Thursday, June 25, 2015

*Book Review* The Leveller by Julia Durango (YA Science Fiction)

Series: The Leveller # 1
Format: E-Book, 256 pages
Release Date: June 23, 2015
Publisher: HarperCollins
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction

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.

17-year old Phoenix "Nixy" Bauer is what's known as a Leveller. Her job? Dragging kids back from a virtual reality called MEEP who have overstayed their time limits, and bringing them back to their parents. Nixy's motto is "Nixy Bauer, home in an hour!" Nixy only works with kids 13-18. Never adults. She's really good at her job. So good in fact, that her classmates really hate her. Nixy is a character who uses everything in her arsenal to get the job done. 

She's smart, snarky, and a bad ass video game player who isn't afraid of sharks, or snakes, or man eating plants, or giant scorpions. She doesn't waste time with unnecessary enhancements that others hide behind, and has never failed a challenge of bringing anyone back from MEEP. Now comes the hardest and most challenging retrieval of her life. When game developer/billionaire Diego Salvador calls and requests Nixy's help finding his missing son Wyn who apparently left behind a suicide note, Nixy will be tested to the limits and back again, and will find her world turned upside down. 

I will fully admit that I was pleasantly surprised at how well I liked this story, the world building, the characters. The story is fast paced, and rather short story that keeps you entertained from the cover to the ending. I was once a Gamer who played everything from Doom, to Tomb Raider, to Resident Evil. The concept Durango has created, is something I could totally get into, and I believe it will appeal to other gamers as well.

I loved Nixy. I loved her flaky parents who are involved in creating the MEEP. I even liked Wyn after he and Nix find themselves fighting for their very lives in 1958 Havana, Cuba. I had no clue who the villains were until they were revealed. Needless to say, I will definitely be reading the sequel which currently has no title.  

**I received this book for free from (HarperCollins) via (Edelweiss) in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**


  1. Oh nice! I am curious about this read and after I was turned down for a review copy, I have found myself waiting for reviews to come in and so far from the 2-3 I've read things have been positive! It sounds like an exciting and fun read! It will definitely be one I look forward to reading! In a small teeny, tiny way, it reminds me of Doomed by Tracy Deebs, though instead of trying to overcome challenges in the real world that are like video game ones, in order to save said world, this heroine is actually in the video game! Great review!