Read The Leveller by Julia Durango Online


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. KidsNixy 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?...

Title : The Leveller
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780062314000
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 256 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Leveller Reviews

  • Khanh (the meanie)
    2019-04-28 03:57

    Speaking as a gamer (World of Warcraft, Starcraft, Diablo...the list goes on and on) this book about a virtual reality game was utterly unconvincing. It tries too hard to be cool, and doesn't succeed in the least. To be fair, it's pretty hard to build the world of a game that feels realistic, but the reality remains that the book didn't do a good job. The quasi-futuristic world, the technology, the game itself...felt childish and undeveloped. There was very little technology at all, actually, which is concerning, given that this book revolves around it. It didn't help that the virtual game in this book is called MEEP.I couldn't stop laughing, honestly. My sister and I act stupid. We sometimes just communicate in MEEPs. Meep. MEEP. Meep? MEEP! HOW CAN I TAKE A BOOK SERIOUSLY WHEN THE PREMISE REVOLVES AROUND A WORLD CALLED MEEP?!This book's setting is much like our current world...only everyone is obsessed with a virtual game coloquially referred to as MEEP. It's a game that plunges the player into a virtual reality world while your body lies comatose in the real world, through the use of an implant in your ears. There's no complicated coding, not much explanation of the technology. Our main character Nixy is a Leveller. In gaming, levelling is the act of gaining another level, becoming slightly more powerful...not so in this book. Nixy's role as a leveller is to go into the game and yank a player out of the virtual reality world when they become too obsessed with it.No technology, no skills involved. Nixy just has to shout some cheats she got from her parents (who work as programmers in the game) and boom. Easy money. Easy job. I'm not sure why more people haven't done this, and I'm not sure why I'm supposed to respect her when it seems like it's so fucking simple.In fact, my mom even writes a lot of the cheats, the little bits of dialogue that cue certain responses. Like “I want to see the real you,” the one I just used on Coop; spoken clearly, those words will immediately turn off primary avatar enhancements. Usually that’s all I need to say to ruin a game for someone and force him back home.There are some serious holes in the technology, for instance, there's no multi-player option.Since the MEEP only offers a single-player option, there’s no way for us to play together, like we did in the nonvirtual game platforms. They say a multiplayer MEEP is in the works, but due to various liability issues with the neuroscience involved, it’ll be another year or two before its release.Yet Nixy is able to go into the game while another player is there in order to remove him or her from this world. That sounds like multiplayer to me. It's a very sloppily built world.The inventory system, the equipments, etc., sounds so silly when it's actually described.“Inventory!” I command into the MEEPosphere, and my list of available items appears like a sidebar inside my head. I quickly trade my laser guns and rappelling equipment for a machete and a full supply of grenades.To be fair, the main character isn't the most annoying one, she's pretty tolerable for an YA heroine, and the book is very fast-paced. The plot is pretty uncompelling, the characters uncomplicated and one-dimensional, and the plot almost nonexistent.Final words:

  • Peregrine
    2019-05-01 10:04

    "MEEP"?i see more reviewers have latched on to the Beaker thing. i couldn't finish this book because of "MEEP" and "Meeple" and "Meep-O Men" and all the other things. i kept laughing.anyway it was bad. bland characters, bland world, bland story. (also MEEP). at least it didn't take itself too seriously.MEEP MEEP MEEP MEEP MEEP

  • Sarah
    2019-04-26 04:05

    (Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)“Now begins the great adventure. Though I leave behind a body, my soul will live forever in the MEEP.”This was a really good YA sci-fi story about a boy stuck in a virtual world, and the girl sent in to save him.“I blow a big breath out of my cheeks.If there’s something worse than a shark tank, I’m not sure I want to know.”I liked Nixy, she was seriously kick ass, and she really knew how to take down bad guys efficiently! It was really sweet the way she came to care about Wyn, and she was definitely dedicated to her job!“I quickly trade my laser guns and rappelling equipment for a machete and a full supply of grenades. I know what’s coming next.”The storyline in this book was really good, and I loved the twists and turns. There were loads of scary monsters and new traps for poor Nixy, and I loved how unexpected and surprising they were!“Ouch is all I have time to think before my skull cracks like an egg.”There was a bit of romance, and it was actually pretty cute. Nix and Wyn made a really cute couple.“But before I close my eyes, I lean toward him. At the exact same moment, he moves closer to me. And I’m not certain how this is happening or why, but all of a sudden I am kissing Wyn Salvador.”The ending was good, and I didn’t guess who the culprit was. I didn’t really like who it turned out to be, because it didn’t make all that much sense, but I didn’t guess it at least.Overall; good Sc-fi, vitual-reality romp,7 out of 10“There was nothing there. Less than nothing. Only a pulsing, roiling cavernous void. Yet it seemed to want to reach out. It seemed… alive.I have never seen anything like it before. I didn’t even believe it existed.I glance at Wyn, but he doesn’t need to say anything. Doesn’t bother to explain. We both know exactly what I was staring into.The Black.”

  • Danielle (Love at First Page)
    2019-05-17 01:49

    3-3.5 starsThe Leveller is the second book in as many months (at the time of writing this review) that I've been reminded of Ready Player One, so I think fans of Ernest Cline will be very happy to know that virtual reality is becoming a hot topic in YA. With The Leveller there's not so much a dystopian feel, and I'm not sure if it's meant to be a standalone or a series because the consequences of the "larger picture" don't come into play until the very end. As it is, this is more of an action-oriented and fast-paced book, told almost entirely inside a virtual reality world. It's an engaging story, with mazes and creatures straight out of a horror flick, and I never felt lost in the gamer jargon. It's a world I slipped surprisingly into. The biggest drawbacks are that I'm not sure how memorable it will remain, and the action definitely takes precedence over character development. Nixy Bauer is what's known as a Leveller. Parents hire her to drag their kids out of virtual reality and bring them back into the real world. Virtual reality is a relatively new invention, so the "rule" is that no one is to spend more than four hours in a 24-hour period inside of it. But, duh, these are teenagers we're talking about, so that's not going to fly. When the game's billionaire developer fears that his son is trying to commit suicide by way of the MEEP, he hires Nixy to bring him back. What she discovers, however, is that Wyn may not be hiding at all.Julia Durango does a wonderful job with her virtual reality setting. I'm not a gamer by any means, but I could picture everything clearly, and I actually enjoyed the video-game-speak. Nixy is able to go from wearing a wench costume to commando clothes in less than 2 seconds flat. Sweet. Now, before you get crazy and think I'd play in virtual reality myself, think again. At least, not the zombie-fighting, shark-killing, evil-witch-destroying games Nixy puts herself through. I'll be the first to admit that I'm a major wimp, so even though I know it wouldn't be "real", I don't think I could do even half of what she accomplishes. *shudders*While the book is mostly action and worldbuilding, the characters are fun, too. Nixy is a pretty confident girl - though in the beginning she's a little too judgmental - and knows how to kick some ass. The book is so short, so what character arc she does have is somewhat superficial, but I liked being in her head. Her love interest, Wyn, the boy who's trapped inside the game, is a total sweetheart. I wish we could have gotten to know him better. I also really appreciate that Nixy has awesome parents who love her and love each other; we don't see that enough in YA!The Leveller definitely works as a standalone, but there are also doors left open to turn this into a series with a much broader purpose. As long as there's not a love triangle I am totally willing to spend more time in virtual reality with Nixy and Wyn. :)***Special note: I received an ARC at ALA, but this did not influence my review in any way.This review can also be found at Love at First Page.

  • Molly
    2019-05-14 08:17

    This book was as bland and white as a single slice of white bread, and had about the same amount of depth.^our main characterJust a selection of questionable happenings: middle class white girl protagonist thinks she lives in "the ghetto" because her parents are underpaid programmers, the boy she falls in insta-love with has "coffe-with-cream" coloured skin, the Asian friend is a mathematical, chess playing hacker (duh, what else could he be?) (nicknamed Chang, nonetheless) and (view spoiler)[actually EVIL! Never heard that particular narrative before... (hide spoiler)] and she says "SO SWANK". Take it from an actual real life teenager, Ms. Durango, if fetch ìsn't happening, swank is DEFINITELY not happening. Just saying.Oh and our heroine deliberately mispronounces Núñez Galvez as `Noonie Galvin`, to the annoyance (I hope) of her Hispanic love interest and this reader.Have I mentioned how WHITE this book is?["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Anna (Enchanted by YA)
    2019-05-02 10:01

    ***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.Posted on:

  • Rayne
    2019-04-28 05:05

    2.5 starsThe Leveller is a very quick and admittedly entertaining novel, that delivers exactly what it promises, and I can't exactly fault it for it. There's really not much to it: virtual reality, gaming references, adolescent humor and quick romance. It is mostly depthless, unconcerned with mostly everything besides delivering thrills and fun, and a very quick read, and that's all there is to it. People looking for a fast-paced, uncomplicated and inventive (within YA standards) read will definitely like this one. I just need to get one thing out of the way if I'm going to try to write a halfway decent and serious review for this novel. The virtual reality game in this novel is called MEEP. MEEP. As in:And that's pretty much all I could think of while I was reading this novel. Just Beaker doing his horrified face at the screen while yelling MEEP. And moving on.Think Sword Art Online: Aincrad, but removed several layers of character depth and plot seriousness, with lots of shallow, teenage romance, conspiracy theories not even the story will commit to, and there you have The Leveller. The Leveller has it charm, and it certainly hooked me in spite of myself, but it's just too... immature. Everything about it borders on middle grade, from the dialogues and character interactions, to the narrative and the humor. Sure, it's engaging to some point, but I never actually felt myself invested in this plot or these characters, and it never felt like I was enjoying it as much as I was just tolerating the novel until it was done. Nixy, for her part, was a surprisingly likable heroine, if mostly because of how silly and uncomplicated she was, which was an unexpectedly well-received change in terms of YA heroines. She is highly-motivated, brave if sometimes reckless and stupid, she doesn't give up and is mostly admirably independent. For the first half of the novel she is nice to read about, until the inevitable insta-love comes and makes her a bumbling idiot that dramatically overthinks everything and withholds important things because, ohmigod, the guy is so hot, and, ohmigod, I am totes falling for him within hours of meeting him. She remains a quirky, somewhat engaging and slightly capable all throughout the novel, but her voice was too forced sometimes. Actually, this whole novel felt like it was trying just the tiniest bit too hard to be everything: a "cool chick" gamer type, a truly teen-tastic geek festival of gaming references and cool game technology, and, overall, even though I know the author knew her stuff about the gaming world, I never quite shook the feeling that it was a middle-aged mom trying to connect with her indifferent pre-teen kids. Surprising as it might be, this game is actually not as gamey as I thought it would be. Sure, the first half features a lot of gaming reference and actual virtual reality gaming, but the second half of the novel is basically an even more boring version of the Sims. For about 40% of the novel, Nixy and Wyn just go around his fictional version of Cuba, randomly fighting the worst henchmen in the history of bad guys, falling in love and unraveling the most ridiculous conspiracy and evil plan ever. Truth be told, there was a certain cuteness to Nixy and Wyn, but Nixy's reluctance was dragged out solely for the sake of prolonging the inevitable, and Wyn's perfection is of the typical sort that's been overdone to the point of exhaustion in YA. It was nice to have a POC character as a love interest, but the truth is that Wyn was generic in his perfection, though he did have a maturity to his characterization that Nixy lacked throughout the novel. There's barely a plot in this novel, basically just a small thread the characters sometimes decide to hold on to when it's convenient. I am actually surprised by how much time the characters wasted doing nothing in such a small amount of pages. They kept saying they were trying to find a way out, that they were actually doing something, but for the latter half of the novel, they were just going through the motions. It bothered me a bit that, for a novel that didn't take itself too seriously at the beginning, it tried to do a 180 towards the end and suddenly become serious, with an actual conspiracy, legions of henchmen, bad guys willing to kill and very anti-climactic betrayals. It just didn't fit with the overall feel of the novel, and it ultimately fell flat. The conspiracy and evil plan also felt tagged on to the story, a sort of forced fit there to give the story a purpose and an end, but never quite the actual point of the story. I never felt any urgency, any danger or desperation from the characters or the plot, just a vague sense that something needed to be done, but that was it, and then during the last half, the novel actually expected me to take this seriously. Spoiler alert: I didn't. The final confrontation, in particular, was anti-climactic and forced, depending on an unlikely change of heart that sullied that admittedly engaging and entertaining action sequence that led up to it. And I know I'm nitpicking with this one and you can skip right over this paragraph if you don't care about my Puertorrican sensibilities being hurt, but it kind of bothered me that the author made a big show of introducing Lola Rodríguez de Tío as this very important revolutionary in Cuba and not mention that she was actually from Puerto Rico and one of the most important literary and revolutionary figures in her own country, as well.Anyway, in the end, The Leveller pretty much delivers the bare minimum in terms of quality storytelling and it's pretty satisfied with it because that's exactly what it set out to do. It's an engaging and quick read that delivers thrills and fun without delving deep into anything. It's simple, uncomplicated and shallow, but it is entertaining. It won't actually leave much of an impact behind, but I personally didn't regret reading it, in spite of what my rating might say. It was too immature, simple and shallow for me, but even I have to admit that, for a fairly mediocre book, it is a somewhat satisfying read. Gamers will likely enjoy the multiple gaming references, the virtual reality set up and the commendable effort the author made to make this work, and YA fans alike will enjoy the originality of the story within the genre.

  • Emily (Falling for YA)
    2019-05-08 09:53

    The Leveller takes place in the not so distant future where everyone can enter a virtual reality world called the MEEP. The MEEP allows you to build whatever kind of world you want. It comes as no surprise that people start getting addicted to these made up worlds. It is Nixy’s, off the books, job to enter the MEEP and drag out kids who have been gaming a little too long. When the MEEP creator’s son goes missing he hires Nixy to get Wyn back. The problem is Wyn isn’t just gaming, someone has trapped him in the MEEP and Nixy and Wyn must ban together to escape. I really loved the setting of this novel. It begins in the real world but quickly Nixy is drawn in to Wyn’s virtual reality world. Wyn has created the 1950’s Cuba his grandmother lways told him about, complete with Ernest Hemingway. The constantly shifting MEEP setting was my favorite part of this novel. Durango really shined with her world building skills. The romance in this novel left something to be desired. It felt too formulaic and expected. There was also a lot of slang use that it made it feel like the characters were making jokes that I wasn’t in on. It really detracted from the reading.Overall, despite my few issues with the novel The Leveller was a quick, fast paced, read with a fun premise. I liked the ever shifting setting and the MEEP. I think there is a lot of promise in this new series!

  • Lauren ✨ (YABookers)
    2019-05-15 01:52

    I received a free copy via Edelweiss for review purposes.The Leveller was a read that actually rather shocked me because it's strangely good. For fans of video games and RPGs, this young adult novel is a must-read. It's exciting, light-hearted, witty and is every gamers dream.Nixy is what's called a Leveller. She retrieves stubborn teenagers from the MEEP (a virtual world) where they're living their own little fantasy. It's easy money. But things get a little tougher when the developer of the MEEP hires Nixy to get his son Wyn out of the MEEP. Wyn clearly doesn't want to be found -- or is he being kept hostage?The plot was fairly engaging and moved at a quick pace, which kept it suspenseful, exciting and easy to read. It was not anything mind-blowing (the book isn't either), but it is a very quick, enjoyable book. However, as a result of only 250 pages, the ending was rather rushed and seemed rather anti-climatic. After a build up to the big reveal, it seemed to be over rather quickly with very little closure. I'm hopeful that the sequel with make-up for this short fall.The characters were a very enjoyable part of The Leveller and I found Nixy to be a likeable character. She was intelligent, witty, courageous and had a bit of rebellious streak that contrasted nicely with Wyn's straight-laced attitude. It was perhaps a bit too insta-love for my liking, but their character interaction and chemistry made up for it.I thought the world-building was fabulous. The extravagant world of the MEEP, to the computer simulated Havana, Cuba, was fantastic and definitely a highlight of the novel. With cinematic, easy to follow storytelling, Durango has done an excellent job for her debut by creating an engaging, fun and exciting book.Overall, a book I would highly recommend to RPG fans and anyone who is looking for light-hearted, fun read.

  • Farrah
    2019-05-12 02:18

    With thrills, twists, and a bit of romance, The Leveller was a fantastic YA read that I really enjoyed. From the expansive setting to the betrayals and secrets agendas, this book was excellent and I really loved it.The setting was interesting, with the characters being in a virtual world most of the time. I liked how it was portrayed, though I would have liked to have seen the endless possibilities of a virtual world shown in the setting. But, regardless, I thought the setting was well done.Nixy was awesome. She was tough, clever, and definitely not one to be cowed by some virtual monsters. Or even real ones, for that matter. She definitely proved herself as a badass and I look forward to seeing more of that in book 2.Wyn was great as well. Though I didn't get to know him as much as we did Nixy, what I did see of him was adorable. He was as clever as Nixy, just as determined, and super sweet to boot. I thought he was wonderful.The romance was light but sweet. Though Nixy and Wyn had other things on their minds, their mutual crushes were never far from their thoughts either. I definitely hope things work out for them.The plot moved quickly and kept me hooked all the way through. There were plenty of thrills that kept me on the edge of my seat, along with a few twists and some unexpected betrayals. I really liked the story and the ending, though abrupt, has me curious about what will happen in the next book.The Leveller was an excellent YA read. It had action, romance, and a few surprises in store. I really enjoyed all of it. YA lovers, this is a book worth the read.*I received a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

  • Nashalee
    2019-04-23 09:18

    2 out of 5 stars[ Just to let everyone know that I rate books by the way Goodreads sets the stars. ]2 stars means that it was okay!I DID like the book but there were some things that were missing and that were pretty bland. The plot was interesting to read on the back of the cover but once I got to read the book, the plot disappeared into the BLACK and turned into your typical contemporary novel with a HINT of sci-fi. No one is THAT good at a game.The Characters:Our protagonists are a mary-sue & gary-sue! They first hate each other then after a minute of meeting, they are already complementing their appearances and the only characters I actually found interesting and "cool" were at the beginning and end of the novel. I couldn't relate to either of them...I actually felt annoyed every time they would get all lovey dovey.World Building:The world was way too easy for the author to make because everything was mostly described as BLANK ROOM. Once she actually did make a world I felt like I was still in that blank canvas. There is no reset button ***Spoiler***The only way to escape the game they are trapped in IS TO USE THE RESET BUTTON

  • Shelley
    2019-04-20 05:53

    **I received this book for free from (HarperCollins) via (Edelweiss) in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.***Genre* Young Adult, Science Fiction*Rating* 4.0*My Thoughts*17-year old Phoenix "Nixy" Bauer is what's known as a Leveller. Her job? Dragging kids back from a virtual reality called MEEP who have overstayed their time limits, and bringing them back to their parents. Nixy's motto is "Nixy Bauer, home in an hour!" Nixy only works with kids 13-18. Never adults. She's really good at her job. So good in fact, that her classmates really hate her. Nixy is a character who uses everything in her arsenal to get the job done. *Full Review Posted @ Gizmos Reviews 06/25/2015*Recvd via Edelweiss 12/23/2014* Expected publication: June 23rd 2015 by HarperCollins

  • Brittany (Brittany's Book Rambles)
    2019-05-11 02:09

    4.5/5 starsWhat a fun read! In fact, I laughed out loud on more than one occasion while reading. Nixy and I would be best buds. She has a lot of snark and I feel like she's my spirit animal. The main problem I would say with this book is that I don't quite understand the motive of the bad guy, but other than that I enjoyed it. If you're in-between books, I would suggest this one because it's funny, light, and short.Read my full review HERE.

  • Nemo (The Moonlight Library)
    2019-05-15 02:18

    This review was originally posted on The Moonlight LibrarySUMMARYThe world is obsessed with a virtual simulation called MeaParadisus, or MEEP. It’s strictly a solo game where people can live out their fantasies. Nixy can (illegally) enter other people’s games courtesy of her beta code (courtesy of her parents, who both work with the MEEP) and extract them if they’re illegally staying too long. When the creator of the MEEP’s son goes missing and is presumed suicidal, Nixy is pulled in to level him. But she’s not the only person in Wyn’s MEEP, and the bad guys don’t want either of them to escape.WORLDBUILDINGI loved the worldbuilding in The Leveller. I could clearly imagine the virtual worlds and it felt like a kind of paradise. My only issue is the word ‘leveller’: instead of using a word like ‘extractor’, Durango chose to use a word with strictly different connotations in the gaming world. Levelling is where you game to specifically increase your character’s level. If you paid someone to be a leveller, you’d be paying them to raise the level of your gaming character. In this world, it means someone who illegally enters someone’s private game world to confront them and shame them into leaving the MEEP if they’ve (illegally) spent longer then 4 hours there (as you can’t force someone to leave if they don’t want to). Nixy calling herself an extractor or something similar would be a better word, especially considering this whole book revolves around gaming.CHARACTERS + RELATIONSHIPSNixy was a really interesting character. She was totally confident of everything she did, a total badass babe. I think most of that confidence came from the fact that the MEEP can’t actually hurt you, and because of her parents’ privileged positions as a game developer and script writer she had access to betas before anyone else, which is what allowed her to become a leveller in the first place. On the flip side, her utter confidence and capability as a badass babe made me feel like she was never really put in much danger and I never really feared for her.She had a completely plutonic relationship with her two male best friends but instantly felt a pull of attraction for Wyn, her new target. Honestly their romance felt a little lacklustre to me. I liked that Nixy was attracted to Wyn, but I didn’t feel the same from him, and I didn’t totally buy the romance aspect – especially the contrived memory lapse that caused Nixy to forget their first kiss, and Wyn’s reluctance to remind her.Nixy’s parents were another matter. She didn’t have much respect for her mother (being the ‘boring writer’ rather than the ‘artistic developer’ her dad was), and she would switch between calling them by their first name or ‘Mom and Dad’. She was much closer to her dad, who spoiled her by giving her all sorts of early access, while the poor hard-done-by mother coddled both of them and didn’t really have as much respect.WHAT WORKED/DIDN’T WORKThe biggest issue I have with The Leveller is a worldbuilding rule Durango made and then consistently broke. There’s no multi-player in the MEEP, not remote or even LAN. Yet because Nixy has a beta code, she’s able to complete her illegal levelling. Her friends Moose and Chang are both hackers who can also enter other peoples’ games, yet when the three of them decide to have a competition, they can’t all enter one game and have to basically do solo missions and compare stats and data. What’s the point of making this ‘no multiplayer’ if the whole plot revolves around the fact that hackers have tampered with someone’s world and enter it as easily yet illegally as Nixy enters?Also, I was beginning to think that maybe the whole ‘entering someone else’s MEEP’ was because Nixy was in close proximity, like a LAN rather than remote, but the bad guys don’t need to be near their clients like Nixy seems to have to be.I feel like the book left some elements open, perhaps in the hope that it would develop into a series. I certainly feel that it needs a sequel – not only to wrap up what happens to some characters whose fates were left unknown, but also to know what happened next with the MEEP – is it really a force for good or evil?I often have something here to say about the relevance of the title of the book, but I’ve already talked about the use of the word ‘leveller’ in a book about a video game/simulation, but I want to address the tag used on the cover: “There is no reset button.” Obviously it was tagged by someone who’s not read the book because the whole point of Nixy going in to rescue Wyn is that there IS a reset button… SIGH.OVERALLI really enjoyed reading The Leveller despite the issues I had with it. I loved being in the MEEP with Nixy and experiencing all those exotic locations and fantasies, and the plot moved along quickly enough that I never grew bored. I wouldn’t mind reading the sequel.Oh, and for those who care, Nixy is a white girl and her love interest is a Hispanic boy, so bonus points for diversity?I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

  • Jazmen This Girl Reads A lot
    2019-05-09 10:05

    A stunning debut with a spunky and feisty heroine that made me laugh, and root for her. Nixy Bauer is a Leveller. Her job--is to drag kids out of virtual reality and back into the real world. The parents pay her and the kids hate her. Everything is moving along swell, until the game's creator calls her on a mission that could possibly put her in danger. The kind of danger that is not as easy as resetting the game.The creator's son is in the game, and he doesn't want to be found--leaving behind a suicide note. At least that's what they thought, until Nixy finds out he isn't hiding, but is in fact trapped. He's being held against his will, and now the game, has gotten all too real.Nixy, was fantastic character. She was sassy, and spunky, and a video game bad a**. She never held back, and she certainly didn't let herself be taken advantage of, no matter the situation. She never faltered and she was actually pretty funny, and made me chuckle quite a few times. I loved the relationship she had with her parents. They were playful, and close, but yet respectable. I really liked that. Now, Wyn Salvador. The name befitting someone with chocolatey brown eyes and hair that made me swoon, just by reading about it. There wasn't a large focus on romance, but I can't help but feel by reading the description he must be a dreamboat.Wyn, was swoon worthy without even trying, and he wasn't. He was just being himself, and I really liked him. He wasn't cliche, or outright rude. He was just a regular guy, in a good way-well that is aside from being a billionaire's son.The other characters play a central piece to the story but I won't talk much about them for fear of giving something away. But, I will say, the author used these characters well. Well played, Julia. Well played.Needless to say I really enjoyed this read. The virtual reality, the action, the humor, and the intrigue kept me reading for pages on end. It's one of those books that you just want to keep on reading because you just have to know what's happening. It was like being in a real live video game but this video game, bleeds into real life.It was exciting, the characters were vivid, and relatable. The romance was tame but it was present, and I really can't wait to see where the characters go next. I want to say more but I don't think I'd be able to word it in a way, that would leave all the mystery and intrigue--without spoiling anything. But, I highly recommend this read. It's fun, it's humorous, it's sassy and action packed. There's intrigue, memory loss, and great first kisses. I loved every minute and I can't wait for book two!

  • Anastasia
    2019-04-29 07:10

    Я - не поклонник компьютерных игр. Но аннотация к этой книге меня заинтересовала. Герои, которые застряли в виртуальном мире, - именно этот момент меня привлекал всегда и в фильмах, и в книгах. Так что, побежала ее читать, как только появилась возможность.После прочтения первой главы, сразу поняла, что эта книга напоминает мне прочитанный в прошлом году романчик The Summer I Became A Nerd. Только там был именно роман с героями, крайне увлеченными комиксами, а тут нечто вроде дистопии с огромным увлечением героями компьютерной игрой. И благодаря этому мне, человеку играми не интересующимися, читать становится очень увлекательно. Героиня просто-таки заражает своим увлечением и страстью к играм. А еще своим юмором, бесшабашностью и прочими подобными чертами, выгодно отличающими ее от полчища наивненьких героинь, которые к середине книги резко приобретают множество мэрисьюшных черт.Вообще, книга довольно-таки короткая, всего 200 с небольшим страниц, поэтому многое происходит очень быстро (например, симпатия главных героев). Но в то же время такие книги очень легко читаются, хотя в этом немалая заслуга автора в плане манеры написания: незагружено и юморно. По сути, много о книге я сказать не могу. Это такой себе вполне стабильный середнячок. Легкая, забавная, достаточно увлекательная история среднестатистических героев, которые вроде и ничего, но поколотить их иногда хочется, да и ничем особенным они не отличаются. Так что, если хотите прочитать что-нибудь интересное, но совсем не загружающее голову, и любите компьютерные игры, но эта книга именно для вас.

  • Miranda
    2019-05-01 06:57

    First off, Yeessss a nerdy gamer type book.Ok now that I've geeked out for s second let's get down to the review.This to me was the more kiddish/YA version of Ready Player One, it's s virtual reality world were our main character gets paid to get people out of the game. She gets a job from the guy who basically invented it to level his son out. Now if your like me I thought leveling meant "hey I'm gonna go quest and gear up" but in this one it actually stands for getting someone out of the game, so that was a bit confusing for me to comprehend, or more like my geeky brain just didn't want to accept the new term for leveling. But meh it's just a word right? The world build was super fun, I mean who wouldn't want to create their own world and be whatever they wanted inside a game. I love creating new avatars in games, generally if it's possible I tend to have it looking almost exactly like myself but whatever. So I connect pretty well with our lead since she like me doesn't do fakery. The storyline was quick, actiony, humorous (mildly childish humor though) and really cool to read. It ends with quite a few loose ends but enough of a ending where your not totally just sitting on our couch going wtf was that. So I'll definitely check into the sequel to so the next adventure. Till then "For the Wyn!" Solid 3.75-4 stars. Reread able. And recommendable if your looking for a gamer style book.

  • €l!na
    2019-04-29 06:07

    Think Sword Art Online but in USA, focusing on Asuna instead of Kirito and definitelly way less cooler. Overall, it's a fun reading to pass your time.

  • AH
    2019-04-21 10:18

    This was a quick read. Lots of fun, action, and perfect for those who love their video games. Thank you to Edelweiss and HarperTeen for a review copy of this book.

  • Dark Faerie Tales
    2019-05-12 07:17

    Review courtesy of Dark Faerie TalesQuick & Dirty: Sims meets reality: will this be our future?Opening Sentence: Typical coop, I think, closing my eyes and sinking into the MEEP.The Review:The concept behind this book was fascinating. To think that technology could become so advanced that we could create our own tech-fantasy world with animated avatars of ourselves is mind blowing. The weirdest thing is that I actually believe that maybe one day something like this could be created. Look how far technology has come in the last 10 years, maybe in another 10 this story will become a reality?Nixy’s character was rather entertaining, her kick-ass attitude and attempt to be unimpressed by Wyn whilst secretly loving the attention had me in fits. I also loved her role because Nixy, a teenage girl, is sent into the MEEP world to save Diego’s son when the smartest, strongest men failed. Although that was a tad bit unrealistic, it sends out a strong message that courage can come in all shapes and sizes.She has to overcome many obstacles to reach Wyn, including beating sharks and scorpions, battling the darkness and creepy banshee-like women but in the end she gets there. During the process, Wyn is ‘killed’ and is forced to try again and again. Frankly, I don’t think I would have been able to persevere through those kind of situations. If that wasn’t enough, once she gets to Wyn there’s no way back! To be trapped in an alternate universe, knowing that your physical body is in a coma would petrify me.My main criticism to this book was that it started dragging towards the end. There were a lot of action scenes until Nixy meets Wyn but after a while their stay in the MEEP began to bore me, especially when they couldn’t find a way back, it was almost as if they’d settled to life in the MEEP and gave up on going home, which was absurd. After going through so much to get to him, Nixy gives up so easily? It was out of character and didn’t sit right with me because of what we learn about Nixy’s character.Wyn takes me by the arm and stops me in my tracks. We’ve reached a busy intersection and as we wait for the lights to change, he turns and smiles at me. I’m still mad at him, but it’s the first time I’ve seen him smile – really smile – and I can’t help it. My stomach does a little flip-flop. Wyn Salvador is…well, he’s not hard on the eyes. Damn it.The Leveller was an action packed read, and I would recommend it to sci-fi lovers looking for something a little different and although it starts off really well, the second half was a leeeetle boring.Notable Scene:And in that moment, the real world seems farther away than ever.For a moment, I wonder if I can ever return. If I should ever return.I walk away from the swings.And walk away from that thought for another day.FTC Advisory: Harper Collins provided me with a copy of The Leveller. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

  • Tee loves Kyle Jacobson
    2019-05-16 02:13

    First off let me tell you something this book is the shiz ni eeee or sugar honey ice tea because I do not play video games but my son and husband are gamers and they loved the story. I started reading out loud to my son and then my husband started listening and they loved it. They kept asking me how I could get the second book and I told them to slow down let the first book come out first then we talk about book two.A video programmer has created this new game that is all the rave with the kids called MEEP. It is a virtual world where the kids can do whatever they want and have no responsibilities. The only draw back to the game is that in reality the kids stay asleep the entire time they are playing. So the parents hire Nixy a self made leveller who goes in the game and gets the kids back to reality home to their parents where they belong. Then she gets the biggest case she has ever had and that is the game developer's son is in the game and no one can find him. So the father hires Nixy and she soon learns that this game is playing for keeps and will not let go of Wyn without a fight. And that is what Wyn and Nixy do. They fight together to get out but everything is not what it seems and they are in for a true battle to get out of the game and back home.

  • Maggi
    2019-05-15 09:56

    Amazing story, hilarious protagonist.Review to come in June, I think.

  • Neil (or bleed)
    2019-04-29 05:54

    4.5Review to come.

  • Max Baker
    2019-05-08 05:12

    My main problem with The Leveller is not about what The Leveller is, but rather what it could have been. The idea of a virtual reality video game isn't anything new in YA, but the premise opens up so many different topics ranging from gaming addiction to the neurological complications with having something beamed directly into you skull. Plus, the world building and setting can pretty much be as creative or imaginative as the author desires.But, my issue with The Leveller all steam from the fact that Ready Player One by Earnest Cline just did it better. I've only read the first two or three chapters of that book, but I the world of OASIS is not only more creative and vivid then the one in MEEP, it's just so much bigger.Throughout the book, the world of MEEP is presented as this grand video game extravaganza with Rapunzel's Tower, football stadiums, trolls and 1950s Havana, and a whole bunch of other worlds. But, it never felt big. MEEP never feels like it's a worldwide phenomenon. I'd chalk it up to the fact the two main characters spend most of their time in one location and how short this book really is. Maybe if the book were longer or the plot didn't require the characters to be in one central location, it could have created this incredible world that's just below the surface.The book is about a teenage girl who enters MEEP and brings out kids who don't want to leave the game. She's quick, effective, and knows how to get what she wants. But, her next job is rescuing the MEEP creator's son who may or may not want to be found.Nixy Bauer and Wyn Salvador acted as the narrator and love interest respectively and I actually really enjoyed Nixy's character. Not only was she totally kick ass, but she knew exactly what she needed to do. She was resourceful and brilliant in a tough situation. I'm not going to touch on the whole gender discrimination in gaming, because it's not really mentioned in this book, but I will say I appreciated that Nixy didn't need anyone's help, but wasn't above asking for it.Wyn, on the other hand, is more of a lover. His entire MEEP world, and the setting for most of the book, is Havana in the 1950s he intends to show his very awesome grandmother when completed. It comes complete with cigarette girls and a pet kraken. However, that's as far as his character goes. Again, it's a very short book and I'm not surprised Wyn wasn't as developed as Nixy was, but I wished for some personality from this kid or at the very least some development before he and Nixy get their mack on.Oh yeah, there's a romance. I'm not sure why, because this book didn't need one at all. It's actually fascinating to examine, because if there wasn't a romance the book would remain unchanged, however, the romance is so forced and so rarely mentioned that it's painfully obvious that the author shoehorned it in when it wasn't needed. This is weird, because most of the book is Nixy and Wyn just hanging out. The whole rescuing and escaping MEEP part of their plan is kind of put on hold when the two of them exhaust all two opinions they had and instead just wander Wyn's dream world talking about nothing. It got pretty boring, but every once in a while there will be this intense battle between them and a zombie hoard or a skeleton army that made up for it in the end.The same thing goes for the antagonist. It's not developed enough and their motivations are hazy at best. We're told why their doing this, but we never see any evidence. It's all talk and not show. (view spoiler)[If you want to go with the we're revolutionaries trying to take down this greedy asshole who wants to control our minds angle, fine do that. But, for god's sake show us some damn evidence. There was no truth to their accusations, but for some reason Nixy sympathizes with them. Why, I don’t’ know, but maybe it’ll be explained in the sequel.(hide spoiler)]I just think this book needed to be longer. Not only would the characters be able to develop faster, but the book would be more evenly paced and allow the world of MEEP to grow into something awesome. I don't know, maybe I'll read the sequel, but if a book is going to tackle a huge concept like this, I expected something much more grandiose then what I got.

  • Angela Blount
    2019-04-21 03:04

    Originally reviewed for YA Books Central: “Nixy Bauer, Home in an Hour.” One needn’t be a gamer to appreciate the fast-paced, adventurous romp presented in this near-future light sci-fi story. However, those who are familiar with concepts like virtual sandbox worlds and light role play are likely to take particular enjoyment in the sense of authenticity this book has to offer.Phoenix “Nixy” Bauer is the kind of competent, ambitious, takes-no-crap heroine this reader loves to see. With the advantage of parents who happen to be developers for the world’s biggest virtual reality game, she fills a specialized niche—tracking down and extracting the consciousnesses of minors whose parents are fed up with their children’s absence from reality. She has few friends and makes no apologies for her entrepreneurial ways. (Hey, a girl has to pay for college somehow.) Nixy has her flaws as well. Her inclination toward snap, instinctual judgment leads to misjudgment—not only of situations but of people. And her hard-earned character growth was one of the more gratifying contributors to the story arc.Durango’s writing style is descriptive, concise, and caters well to the many high-action scenes. The conflict is believable and there is an element of intrigue that steadily unfolds—culminating in a twist that I honestly didn’t see coming. Readers can also look forward to a satisfying and organically developed romance (though it’s not clear whether its Nixy’s first experience with this sort of thing.) The dialogue is punchy and natural in its handling, if not particularly quotable outside of Nixy’s keen sarcasm. The story is told entirely from her first-person perspective, and using the least annoying present-tense I’ve encountered in a long time. I dare say the immediacy feels especially appropriate for the vast majority of the time she spends in the virtual realm. Note:In this reader’s mind, the author earns bonus EXP (i.e. experience points) for the spare-yet-explained gamer slang, and the creative cussing substitutions. The content (not to mention the limited, uncomplicated tech concepts) are such that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to most ages and sensitivity levels. All in all The Leveller is a quick and truly fun read—high-ish stakes, yet not as heavy in the doom-and-gloom department as much of the more recent YA with a speculative bent. Therein lays both its advantage and disadvantage. While the entertainment value is high, I do wish the emotional intensity could have been pushed a bit deeper and the ethical implications of the MEEP explored with more profundity. The ending feels complete but boarders on abrupt, leaving a number of unanswered questions that may or may not compel a sequel. (Not that I wouldn’t be pleased to see a sequel come out of this, mind you…)

  • Bee {Quite the Novel Idea}
    2019-04-22 02:52

    Istyria book blog ~ B's world of enchanted booksI enjoyed this a lot more than I expected too! The ending was a bit sudden and the romance could've used a little more development, but with a fascinating world, interesting characters and surprisingly nail-biting action scenes, The Leveller is the start of an awesome new series for sure.Nixy Bauer is a self-made Leveller. She drags kids out of the virtual reality called MEEP, back to their parents in the real world. When in the MEEP, your body is in a sleep like state on the couch and their parents hire Nixy to haul their asses back. When the game's developer's own son, Wyn goes missing inside MEEP, he hires Nixy to get him back. But there may be more to the situation than she realizes. Wyn isn't there by choice, he can't leave. Someone trapped him there and now Nixy finds herself in the same situation. Together they have to find out what's going on and how to get back to the real world before it's too late.The Leveller is a quick read, with my eARC only counting 174 pages. That is also where my only problems with this book lie. The book ended a bit sudden, though not with a real cliffhanger, thank God for that. It just felt like there was a bit more left of the story and then it ended. I would've liked to see some things worked out more, like the romance. While it was sweet and kind of adorable, I did want to see a bit more development. I also wanted just a bit more world building. More information on MEEP and how it came to be. All in all I just wanted to see a bit more.That said, I did really enjoy this book. The world is fascinating and there is a lot of potential here. All the problems I had, could be solved in the next book. And I do hope there will be a next book. I stayed up until late and read this in one sitting. It had me hooked, simple as that. During the action scenes, it felt like I was in a game, which was cool! There were a few plot twists that kind of saw coming but were also unexpected at the same time. If that makes sense at all. I loved the characters too. Though they, too, could've benefited from a teeny tiny tad more development. I loved Nixy with her no nonsense attitude, she was cool, could kick ass and quite funny at times too. I also liked Wyn and they were very sweet together. Oh and I liked Nixy's parents. They were fun!The Leveller is a fun, interesting book filled with great action scenes. It's a great start to a new series and I will eagerly anticipate its sequel. I'll recommend this book for fans of Ready Player One because the whole virtual reality-thing and the mission reminded me of that. So if you find RPO a bit too daunting to read first, start with this one. Now where's that sequel?This review is also (or -soon- will be) posted on Istyria book blog

  • Asseya
    2019-04-29 10:12

    *ARC for honest review.* I haven't read much series with gaming themes in them, but I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I didn't even do speed reading, having liked the story more than I expected. I like books that have a unique quality, and I honestly think Leveller is one of them. I surprisingly dig the virtual reality the author has created in this book. The MEEP is something anyone can imagine happening a few years from now, what with the fast-paced technological advancement we have. Leveller is one of the 'what-if' books that can make the future so much more thrilling and scary at the same time.Above everything else, I gave this four stars because of how it was written. I had my fill of deadpan from start to end, and I love it. I was able to immerse myself into that world because of the well-written dialogue and narration. I am not much of a gamer, but I wasn't lost in the terminologies and whatnot like I thought I would be. I would have liked it more if this had more pages to it, but other than that I give thumbs up to Leveller overall. Recommended read for anyone who can appreciate sarcasm and virtual realities. *Will add more on character and plot when book is released*

  • Kim
    2019-05-15 02:57

    Nixy is a bounty hunter in a virtual reality gaming world. Kids play entirely with their minds while their body goes into sleep like state. When kids spend too long in the game, parents hire Nixy to find them and bring them back to reality. My parents would have definitely hired Nixy cause I would've been in there forever! Hell ya! The game developer son, Wyn is lost in the gaming world. Has been in a sleep like state for days. They have had to hook him up to tubes to keep his body going. So they hire Nixy to go in and find him. Seems Wyn doesn't wanna be found and he's created a world of terror. Can Nixy survive his virtual reality world and find him and save him in time? Twist and turns in this virtual reality world. Things are not as they seem. Great fast read. Highly enjoyed.

  • Lex
    2019-04-28 04:55

    I might write an actual review for this later. As for now I just have a few things to say about it. It's a lot of fun and I really enjoyed reading it. There's a lot of potential here, but there wasn't much depth, and the insta love made me roll my eyes a little. I liked the characters. I understand that the two of them could be great together and that they were probably just bonding over being in the situation they were in. But it still felt really rushed to me and I felt it was mostly unnecessary. Otherwise, though, it wasn't bad. Solid 3 star rating.

  • Mitchii
    2019-05-09 04:50

    If I were to describe this book in one word then simple would be the most appropriate. There’s nothing extravagant or extremely annoying happened but it’s not completely insipid. The summary gave me all the hints I need to know on what exactly is the direction of the story. For me, it was completely straight, no u turns, simple roadblock, but ultimately an unpretentious road to drive through. It was all ok-ish.