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.
Description taken from Goodreads.
Anytime I read a book set in a video game now, I immediately think of the anime Sword Art Online. Given that, I would like to say that the review below is biased and that ultimately, I would recommend this book. It’s not as thorough as Ready Player One, but in some ways, that’s a good thing. If you’re a video game or VRMMORPG or even just MMO fan, then this story will probably be entertaining.
If you’re familiar with Sword Art Online, skip this paragraph and the one after it. If you’re not, then I would like to introduce you to what is quite possibly my favorite anime/light novel. In short, Sword Art Online is an anime about a boy named Kirito who is a prolific game player and is playing the game Sword Art Online when the creator traps everyone inside the game. There’s no log-out button, and if you die in the game, you die in real life. Sword Art Online isn’t your average video-game anime; it’s extremely well-made and well-thought out. In addition, while it is exciting, it talks a lot about the psychological and moral aspects of video games and human life.
Not unlike THE LEVELLER.
Part of why I couldn’t truly enjoy THE LEVELLER was because I felt that it could’ve gone a lot deeper. There were some great moments that I thought could’ve been explored more. The psychological aspects of this book are cool, and they’re a noteworthy addition, but the characters don’t grow at all in this story.
There were other reasons why I didn’t love this book. The characters and world-building are somewhat shallow. Compared to SAO, they’re downright nonexistent. The ending is rushed and too much time is spent on boring parts of the book.
But I would still recommend this story. For the average MMO player, it’s relatable. There are a lot of fluffy video games these days, and creating your own worlds isn’t entirely implausible. Heck, look at Minecraft. The whole concept is building your own world. Literally my-craft. It’s great to see another good video game story in the YA publishing world, and honestly, many of the faults I had with this book came after I read.
All in all, this is a quick, good one-time read. It’s one that I would recommend getting from the library or borrowing from a friend. 2 stars.
pg count for the hardback: 256