Review: The Leveller by Julia Durango

The Leveller (The Leveller, #1)
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?

I have played a lot of MMORPGs in my life. I like to think I'm a bit of an aficionado there, so that's why I was so excited about The Leveller. Unfortunately, it just did not work for me, not at all. This MEEP game is the main point of the book, but I didn't feel like it as  where was the technology, the world building, the explanations? Why is Nixy this amazing character when she has all the cheat codes from her Mum? I just didn't get it, the book didn't click with me, and I was not engaged in any of the characters.

I thought Nixy was going to be this super badass character, she's meant to be the best at the game, but she was just too good  she easily gets through trials that other people have failed at even though she can't use her cheat codes there. The thing is, we don't get amazing explanations about how she achieves these feats so for me it was all just too convenient. I couldn't connect with her. I also couldn't connect to Wynn, none of the characters really promoted themselves to me.

I think it had absolutely amazing potential and some parts were great, like the bit about Wynn's dad and the risks to those playing on MEEP, I really enjoyed those bits. For the most part though, I didn't really enjoy The Leveller. I didn't really feel anything for it.

Overall Rating: D

Book released 23rd June by HarperCollins
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

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