Friday, 22 May 2015

Review: The Leveller by Julia Durango

The Leveller (The Leveller, #1)The Leveller

Author: Julia Durango
Series: The Leveller
Pages: 256
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release date: 23 June 2015

Synopsis: (Goodreads)

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.

Review: 4 out of 5 stars

Phoenix ‘Nixy’ Bauer is a leveller, she is paid to drag kids out of a virtual reality known as the MEEP and return them to their parents. When the games developer loses his son in the MEEP and with no one able to retrieve him, he turns to Nixy for help.

Wyn Salvador as far as his suicide note says doesn’t want to be found but when Nixy makes her way through difficult obstacles to retrieve him she realises that he is being kept there against his will and they both have no way of returning home.

One of the first things you notice when you start The Leveller, is Julia Durango certainly knows her gaming – the lingo, the setup etc. was all done very well; despite not being a gamer myself I enjoyed this aspect. The MEEP was explained well, the concept sort of reminded me on Elusion by Claudia Gabel/Cheryl Clam; Gamers are able to remain suspended in a sleep like state in a virtual reality building worlds as an avatar – a relatively new technology.

Nixy was a fun, snarky and likeable character; she was confident and sassy, really well developed. Wyn was an interesting character but not as developed as Wyn, he didn’t have as much page time but what we saw of him I liked.

I enjoyed the detailed virtual world setting, the smidgeon of romance, and the many twists, turns and betrayals – I didn’t know who could be trusted and I was baffled by the reasoning of why Wyn had been held hostage, I enjoyed the overall concept and how it came together.

The writing is engaging and entertaining, the plot was fast paced with many thrilling moments and the world-building was done well, I flew through this book in no time and couldn’t wait to find out what was going on.

Overall, an action packed adventure filled with twists, turns and a betrayal I never saw coming. The romance isn’t at the forefront of the story and the storyline is highly entertaining, I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

Thank you to HarperTeen via Edelweiss for the opportunity to read and review The Leveller.

Julia DurangoAbout the author

Julia writes books for kids of all ages in a small town by the Illinois River. Cha-Cha Chimps, her picture book for youngest readers, is a 2014 ILLINOIS READS title. Upcoming books include The Second Guard fantasy series (Disney Hyperion 2015) and her debut YA novel, The Leveller (HarperTeen 2015).


  1. The cover of this novel is so gorgeous though, unfortunately I couldn't love it as much as you did. Atleast one of us enjoyed it though :) I agree about the plot, it was fast paced and intriguing. Wonderful review <3 Benish | Feminist Reflections

    1. Oh, it's a shame you didn't love this one as much.

      Thanks Benish :-)

  2. I'm glad to see that you enjoyed this one! I was kind of on the fence about whether or not I wanted to read it, but I think I'll give it a try. Great review!

    1. Thanks Christy! I hope you enjoy reading this one.

  3. Sounds good. It's great though when it shows that the writer really knows their stuff on a subject, such as the gaming in this book.
    Great review.

    1. Very true Sharon! you can always tell when a book has been well researched, this one was done very well.

      Thank you :-)


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