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.
High concept YAs are everywhere. In my experience they either work really well (DELIRIUM, THE PROGRAM) or really not (PULSE, THE WARD). REBOOT surprising falls somewhere in the middle. There is a very cool world where resurrected teens are enslaved and forced to police humans. They have heightened senses but a lack of emotion that correlates to the length of time they were dead before rebooting.
All the the details about the Reboots are fascinating and seamlessly communicated without heavy info dumps. Wren 178 is the strongest, least human among the Reboots. Her emotions--or lack there of--were consistently interesting even as she began to relearn what it meant to feel thanks to her new trainee, Callum who as a 22 is almost shockingly human-like. I kind of loved the romance that developed between them. It was surprisingly tender and totally unconventional.
On the average side, however, the story lost momentum towards the end as it progressed in several predictable and tired directions. A few arbitrary obstacles fell into place to in order to make things more dire and add unnecessary complications. Still Wren's story has a lot to recommend it. Great dystopian worldbuilding, scary cool concept, and a role reversal romance. The next book in the Reboot series will be published in 2014. I'll be checking it out.
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