The Leveller by Julia Durango (ARC)

the leveller

Title: The Leveller
Author: Julia Durango
Publication Date: June 23rd 2015 by HarperTeen
Rating: ★★★
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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’m not a big fan of video games or MMORPGs but I quite enjoyed reading this book. The Leveller takes place in a futuristic world, where one can enter a virtual reality game or simulation called MEEP. Nixy’s job is to drag kids out of the MEEP and bring them back home to their parents. Think of it as a futuristic babysitter, or something to that effect.

The concept of the story is quite interesting, not a first but it was enough to keep me reading.

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned about levelling teenage boys, it’s this: when in doubt, follow the hot girls.”

Nixy is feisty, strong and definitely a snarky character. I love her sass and wits. She’s very strong-willed and determined. She’s also got a strong and cool relationship with her father, which is a bonus for me, because I love healthy parent-child relationships. However, I think she kind of got out of character when she met Wyn. It’s like all of a sudden she felt mushy and sort of cheesy but oh well, I guess love does that to you.

Wyn is pretty interesting. I thought at first that he was going to be this spoiled brat son of a billionaire game developer but he wasn’t. His relationship with his grandmother is really adorable! From Nixy’s descriptions, he’s pretty hot but he didn’t make me all swoony and stuff. Haha! But anyway, I enjoyed his character because he’s really a decent guy.

“You’ve seen what your perfect self looks like in the MEEP, so when you look in the mirror now, all you see are your flaws.”

Although, I found this book really enjoyable, I thought that this was a really fast read and I have to admit I was a bit lost because some things were happening too fast. It’s so fast-paced that I kept turning the pages back just to remember what happened before. I also think the character development is lacking, plus there’s insta-love. Insta-love works for me sometimes but for this book, it really didn’t. I managed to overlook it because I was looking forward to how Nixy and Wyn will be able to go out of the virtual world, only to be greeted by a sort of predictable twist and an abrupt ending. I NEED MORE!!! Good thing, there’s going to be a second book.

Overall, despite some reservations I had for this book, I think it’s an amazing debut. The world-building was good. The writing is also great so I’m definitely be looking forward to the next one.


Written by

A 22 year old bibliophile from the outskirts of Manila, who loves reading books for passion.

4 comments / Add your comment below

    1. I hope you’ll really enjoy reading this! I’ll be looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

  1. Ooh, I’ve seen this one around Inah and it’s really piqued my interest, even more so now. I love any kind of gaming, virtual reality ever since reading Read Player One a few years ago. Wyn and Nixy sound like a pair of house pets. I’m hoping I can overlook the insta love in this case, because these type of books are too few and far between. Absolutely wonderful review Inah, absolutely loved it! <3
    Kelly recently posted…Cover Reveal: STRAY by Rachael CrawMy Profile

    1. I sure do hope you can overlook the insta-love! Thanks for dropping by, Kelly! <3

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