Available May 7th
Received via Edelweiss for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
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.
Dark and gritty, Reboot presents us with a very different possibility for life after death, one of rigid control, demanded compliance, and excessive violence. It's made clear to us early on that Reboots are considered less-than; their human deaths a temporary end for them physically, but to the rest of society, it's a permanent end to them mentally and emotionally as well. Our anger ignites almost instantly as we follow Wren through the cold and brutal world that rewards ruthlessness and disposes of weakness, teeth grinding at the pain Reboots experience each day in the name of “training”, hoping against hope that the little girl who is the strongest of them all will bring this world to its knees in the coming pages.
Wren, having been dead for a full 178 minutes before her body rebooted, is the most feared and revered Reboot in her facility (and as far as we can tell, in any of the Reboot facilities). She's extraordinarily lethal and seemingly merciless, carrying out assignment after assignment with ease even as other Reboots fall dead at her feet during the course of the same mission. We worry initially that what everyone says about Reboots is true–the longer they're dead, the less humanity left in them–but it doesn't take long before we see the lie for what it is; simply a way to instill fear of Reboots in the human population and yet another way to manipulate them into feeling inferior. Wren is neither cold nor unfeeling, and her hesitant steps into back into the world of human emotion from the lonely existence of the world's best soldier are a joy to watch, each page tightening the grip she has on our hearts.
Callum is a young man we don't really know all that much about even after we reach the last page, but his unshakable positivity and infectious personality win us over easily, and we simply can't keep ourselves from falling a little in love with him when a smile crosses his face at a time it should be contorted in pain. He bears his horrifying training with a humor we are nearly one hundred percent sure we wouldn't be able to conjure in his shoes, and his unrelenting campaign to show Wren she isn't what the numbers tattooed on her wrist tell her she is has us rooting for the two of them from the onset. Their relationship progresses fascinatingly as Callum gives a little humanity back to Wren and Wren puts a little fight in Callum, and we find ourselves grinning stupidly at their initial interactions and then sighing loudly as their affection deepens, grateful to Ms. Tintera for sparing us unnecessary angst and premature declarations of love.
One of the only small quibbles keeping this first installment from a higher rating is the relative ease with which Wren and Callum get in and out of certain high-risk situations, but we so desperately want to see them succeed that it's hard to do anything but say a quiet thank you when they emerge on the side of life from one of their many life and death situations. The ending is also a touch abrupt, adrenaline still pumping sweet and fast through our bodies when we suddenly find ourselves on the last page, leaving us just a little off kilter for a little while after reading. Overall though, Reboot is a beautifully electrifying beginning to this series, grabbing us by the throat from page one and never easing in its grip until we reach the end, breathless and gasping for more.
More information on Amy and Reboot can be found here: