The Leveller (The Leveller #1) by Julia Durango
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.
Overall, I wasn’t a fan of this book. I ended up just skimming through most of the second half. I found everything to be a bit weak.
The world building is weak and the time setting is ambiguous. Everything seems like current day, except for this crazy virtual reality game. So, it’s unclear how far in the future it is since, seemingly, nothing else has advanced. Which doesn’t make much sense.
While the story sounded interesting, it wasn’t well executed at all. The synopsis makes it sound action-packed, which it is at times, but not much. And the action scenes didn’t grab me and have me fearing for the character at all. I mean, it’s a virtual world. It’s not like her real life was ever in danger. So, the dangerous aspects didn’t hold much meaning to me. The story as a whole bored me. I just couldn’t get into it. The writing quality wasn’t all that great either.
I didn’t get the romance and the characters were under developed. However, Nixy is a good main character. She is tough and conquers challenges throughout the book. I still wasn’t able to fully hop on board with her character or her story, but that doesn’t mean you won’t!
All in all, I was very disappointed with this book.
Best Aspect: Premise
Worst Aspect: Story