Monday, 8 June 2015

Review: The Leveller by Julia Durango

Title: The Leveller (The Leveller #1)
Author: Julia Durango

Release date: June 23rd 2015
Publisher: HarperCollins
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Format: eARC
Pages: 174

Source: 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.

Though it's a short read, The Leveller definitely got my heart pumping faster and left me turning the last page hoping there would be more. It gets straight into the plot, no beating around the bush or anything - I loved that. The plot captured and held my attention throughout, which is really saying something. So yeah, this was great - I just wish it were longer, though!

The MEEP is a virtual reality world into which anyone can escape. Only their minds, of course; their bodies remain in a comatose state in the real world. Nixy Bauer uses the fact that teenagers spend too much time in the MEEP. She is a Leveller, which means she goes into the virtual world the kids escape to, and brings them back within the hour. And she gets paid a good amount by their parents, so it's a pretty great job. But when the developer of MEEP himself asks Nixy to do a Levelling job for him, she knows it's huge. Why? Because it's his son, Wyn, who's escaped into the MEEP leaving behind a suicide note. Can Nixy find and bring Wyn back before it's too late for both of them?

I love the concept of virtual realities, and the MEEP is one of my favourites so far. I like that we get more detail about how it works than I've seen in other novels with similar concepts. It also somehow seems more realistic to me. Though most of the book takes place in a virtual reality, everything felt incredibly real, like Nixy and Wyn were actually going through all those obstacles and danger.

I adored Nixy. She's my favourite kind of YA heroine - smart, tough, sarcastic, and and all-round badass. Nixy prides herself on her abilities as a Leveller, and finding Wyn is her greatest challenge yet. But how was she to know Wyn would also bring out feelings in her that she'd never experienced before? Nixy doesn't shy away from anything, though, not even her feelings. It was adorable seeing her and Wyn get closer together in the MEEP!

Since this book is quite short, we don't get to delve deep into the characters, other than Nixy of course. I did like Wyn after I got to know him a little more, but it didn't seem like enough. Wyn is cute and smart and a great guy - I just wanted to see more of his character and his personality, if you get what I mean. Other than Nixy and Wyn, we barely see any characters, so it's not too much to ask for that the male protagonist be more 3D.

Overall, The Leveller is a good sci-fi read for anyone - regardless of whether you prefer other genres. It's short enough to capture your attention but long enough that you get sucked into this world. I'm hoping to see more from Julia Durango in the future!

*Thank you to HarperCollins for providing me with an eARC for review*

Rating: 3.5/5

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad to see that you found this one alright. I've been looking forward to reading it for a while now so hopefully I get to read it soon! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian

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