Rebel -- Amy Tintera
Book 2 (final) of Reboot duology
This book was actually (and surprisingly) a whole lot more enjoyable than I had expected it to be... which is a strange expectation since I DID enjoy the first book a lot as well. I guess I was just concerned it would suffer as many a sequel tends to suffer after having a strong first book.
Nonetheless, it wasn't entirely an excellent book, but it was a good conclusion to this duology, and aside from some frustrating tidbits here and there, I found that the book was quite hard to put down once the action started going.
After escaping the HARC facility in Rosa and rescuing all the Reboots from the Austin facility, Wren and Callum find themselves approaching the Reboot reservation they were told would be a safe haven for them. But things don't turn out the way Wren had imagined. Meeting Micah, the intense leader of the reservation's Reboot population, she finds herself being roped into yet another role as a fighting machine. Despite the adrenaline rush she enjoys from all the action of fighting, Wren has always been a fighting machine because that was all she knew how to do in her Reboot life.
But with Callum as her guide, she finds herself questioning what she has always lived as and setting a new barometer for right and wrong, as opposed to "this is just how life is".
As life continues on in the reservation, HARC is still out there enslaving other Reboots and hunting down others. But the reservation life lead by the insane Micah turns out to be not as ideal as the HARC trained facility Reboots had imagined.
It has been at least two years (three?) since I last read Reboot, and despite recalling some things, I'm not entirely sure I remember everything that happened leading up to the book's sequel. One thing is for sure though, and that is that both of our main characters go through a great amount of development in this second book alone.
Wren's development was always a work-in-progress. Callum didn't really have much development in the first book, but his personality was enough that I liked him the way he was created. So, while I may have some conflicting feelings about how certain things were handled in this second book, I found that I DID enjoy watching out two main characters continue to grow throughout this sequel. Wren learns to make her own decisions and see things with ideal morals because of Callum. Callum learns to make HIS own decisions and see things in a less than simplistic black and white way. And the two somehow manage to meet in the middle of their moral compasses.
I think this is what I loved about the main couple in this duology. It also helped that their interactions and their romance turned out quite angst-less, very straight-forward, and easily acceptable. Wren is a bad-ass fighter who gets stuck being looked to as the leader because she's got such a strong presence; however, at the same time, she keeps turning to Callum to offer her guidance on what's right and wrong because she was only ever taught to follow orders and not give them. And so even though Callum isn't much of a fighter himself, he and Wren manage a very in-sync partnership when Callum realizes his potential for being a leader--his penchant for taking charge and planning.
Here are some notes I wrote a little over halfway through the book:
This book started off kind of slow. And there were frustrating parts as well. Mainly my frustration came from Wren's back-and-forth moral compass. Because as the read you KNOW what is right and wrong and you WANT Wren to make the correct, ideal decisions. But as a character, I realize that her development, despite being kind of slow, was quite realistic.
As I'd stated before, Wren was a HARC facility Reboot soldier since she was a child. And as a child Reboot growing up, she was only ever taught to follow orders. As some parts of the book had stated, the second chance at life she was given as a Reboot for HARC was supposedly multiple times better than the life she remembers before her first death as a human. So it's not a long stretch to squeeze her through this little moral dilemma and have her spend so much time deliberating the rights and wrongs of certain acts she witnesses as well as is being asked to commit.
While reading the book, I admit that I was frustrated with her. But thinking back on it, her back-and-forth logical reasoning made a good amount of sense.
Rebel was full of more action and more forward progress than Reboot had had. And I thought it was a nice touch that, by the end of the book, Wren finally commits to her own ideas instead of basing all of her actions on what other people want her to do. Her entire Reboot life had been spent doing HARC's bidding. Then, in the previous book, her actions were based on what she needed to do for Callum. So it's kind of nice that she finds a reason to live for herself, even if it took some time to get there.
As stated in my Reboot review, I DO like the concept of Reboot as a different take on zombies. The story progressed well and the rest of the characters had their own unique, interesting roles, even if they didn't really stand out all that much. The controversy between Humans and Reboots was a good addition in the story to highlight the stereotyping and prejudice of one group versus the other.
Rebel is entertaining, fast-paced, and enjoyable. A great conclusion to an exciting duology.
2016 Reading Challenges:
• Goodreads Reading Challenge
• BookLikes Reading Challenge
• Reading Assignment Challenge
• Bookish Resolutions Challenge