REBOOT by Amy Tintera
jacket flap blurb
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—Callum Reyes—is the worst she’s ever seen. As a 22, Callum is practically human. His reflexes are too slow, he’s always asking questions, and his ever-present smile is freaking her out. Yet he’s still her newbie. 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 an order before and knows that 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.
I suppose I’m biased against this novel. I went in expecting, essentially, a Vulcan-style main character (from Star Trek, in case that wasn’t obvious). Instead, I got a she’s-not-as-emotionless-as-she-seems-because-underneath-it-all-she’s-just-like-everyone-else. And there’s nothing wrong with that sort of storyline, I just went in hoping for something different. It wasn’t what I wanted.
Not to mention, I was disappointed when the anti-kissing/personal-contact Wren started desiring to kiss and possibly have sex with Callum. I was thinking, before then, oh, look, an asexual YA character, that’s interesting. But no. Instead I get this whole if you don’t want to have sex, there’s something wrong with you / any asexual character can be converted into a “normal” person. And that kind of pissed me off.
But all-in-all, I still enjoyed the book. There were a few parts where Wren seemed overly emotional, and by the end, I was left confused whether the higher numbers were actually less human than the lower numbers. I sort of thought they were, or at least they were supposed to be and it was only logical that they would be, but at the same time Wren didn’t feel like a high number. Not after about the first third of the story, anyway.
Besides Wren, I liked most of the characters. Leb was cool, Callum was okay, and the rebels were interesting (especially Desmond). I liked Addie, too. I liked the interactions between the Reboots and the humans. I thought it was kind of odd for Wren to believe HARC was actually trying to help people, considering they had food and medicine aplenty and didn’t offer it to the many starving people in the slums.
Plot-wise, it was okay. It was fast-paced, but it wasn’t especially surprising. It was hard to celebrate at the end, though. It should have been exciting, but it wasn’t because it just felt dull, predictable. The writing was good, and I liked that it ended with the REBOOT TERRITORY sign, but I felt like something was missing.
For one thing, I think the second line of the sign: ALL HUMANS TURN BACK, was…odd. I mean, it made sense, but at the same time there seemed to be an subplot about the Reboot/human relationship that wasn’t wrapped up and didn’t quite correlate with the sign. I mean, there was some indication that the Reboots would help the rebel humans fight HARC, but that sign doesn’t represent it.
Of course, there is a sequel and perhaps this has something to do with that. But I’m not sure there’s anything about this book that makes me feel compelled to read the next one. There was nothing glaringly wrong with the book, but it just wasn’t…enough. The characters weren’t vibrant enough, the plot wasn’t fascinating enough, and the twists were non-existent. There was a dissonance between the rules set up at the beginning (higher number = less humanity/emotion) and the characters and actions portrayed in the story.
On a final note I thought it was strange that off all the curses the humans would use, they wouldn’t use the obvious: “zombie.” Maybe the author just didn’t want it to be an overtly zombie book? I don’t know. It seemed pretty obvious.
rating out of five stars