A YA SciFi Dystopia that defied my first impression
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 17 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 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.
Disclosure: GMB uses affiliate links, clicking and making a purchase may result in a small commission for me.
Source: I purchased this book myself from Downpour.com
Reboot by Amy Tintera, read by Khristine Hvam, published by HarperAudio (2013) / Length: 8 hrs 42 min
This is Book #1 of the Reboot duology. Book #2, Rebel, is already out and also available on audio.
The first time I read this book, I liked it OK but didn't plan to buy it (I had borrowed a Kindle copy from the library). However, I just kept thinking about it. So, I decided to borrow the audio version. I liked it even more this time, and ended up decided it was something I would re-listen to (my criteria for purchase).
I'm not 100% sure why it stuck with me. Wren is a great protagonist, despite being the currently typical "physically kickbutt and emotionally stunted" heroine. And I like that she is actually fine being where and what she is. Callum isn't your typical YA hero, which is nice; and he's got guts and convictions.
I am tagging this with Diversity, since Callum is Hispanic (although it is never a plot point) and Wren has disfiguring scars.
Wren: The top dog at her center. Her childhood wasn't a happy one, and she feels satisfaction in being good at what she does. (She already prided herself on her stoicism, even at the age of 12, when she died.) She would have been content to stay where she was if it hadn't been for the twin pressures of Callum's arrival and her best friend Ever's mistreatment by the authorities.
Callum: As a measly 22 (the number of minutes he was dead before Rebooting, which determines your abilities), his chances of surviving very long are almost non-existent. He came from loving family and just wants to go home (and be with Wren).
Wren & Callum: This is definitely a case where traditional gender roles are swapped in a relationship. Wren is the physical stronger one, and Callum is the more emotional one. Despite that, Callum is not weak. He know what he believes is right and is willing put his life on the line to stand by his convictions. He only wavers when it is Wren's happiness at stake.The relationship does start rather quickly, since Callum likes her right away; but it is outside circumstances that force a quicker commitment than was otherwise developing.
A deadly virus has killed much of the population, and anyone who has ever had it is at risk of Rebooting if they die. Having lost a war with the regular humans, the Reboots are now essentially slaves, forced to act as police & soldiers for the company that is the government.
There is some advanced technology, almost exclusively in the hands of HARC. Most of the population lives in poverty in the slums of Austin, TX and the surrounding cities.
We start off with a bang, on a mission with Wren and a Reboot team that not everyone survives. We get to see her do her thing.
Things slow down a lot after that as we explore the center where she lives and what life is like now.
Although the world situation hasn't changed, the book has a satisfying ending.
HIGHLIGHTS / CAUTIONS:
- Wren & Callum meet (he is being bullied by the other Reboots and falls at her feet)
- Wren uses dancing lessons to help Callum overcome his difficulties learning combat, and the table is turned since she struggles with dancing
- They meet up with an old friend of Callum's and discuss Rebooting
I COULD HAVE DONE WITHOUT: Mild swearing / These teens - who are being trained and exploited, but not taught or cared for - have turned to casual, only semi private, sex as an emotional outlet. There is nothing explicit, but it makes both Wren and me uncomfortable.
OTHER CAUTIONS: There is violence and gore, but I was ok with the level (and I tend towards squeamish) / Wren & Callum discuss having sex, but she is very self-conscious about the scars left by her death and more tentatively willingly than truly wanting it. Callum is sensitive to this (though not without some typical male swagger).
Character voices differentiated = Yes^ / Opposite sex voices acceptable = Yes / Accents good = Yes; there are really only mild Texas accents for some of the small parts, but not for the main characters / Phrasing, Pacing & Pronunciation = Good / Emoting = Good, I think she did a good job capturing the emotions beneath Wren's surface / Speed = listened on 1.25, my usual
^Note: I own books from 4 different series narrated by Ms Hvam and, despite the fact that I recognize her voice, I have never felt like a character from one series was suddenly speaking in another.
Talk to Me (pretty please)
- Can you recommend any other zombie books for someone who doesn't like zombie books?
- And for something more serious: Although this book is fiction, it is a sad fact that there are people in this world who have no problem exploiting children/teens. Do you know of any easy ways a busy person can join in fighting against such things?
- If you are a first time visitor, how did you discover my blog?
- I recently debuted my redesigned blog. What do you think?
[Review + Author Ivu]
[Review + Author Ivu]
[Review + Narrator Ivu]
(If you don’t see anything in this section, your browser may be blocking share buttons)
Join me on my Audiobook Journey?
Never Miss a Post
This review will be linked up with the following (hover for descriptions):