Reboot-HC-CoverReviewed by Marcus Hammond

Reboot by Amy Tintera opens to a bleak, dystopian future where a super virus known as KDH has sent civilization into a tailspin. KDH is an instant death sentence. However, the virus alters the genetic codes of those affected and causes them to revive after death. Who revives and when they revive is a gamble. Some revive after a few short minutes of death, while others, like Wren, revive after several hours. The only constant with KDH is that those who revive come back stronger and less emotional. Wren’s historic reboot time makes her the perfect tool for the entity known as HARC to use in their plans to control the remaining human population.

The concept of being an outcast is a heavy focus throughout this novel. Reboots are viewed as abominations to the natural order and are only see as mindless slaves for HARC to use in rounding up other reboots and criminals. Tintera does a great job of developing Wren and the minor characters as misunderstood and abused members of society. While HARC places the reboots into situations deemed too dangerous for humans, and experiments on them with drugs to make them more like zombies, Wren struggles with long-forgotten emotions about her death and a sense of loyalty to her fellow reboots.

A theme throughout the book is Wren’s inability to feel anything but the animal instinct to hunt and kill. As the strongest of the reboots she is expected to train other high number reboots to excel at hunting rebellious humans and reboots alike. When she takes Callum 22, the most human of all the reboots, on as a trainee she begins to realize there is more to life than HARC’s directives. This corresponds directly to her decision to trust Callum, as he teaches her that she still has the ability to love.

Callum 22 serves as both the love interest and emotional catalyst. As an under-sixty minute reboot, Callum is still very human. He feels love, sympathy, and hate. As Wren’s training of Callum proves to be ineffective both of their lives become expendable. As they run from the omnipresent agency, Wren begins to realize she still has the ability to feel emotion, which in turn makes her a very dangerous enemy to the oppressive institution.

Reboot is a young adult novel that takes the emotional turmoil of The Twilight Saga, the dystopian hopeless of The Hunger Games, and the popularity of zombies to create a surprisingly original teen sci-fi drama. At times, however, the themes of sexuality and violence may cross a line into being a little too heavy for younger readers. Overall, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the novel.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

After obtaining a Masters in Liberal Arts and Literature Marcus has dedicated most of his time to teaching English Composition for a community college in the Midwest. In his down time, he spends time avidly reading an eclectic selection of books and doing freelance writing whenever he gets the chance. He lives in Kansas with his wife.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by HarperTeen. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.