by Amy Tintera
Original Publishing Date: May 7, 2013
Length: 365 Pages
Obtained Via: Bought
Format Read In: Hardback
View from the Traffic Light:
(from back of the book):
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.
Upon first hearing of this book in the blogging world, I started jumping up and down. A strong female MC, a training situation, and high stakes? I wanted to sign up IMMEDIATELY. But then the reviews started pouring in, and they were all over the place. I’m honestly not sure I’ve ever seen such a spread of ratings from bloggers I trust, everything from the very best 5 stars to the most disappointing 1 stars. So I took this book off my wishlist and decided I’d get around to it at some point. However, I decided to plunge in and read when I bought the book at a signing.
After reading, I can say I understand why the spread of ratings for this book is all over the place. How much you enjoy this book will depend a lot on reader interpretation of the romance. It’s true that while there is TONS of action in this book, there’s perhaps even MORE romance between Wren and Callum. Wren isn’t as unfeeling as she likes to think she is, even at the beginning. Callum brings out Wren’s humanity again, and Tintera decided to use the romance as a vehicle to express that.
As a reader who usually favors action over romance, at halfway through I began to get disappointed with the amount of time the romance plays out on-screen. However, as my reading progressed, I felt like Tintera’s writing became sharper and more in focus. Unlike so many books set in the future where authors include romance for the sake of including romance, in Reboot the romance becomes the story. I know a lot of people won’t like that, but (surprisingly) I did. The reason I liked it so much is because the romance served a purpose. The romance was really just a way to explore humanity, to explore emotions, and to explore the strengths of being emotional.
While I would love to say that the tough, ultra-strong Wren at the beginning of the story was an awesome character, she was really just a shell of a character. I understand why people would want more of Wren’s tough personality that eventually fades into something more human, but while I am all for strong characters, I’m not for strong characters that are strong at the expense of emotions. So often, sometimes we think of strong characters as being emotionless, and emotions as a weakness, when really they are a sign of humanity and should be considered a strength. So while Wren might be tough at the beginning, in my opinion, she becomes a stronger character later on precisely because she wrestles with her humanity–or what may be left of it–which stems from her romance with Callum.
All that to say, I think Reboot was really well-done in the regards, but it’s definitely an issue of reader interpretation and of intent, and will probably depend a lot on what you expect of the story. The biggest issue I personally had with Reboot was the world-building. To be completely honest, world-building is not the highest on my list of reading priorities, so it doesn’t always bother me, but I did think the rebuilding in Reboot was sloppy. I loved the setting of a future Republic of Texas, and I think Tintera maximized it to it’s fullest potential(we get to see a LOT of it), but I’m still unclear on how the world came to be. There were bits and pieces filled it, but a lot was missing from the puzzle of HARC and the world. I’ll hope that becomes clearer in the sequel.
Final Impression: Reboot is one of those books that will depend a lot on how you read the romance, and if you see the romance contributing to the plot any. Personally, I really enjoyed the story of Reboot and how Tintera used the dynamic between Wren and Callum to explore humanity, along with some awesome action scenes, but it’s definitely not a book for everyone. The major flaw I found was with the world-building, which was really the only distracting aspect of the story for me. 4/5 stars.