Author: Amy Tintera
Genre: YA, dystopia, sci-fi
Publication Date: May 7, 2013 (HarperTeen – North America)
Source: Edelweiss Review Copy
Summary: Five years ago, Wren Connolly was shot three times in the chest. After 178 minutes she came back as a Reboot: stronger, faster, able to heal, and less emotional. The longer Reboots are dead, the less human they are when they return. Wren 178 is the deadliest Reboot in the Republic of Texas. Now seventeen years old, she serves as a soldier for HARC (Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation).
Wren’s favorite part of the job is training new Reboots, but her latest newbie is the worst she’s ever seen. As a 22, Callum Reyes is practically human. His reflexes are too slow, he’s always asking questions, and his ever-present smile is freaking her out. Yet there’s something about him she can’t ignore. When Callum refuses to follow an order, Wren is given one last chance to get him in line—or she’ll have to eliminate him. Wren has never disobeyed before and knows if she does, she’ll be eliminated, too. But she has also never felt as alive as she does around Callum.
The perfect soldier is done taking orders.
☆: 3.5/5 stars – a pretty great debut!
Review: Not a bad debut for Tintera, with some fun twists on the idea of zombies and virii and dystopian societies. For pure enjoyment factor, I almost rated this four stars. But what got me was the romance – which felt half-hearted, and purely a crutch to get us to the final pages of the book. Honestly, I feel like “Reboot” could have been finished in one book easily, but I guess that’s just me. Regardless, “Reboot” is mostly a fun look at a scary possible future that I did enjoy. For the most part.
What Tintera was best at: Worldbuilding. While the backstory on some of the finer points of the world (the KDH virus, the somewhat cloudy idea of a Human/Reboot war, etc) could have been tuned up a LOT more (and hopefully will be by the time this goes to pub), it was otherwise really well done. We do get an immediate sense of the world from page one onward, and that’s always a wonderfully refreshing thing. We get this sense of utter inhumanity from the Reboots, and from the agency that manages them, HARC. We get a really good look at how Reboot society works, and how humans use them as such. What I did want was more on the slums, more on the virus as a whole (as in, are the only people left on the NA continent all just in Texas?) and how it worked. Otherwise it was very thorough, and it felt as if I were there. The sensory imagery was absolutely leaping off the page, and that’s exactly what I want in a biopunk genre book.
What needed work: Character continuity/consistency. This is something I rarely talk about – usually when characters are built, they do aim to change in some way shape or form by the end of the book. That’s how fiction works – it’s transformative. All the same, it needs to be consistent. Wren’s sudden urge to take on Callum for training, and then to escape was very, very, VERY not consistent with the character we were introduced to. While I can understand she might want out after finding what was happening to all of the under-sixties (that would be far more consistent with her character, as she’s very protective of Ever, her bff, roommate, and an under-sixty), using Callum as the impetus to start everything was poorly planned, and really just didn’t make sense with her character. There was a huge disconnect with the Wren that we met on page one, and the Wren on the final page. While yes, she did change by becoming more human (an important journey arc), it felt far too fast, far too forced to feel real or serious.
The entire last fourth of the book felt utterly disconnected from the previous 3/4ths. How? This wild escape to the Reboot reservation. I didn’t quite feel the tension as much as I should have, and there was canoodling with Callum when they’re literally supposed to be running for their lives. No. You save that for when you’re safe, guys. The last fourth was pretty disappointing in that sense, and really brought down my enjoyment of the book. And we don’t need a book two – I think all of it could have been put into one single standalone with maybe a novella here or there to explain some of the finer things we might have missed, like the KDH virus, or something like that. I can’t stand it when there’s a book that can be finished in one volume but meanders out into two or three or more volumes.
However, regardless of that last fourth, I’m probably going to be reading book two? Why? I’m really hoping my questions get answered and maybe there’s some redemption in terms of all of the inconsistencies presented. On the whole, this book is extremely entertaining and I wouldn’t be surprised if it got snapped up for a film/TV adaptation. Actually, I’d like that. It might help with those inconsistencies. Otherwise, this really put a spin on the zombie/zombie virus urban myth, and I really enjoyed that. Plus, biopunk! Yay for getting more books into a sorely neglected sub-genre.
Final verdict? At least there was no love triangle, thank the gods. “Reboot” was fast, furious, and fun for the most part, and I think I’ll be reading book two. But that’s just how I feel about it – “Reboot” is out May 7, 2013 from HarperTeen, so be sure to check it out when you get the chance!