Thursday, May 9, 2013

Review: Reboot by Amy Tintera

Review: Reboot by Amy Tintera
Release date: May 7th, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Rating: A super enjoyable, albeit flawed, action-packed dystopian. A page-turner to be sure.

Reboot (Reboot, #1)

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.

The cover: I LOVE this cover. It's so graphic and arresting. The black and red combo is dangerous and futuristic and awesome. This cover totally grabs me, with the way 1 and 7 and 8 are pulled down like that. And the TAG LINE. Most intriguing.

The story: I'm really quite conflicted about this. When I first read the synopsis for this one, a gleam came into my eyes and I was seized with the kind of fervor that can only possess a rabid book blogger. MUST HAVE, I thought. A cold, unfeeling zombie-esque girl slowly being thawed by a cute boy's smile? A trained, unflinching, obedient soldier finally starting to ask questions and defy orders? SIGN. ME. UP.

The good news is, I enjoyed almost every second if it. The bad news is, I found some issues that disappointed me (surprise!). All in all, though, this book is very entertaining and will appeal to a lot of people eager for a little action and dystopian romance in their lives.

All the good parts of Reboot are really good. We meet Wren in an awesome, action-filled moment where she's kicking ass and being as cool as a cucumber. She's 178, top dog of the Reboots, the prized, emotionless zombie/soldier slave. Because that's what Reboots are-- sexy zombies. Basically, most of the US was wiped out by this virus, KDH. All that managed to survive was the Republic of Texas. If you die with KDH in your system, you get Rebooted. You come back to life, but you're more attractive, faster, stronger, less feeling and still technically dead.

Wren is the least feeling of the lot. She's tiny, she's blonde, she's lethal. She's Veronica Mars without the marshmallow center. She grew up in the slums, died a horrific, violent death, and now trains the newly Rebooted. She whips them into shape, goes out into the field, and kills or imprisons humans, all under HARC's orders. HARC is the corporation responsible for saving what little is left of humanity, and for getting the Reboots in line and using them as manpower. HARC are the ones keeping the virus in check, keeping all the humans safe, fed, and watered.

See all that information I just gave you? I'd recommend going in knowing all that, like I did from reading reviews of Reboot. It made the beginning a lot let confusing, honestly.

What really made me invest in this book and care about the characters' fates was how much I enjoyed Callum. Even if I found myself rolling his eyes at his imcompetence (JUST PUNCH THE HUMAN, CALLUM. JUST PUNCH HIM.), I found him to be totally adorable. He's sweet and has a sense of humor and a very strong moral fiber. As a 22, he's barely a Reboot, and all his emotions are right there in plain sight. It's not hard to see why Wren, supposedly a robot Reboot without a soul, would come to care about him so much that she'd risk his life to save him. I cared about him too. I wanted her to do that.

I loved when Wren was finally like, "Screw this." I love the big decisions she finally made, the action her feelings for Callum inspired her to take, as she realized she didn't have to be a mindless killing machine. She should question the orders. Maybe she doesn't have to do what they say.

My issues with Reboot were mostly in execution, and mostly in three things: Wren, the world-building, and the narrative.

Wren: I actually wanted her to be colder, especially in the beginning. I loved her when she was an ice queen, and besides, that's what she was supposed to be. She's not supposed to have emotions, and I felt Tintera wrote her a little too human, trying to get us to connect with her. I actually connected more with her when she didn't have feelings. Those were the moments I loved her, because I pitied her for not being filled with grief or sorrow or humor or love. She'd know she was supposed to be having emotions right now-- could see that the very human Callum and her under-60 roommate Ever were experiencing all the proper feels-- and she'd experience a sense of incompleteness. Those were the times I found her most interesting, and the times when human-esque jokes flew over her poor Reboot head. But most of the time, she did have emotions, she just didn't express them. So it wasn't as satisfying to see her defrost, because she wasn't frosty enough to begin with. I really liked Wren, though, when all is said and done. I did connect with her. I thought she was an excellent and complicated heroine who struggles with but is not ashamed of what she is.

The world-building: I can't quite put my finger on my what my issue is, but I think it's HARC. They're a bit vague and big-bad-meanie-corporation. I'm confused as to why Texas is the only surviving state (this might end up not being true, and I really hope that's the case). I'm not sure if the whole slums vs. rico (aka rich parts of town ) thing holds up, logistically. Obviously I love, love, LOVE the idea of the Reboots. Everything about them and their training and the way they relate to one another was spot on. I loved the complicated, fearful emotions the humans have about them. All of those aspects were well done.

My third and most pressing issue was some of the narrative choices. Most of the plot is really, really gripping. There's a lot of action, big choices, and a MEGA ticking clock, and I felt my heart racing at times. High stakes is my favorite, and they are certainly elevated. However, some obstacles are overcome with a little bit too much ease. ESPECIALLY the ending. That should have been such a dramatic showdown (and I was almost hoping it would take a tragic turn, because DRAMA! FEELS! Though at the same time, that would have destroyed me). But it kind of just... eh. Happened. Over and done way too fast. I wanted my big, dramatic action scene, guys! Wren was so awesome and kickass that she really deserved one. She did have one awesome moment, but it was over so fast.

Oh, and there was also the small issue of people stopping to kiss when they should have been fleeing for their lives. Molli and Shelver pointed this out to me, and Shelver does some excellent gif work while ranting about it. It's not my favorite thing in the world, really.

Ultimately, I really enjoyed this book. I read it almost straight through, and while I wasn't totally smitten, I was definitely intrigued. I was utterly charmed by Callum, fond of Wren, and eager to find out what happened next. Like I said, it's definitely not perfect, but I think it's a whole lot of fun.


  1. This is very high up on my TBR pile. Great review, love the Dani gifs :-)

    1. I feel like Dany can and should be used in any situation.

  2. As I've already read the book, I can't say this review moved me to read it (though if I hadn't read the book, it probably would have). However, several things did happen.

    1. I can't stop laughing at your Thriller GIF. I don't know why. I just think it's hilarious.

    2. I'm one baby step closer to wanting to watch Game of Thrones, because that chick looks awesome.

    3. I'm soooooo glad you agreed on the ending. It went by so quickly and uneventfully that I completely missed when the big climax was over!

    1. I laughed at that thriller gif for like then minutes last night.

      I... don't know how you'll feel about Game of Thrones. It's VERY R-RATED. Like, extremely R rated. I love that, but it's not for everyone. But yes, Dany is awesome. It is known.

      THE ENDING! I was all amped up for the bigggg epiccc dramatic action ending and then it was just kind of... over. I was like, "Um. That was easy."

  3. The Thriller gif? Made my morning, Gillian. :D

    Wren bothered me, too. I think it was Shelver who pointed out that even though Wren kept saying she didn't have emotions, she DID. She just didn't SHOW them. I was expecting a truly cold character who didn't feel ANYTHING, and I think because we didn't get that in Wren, I didn't connect with her. Her "transformation" didn't feel genuine to me because she was never emotion-less to start out with. Whew, that's a lot of thoughts for before lunch.

    I'm with you though Callum was STUNNING and awesome, and probably my favorite character. (Also quite loved Ever. SOB.)

    The stopping-to-kiss, REALLY people?! I'm like IF YOU HAVE TIME TO KISS, YOU HAVE TIME TO RUN. QUIT WASTING OXYGEN KISSING THAT YOU COULD BE USING TO RUN. Jeeeeeez. That probably shouldn't bother me so much, but it really did!

    The ending killed me. RUN RUN DRAMA THINGS HAPPEN OH WAIT - it's over. *kicks book* I did like it, but my issues (what IS it with Texas of all places being the only state to survive?) kept me from really loving it.

    Molli | Once Upon a Prologue

    1. Glad to make your morning!

      Couldn't agree more with you and Shelver re: Wren. She had too much emotion to start with. I wanted her colder. Strangely enough, I liked her MORE when she was cold. It made her a more tragic figure. That's when I connected with her.

      CALLUM IS THE BEST. I also really like Ever. She was a character that really broke my heart.


      Sounds like my issues were your issues. The ending just abruptly ENDING, the weird logic holes (why Texas indeed?) prevented total love, but I think this is still a strong like.

  4. I want this book! I'm glad that you ended up liking it! Even if you didn't love it as much as you wanted to. This was a great review!

    1. I think you'd really enjoy it. It's not a total love, but I definitely liked it!

  5. It does sound like, despite your slight problems with the book, you really enjoyed it overall! I've been looking forward to Reboot for a while, and I can't wait until I get my hands on a copy :)

    1. I did! I hope you get a chance to read it. It's a lot of fun!

  6. I'm reading this right now! HAHA I got a ARC for the publisher but never opened it since the cover looked kinda dull but so far I'm enjoying it :)



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