I really enjoyed The Leveller on two things: the concept and the writing. But of course, the concept is why I actually read many books. Whether it's good or bad, I have no clue until I actually crack open the book and actually read it.
In a virtual reality gaming world called MEEP, Nixy Bauer helps parents get their wayward kids back from spending too much time in the MEEP quickly and efficiently. Soon enough, she gets a job from the developer and founder of MEEP himself, whose only son has disappeared in the gaming world for several days, leaving behind a suicide note and world filled with horrifying challenges.
I will fully admit I'm a huge fan of technology and cool gadgets, and I honestly loved the technology The Leveller uses. It's quite similar to Grid Seekers, but in a gaming direction rather than an everyday-use direction. Durango explains MEEP simply and straightforward: it's a virtual reality where players can create their own worlds with their minds. Like any game, there are little cheats and codes. Durango's explanation of how MEEP works isn't written in a complicated and really scientific way – helpful for all of us who haven't actually taken physics (or ever will/did).
I am, however, still confused. What is the Black, and what is levelling? I have an idea, but I think I want an official definition of what the Black is, and what levelling is. Especially on levelling, because if I formulate my own definition, I'm pretty sure I'll butcher it and Durango will facepalm.
Her writing is also quite entertaining – it's fun, but it has puns in there that are sometimes so bad (read: common), it's good. There's not really a dull moment in The Leveller. It's not completely action, action, action, but I just like Durango's writing (then again, nonstop action can totally backfire unless you have breathers. You'll have to be like Joseph Bruchac.).
What kind of name is MEEP? MeaParadisus isn't exactly complicated (though it's a mouthful), but while MEEP sounds all adorable, it just... doesn't sound like something you would name a virtual reality gaming world unless there's a really cute world. I'm expecting chibi people now.
Nixy. Why Nixy? Contrary to what Ella thinks (she thinks it's lizard-like), Nixy sounds like Trixie. What does Trixie sound like? A cute dog name that does cute tricks. Oh, and that dog had better be oozing in cuteness.
The ending was a bit of a downfall. It wouldn't be a downfall if I didn't read this in one day, but Durango throws in hints early on in the book that she uses in the end. Everything was going pretty well, but how the story plays out in the very end is predictable if you pay an ounce of attention. How the second book will play out, on the other hand, isn't too predictable yet. The Leveller ends on a solid note, so I'm looking forward to what Durango actually comes up with in the sequel.