Series: 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.
4 Drink Me Potions
Wren Connolly, otherwise known by her branded number as 178, having “rebooted” to life after 178 minutes after dying.
She should have lost more of her humanity than anyone else, but it seems all it needed to surface was a push in the right direction.
I held off reading Reboot for a long time. I’m not really sure why. But oh boy, I’m so glad I finally picked it up. This story follows a beautiful protagonist who truly feels that emotions and other trivial human things are just a part of her ill-spent childhood. I love that Wren is such a complicated character. She feels emotions, but she doesn’t believe she’s really human anymore. Even she believes she can be a monster, mindlessly following even the cruelest of orders coming from HARC. After all, she’s 178, right? How much humanity could have been left in her after being dead for so long?
In a way, this inner conflict against her own personal demons reminded me a lot of Rosamund Hodge’s Crimson Bound. I admired the protagonist for the complexity in which her character couldn’t be defined as strictly good or bad. Although Wren wasn’t as monstrous or as dark of a character (for which I am grateful, ’cause poor me can only handle so much darkness at a time), she definitely went through a similar struggle. She killed people. People who were supposedly bad. And she enjoyed the hunt.
Enter Callum, with his wee number of 22 minutes. You would think that a guy like him, who was barely a Reboot and probably retained most of his humanity, would have nothing in common with someone like Wren, who scared even most of the other Reboots in the facility. But he did. With his contagious smile and hopeful attitude, he showed her that there was still a large piece of humanity in her.
Man, this just makes me want to find a Callum for myself.
The romance was sweet and slow-progressing. Reboot as a whole was an extremely fast read, gobbled up in a few sittings, and the romance still felt like it was written in a nice, even pace. And it wasn’t just the romance, but the pacing of the action sequences was well-done. Things weren’t as normal back in the facility, leading Wren to question her role with HARC for probably the very first time.
The world building and setting was definitely interesting. A new virus caused a major outbreak in the area known as today’s Texas. But it had strange effects. It killed a ton of people, but it also “rebooted” some young people after a range of minutes from death. Hence, a new and stronger species of humans called Reboots started roaming. The world building was familiar, in a sense, but with familiar cities remodelled to fit with this fallen world after the virus. I do wish Tintera let us explore a little more into the world she’s created, so that’s something to look forward to in the sequel.
I’ll keep this review short and sweet, closing off with this. The romance does give a lot of weight to Reboot, probably more so than other novels in this genre, but I think it’s well-placed alongside the fighting and the rebellion against the higher order. It connects us to Wren and to Callum in such a strong way that it’ll have you rooting for their survival way before the end of it.
For a synopsis that suggests rebellion and loads of action, Reboot also has a fair share of romance, as well as diving into the inner conflict that Wren has to deal with. Is she a monster now that she’s a Reboot, having been dead for so long? Could she find a piece of humanity left in her? All that is explored alongside her growing friendship and attraction for newbie Callum, someone she normally would never give a second thought about. I loved that it explored her character like this to give us a sense of who she really is and to let us connect with her, whether she be a monster or not. That’s not to say the novel isn’t exciting and still full of some ass-kicking. I’d say Reboot has something to offer for everyone.