Sunday, 26 April 2015

ARC Review: The Leveller (The Leveller #1) by Julia Durango Synopsis:
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 received the ARC ebook free as a review copy from the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review***

One sit read: check.
Heart pounding action: check.
Twists and turns: check.
No nonsense heroine: check.
Love/hate relationship with swoon worthy guy: check.
The Leveller ticked all the boxes!

To top it off, this book kept my interest. The whole virtual world idea isn’t something I’d seen explored before but it’s definitely something I want to see more of. There’s so much potential in a sequel, the only problem being, I’m going to have to wait god knows how long for it! Patience is not my strong suit, and the ending was so abrupt I had to double check there hadn’t been a mistake. It’s okay though… I can move on… eventually…

Personally I’m not much of a gamer (with the exception of Pokémon, because come on; it’s Pokémon!) though I loved how it worked with the story. It was easily to pick up on what was going on and what weapons were being used etc, and I never felt out of the loop. There might have been an undercurrent about the extent online gaming has taken over people’s lives, but it wasn’t trying to force a message on its readers and I simply enjoyed it for what it was to me: an interesting story.

The characters were great, and real easy to root for. Nixy was infinitely sarcastic and sometimes even cocky at her success with levelling; something that just made her more engaging. You could hear her voice so clearly, sucking you into the world, and first person narrative is brilliant to do just that. Wyn on the other hand was often polar opposite, though he did have a funny side and they had obvious chemistry even though we don’t see too much romance first hand. Hopefully there’ll be more in the sequel… Speaking of which, where is it?!

The Leveller is such a brilliant, fast-paced story that I couldn’t help but love, which I recommend not just to gamers, but readers and everyone alike.
Favourite Quotes:
“I wake up in the Landing. “Wyn Salvadorm you son of a rasshøl!” I yell into the mall.”

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

“Little Miss Bauer sat in her tower, eating a burger and fries. Along came a spider who sat down beside her and said “I prefer zee French flies.”

“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.”

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