” (like I said, it’s juvenile in some spots, but bear with it, because the book is amazing).  Her friends, Moose and Chang, spend their time creating hacks that allow kids to do things in this virtual reality world that aren’t authorized – such as staying in the world longer than the four hours they’re permitted.  So she goes into the various worlds, brings the kids out, and gets paid.  It’s a pretty cool job, if you ask me.

Her parents both work for the MEEP creator, and when his son goes missing inside the virtual reality world, and none of the people he has hired to get him back out are able to help, he comes to Nixy.  While Nixy isn’t too keen on the idea at first, she eventually agrees to it, and she goes into the virtual reality world of Wyn to try and bring him back out.

Only after making it past all the rooms that hold terrifying things (think sharks, ghosts, etc.), and the maze that will lead her to Wyn, she finds herself trapped in this world as well, and the two of them have to work together to get out.

Of course you’ll find the typical romance (I mean, it’s expected, and does not disappoint.  At least there’s no love triangle, so there’s that), but it’s actually kind of cute…the kind of cute that makes you go “Aweeee” and keep reading to see what happens between them.

The characters aren’t exactly complex, but they’re pretty well developed in my opinion, and I couldn’t help but smile at some of the things that Nixy says and does.  It’s just cute.  The way she swears in other languages instead of English is kind of amusing.

It seems like this book is going to be the first book in a new series, so I’m really excited to see where the author goes with this.  The ending wasn’t exactly a cliffhanger, so I’m wondering if the same characters will be in the next one, and it will continue the story where it left off, or if it will be a completely different story than Nixy and Wyn.  I’m hoping it continues the story.  In either case, I’ll be reading this book at least a few more times!

Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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