Review: Rebel by Amy Tintera

Series: Reboot #2

rebel -amy tinteraWren Connolly thought she’d left her human side behind when she dies five years ago and came back 178 minutes later as a Reboot. With her new abilities of strength, speed, and healing—along with a lack of emotions—Wren 178 became the perfect soldier for HARC (Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation). Then Callum 22 came along and changed everything.

Now that they’ve both escaped, they’re ready to start a new life in peace on the Reboot reservation. But Micah 163, the Reboot running the reservation, has darker plans in mind: to wipe out the humans. All of them. Micah has been building a Reboot army for years and is now ready to launch his attack on the cities. Callum wants to stick around and protect the humans. Wren wants nothing more than to leave all the fighting behind them.

With Micah on one side, HARC on the other, and Wren and Callum at odds in the middle, there’s only one option left…

It’s time for Reboots to become rebels.

4 Drink Me Potions

What I love about this story is that it really makes you think. My all-time favourite book is The Host, so this is a huge compliment when I say that like it, Rebel centres on one huge question.

What makes someone a human? Is it their physical make-up or how they go about making their decisions? Is it their ability to love or their ability to bring down such destruction upon themselves? Is being human even a good thing?

Wren struggled with this in Reboot, the first book in this duology. I thought she came a long way in finding a piece of humanity in her. However, the true progress came through here. It wasn’t black and white for her. Kill humans who never treated her kindly? Or risk everything to save a species who were, logically, the less evolved group and may not hesitate to kill a Reboot?

So throughout Rebel, Wren had to take a good look at herself and figure out why she wasn’t like Callum with his way of thinking. Was it really just because of her high number that made her feel less guilt over what she’s done or could do? Or is it just, at the end of the day, something that was solely because of her? She was still this amazing kick-ass character who, unbeknownst to her, was worthy of admiration and respect from the other Reboots, not only due to her 178 number. She wasn’t some weak and fragile heroine who couldn’t take care of herself. But she wasn’t just some heartless monster desperate to find herself either. And that’s what always made her POV very interesting to read.

Likewise, Callum had his own POV in this book and went through a similar, fleshed-out character development. I love that his role as Wren’s love interest never just stopped at that. Some books carry their male leads like some fancy toy that’s nice to admire and have around, but don’t really have anything unique or interesting about them on their own without the girl they supposedly like/love.

Callum was this happy-go-lucky kinda guy in Reboot. I loved that about him. I personally think his quick smile and attitude while facing hostile Reboots in the HARC facility was what touched Wren enough to fall for him so hard. But he realistically had to face challenges after escaping that affected his ideologies. After all, he was only rebooted a short while ago. Everything wasn’t great for them most of the time. Humans feared them or wanted nothing to do with them. He only touched the surface of the hardships he’d have to face as a Reboot now.

As for the action and romance, there were plenty of both. And they balanced each other out. Rebel started literally right where Reboot ended, dumped at the doorstep of a potentially new future for escaped Reboots. The pacing was always on point. It never dragged out a scene and there were always suspicious things going on to ponder about.

The only thing I’d complain about is one anticlimactic point near the end where I personally thought Tintera could’ve made a more action-packed sequence for it. Like, the plot of the story kinda built it up and it just….fizzled down. When I read it, I was like, “wait, what just happened? Hold on. You gotta be kidding me…”. But ah well. I guess it could’ve been worse.

The romance didn’t take up centre stage this time, but it was always evident that Callum and Wren dearly cared for each other. And their relationship was realistic too. Their personalities were so different and although they complemented each other in a lot of ways, sometimes those ideologies can cause disagreements as well. I loved that Tintera fleshed out and explored where they were headed now that the initial “I like you, I think you totally dig me too” kinda phase has passed. She didn’t need to bring in some awful love triangle or some stupid thing that to cause a rift between them to make the book “exciting” in the romance department. (You can totally see how big of a fan I am with love triangles…).

As I look around on the news, you can see what humanity can be like. So to wrap things up, this brings me back to what I pointed in the beginning as the central theme of Rebel. I think Tintera pointed it out perfectly. It’s not that we are good and emotional. We’re by far not. Human beings can do the worst, unimaginable horrors to each other. But there’s always a choice. I think that’s what being human looks like. Choosing which path to go and accepting the consequences. It’s not always black and white in the decisions that are made, but hopefully, at the end of the day, the more moral and loving choice was picked. I think Rebel really touched down on such an essential part of humanity.

Overall Recommendation:
Rebel was equal parts action and equal parts character development with romance sprinkled in between to glue it all together. The pacing never dragged out as new characters and new plotlines picked up. Likewise, we really get to see what humanity looks like through the POVs of both Wren and Callum. Although they may be Reboots now, what separates them from humans? Have they really lost their sense of morality and guilt? Are humans even worth saving? These are all questions explored through both their narratives and I think Tintera did an amazing job at trying to answer this through the eyes of two realistic characters. Definitely check this duology out.

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