Review: Reboot by Amy Tintera

Sunday, April 14, 2013
Title: Reboot
Author: Amy Tintera
Genre: young adult, dystopia, science fiction, zombies, post-apocalyptic
Series: Reboot #1
Pages: 352
Published: expected May 7 2013
Source: publishers via edelweiss
Rating: 4/5

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.

Two solid post-apocalyptic dystopias in one week? And they are both debuts? When has that EVER happened? This must be my lucky week. The short story is that Reboot is fun. Three-hundred pages of fun and pure entertainment. Three hundred plus pages of intelligent zombies (hey, if you rise from the dead, due to a disease or anything else, you're a zombie in my book. Anyway.). Three hundred pages of a strong, smart, flawed female protagonist. Three hundred pages that read like a third of that. The first in a series, Reboot is one of the few books that is worth a sequel or two.

Another book that is heavy on the action, and the romance, and lighter on the worldbuilding, I didn't mind that there were some gray areas in Reboot's foundation. There are some details supplied about what led the end of the modern world and the rise of Reboot-slave labor after, but they don't constitute an all-encompassing background for the world shown. Minor subplots about Reboot experimentation by the evil controlling corporation and a brewing, underground rebellion appear early on in the narrative, and eventually emerge as major players in Wren's storyline. The facts laid down support Wren 178's plot and story, but they could be more complete. It's a minor complaint because really, at it's core Reboot is all about the action and the attraction between Wren and Callum aka Twenty-two.

The returned, formerly dead soldiers are a stronger, better, faster, far less emotional type of being, and the differences between the Reboots and their human controllers make for a lot of the tension in the novel. As one of the later returns (the surname is used to show how many minutes it took a person to reanimate), Wren 178's life as a Reboot is all she really knows or remembers. Her hatred for "the humans" is evident and serves to illustrate the firmly-drawn sides in the silent battle between oppressor and the oppressed. More tension is added to the story when Wren attempts to train a mere 22 - a Reboot returned so early that he's more human that anyone she has known in her newer life. The tension between the two is clearly of a romantic variety, but happily for the book and for me, it works. 

The romance is going to be tricky with Reboot's audience. I could tell that immediately once the love interest was introduced into the story. Unfortunately, it does fall prey to some of YA's expected love tropes, but overall, I thought it was evenly handled by a new author. It helps that Callum comes across as a real person instead of a cardboard cutout. It also helps that Wren remains a badass despite her growing more human feelings. The action of the book gets more of my attention and praise, but for a YA novel about two polar opposites, I thought Tintera wrote a credible, authentic relationship that even had a few believable and non-laughable sweet moments. I especially found the matter-of-fact and mature approach to sex to be very refreshing. Some won't like the message about sex in a YA novel, but I thought it was handled perfectly.

Reboot: come for the army of living dead teenage soldiers, stay for the fun and the action. Amy Tintera manages to pack a lot of entertainment into her first novel and first-of-series. Reboot actually left off on a perfect note - there was enough plot resolution to feel satisfied while still leaving room enough to anticipate the forthcoming sequel. I will be counting down the days to see how Tintera handles her sophomore effort, but I have faith that it will kick just as much ass and be just as engrossing and awesome as her impressively fun first. If you're in need of a few hours' diversion, or a kick ass heroine, or a romance that won't cause a sweetness overload, this is most definitely your book.


  1. Hmmm, this isn't high on my priority list, because I'd heard some things about the romance, but it sounds like a nice readalike for Mila 2.0, which I did enjoy. If I'm looking for a pageturner full of mindless action at some point in the future, I might read this one.

  2. definitely not my taste, but I just rec'd it to a dystopia friend!

  3. "Reboot: come for the army of living dead teenage soldiers, stay for the fun and the action." HA, love that line. I was never too interested in this book, to be honest, but you've got my curiosity piqued. I'm glad that, despite a few faults, this was overall a solid read. I'll have to check it out now for sure. Great review, Jessie! :)

  4. Well, I'm at least glad that you liked it more than me! I had huge issues with the romance. It shadowed anything good I would have normally felt towards the book... which is quite a bummer, I was really looking forward to this one. Fabulous review, Jessie!


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