Reboot -- Amy Tintera
Book 1 of Reboot duology
**This review was originally posted on Goodreads in May 2013. But I figured it wouldn't hurt to also post this review alongside my review of Rebel, you know, just because I can. :P This is an exact copy and paste of the review I wrote in 2013. The format of my reviews have changed since then.
This is a very strong, decent debut for the series and the author, and I was hooked almost immediately. A fast paced read, simple and straight forward with a butt-kicking female main character who "saves the day" over and over again by being her kickass self.
I'll have to admit, while I'm a strong advocate of balance among genders, I can't say that I don't get a little more excited by the main female character being the stronger, more badass of characters in the story. That Wren was supposedly the strongest of the Reboots because of how long she was dead before coming back to life, and that it clearly shows to be true through actions and NOT just as a narrative description made this book one of my more favored ones of the dystopian/YA genre so far.
Like I've mentioned in other reviews before, the main female character sometimes plays a very hefty hand in making or breaking my love for a book.
As for Callum, he was just so darn adorable and sweet. I would love for him to start kicking ass too, but really, as long as he maintains his adorable sunshine and rainbows attitude, I'm going to enjoy having him around. It doesn't fail my observations that the main male character is typically a dark, stoic, strong, and very alpha-MALE personality. It's not that I don't like those either (I love them when they're hot and caring and respectful and the perfect Mr. Perfects), but they DO get overused and boring, and so when you get a male character like Callum who just radiates sunny days (or even like Wes from The Archived who's more comedic and optimistic cuteness than tall, dark and strong) they stand out a lot more, in my opinion.
I love both types of guys (when written right), but you have to admit that the same formula of couple-dom (strong man protectin' his woman from everything in the world) can get a little overused. So I liked the couple chemistry and dynamics in this particular story quite a bit (also one of the reasons why The Hunger Games was one of my favorites). It's not that I always want a dominant female to a beta-male -- I enjoy a good, well balanced alpha-male with an equally strong female who can hold her own with or without him, just as much.
Of course, character description isn't the only thing that makes a book good. The plot and concept were equally enticing -- just the concept alone was a hit for me: Reboots being people who have died and come back to life because of a KDH virus that somehow restarts your entire system, body and mind. We draw a whole new line with this "walking undead" premise, seeing the "zombies" from their point of view rather than as the brain-dead, flesh-eating monsters that are normally seen in traditional zombie movies and the like. Instead, despite death and being raised back into the living, Reboots still live and feel like normal human beings. No matter how much Wren opposes the idea that she has human emotion, you can see almost immediately that she feels the same things that normal humans would feel: pride, arrogance, anger, indifference, fear, joy...
The pacing and writing was well done; the underlying conspiracies and broken government devices were explained decently. The ending was rounded out very well.
I am looking forward to seeing what Wren would do for herself, however, since she'd lived as a Reboot drone, then chose to defy HARC because of Callum. Nothing she's done so far contributes to "what does Wren want" and has mostly been influenced by other people. I'm not saying it's a bad thing, because it propelled the story forward, getting it where it needs to be. (It might be too early of me to decide, but just due to the characters alone, I might like this one more so than I liked The Hunger Games.) The only downfall is that the world seems a little underdeveloped, still, and I hope that more things will be addressed in the next books to come (I'm going to assume that this will be a trilogy, as is the norm for almost all the YA fantasies out there now).
Reboot was a nice, fast-paced read, action-packed with few to none dull moments. There were a few traits and quibbles here and there that seemed to fall short for me, but overall, I enjoyed the book a lot and look forward to the next book in the series come 2014.