Author: Amy Tintera
Length: 365 pages
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.
Protagonist: Wren was dead for one hundred and seventy-eight minutes before she woke up as a reboot. Supposedly the longer you remain dead the less human you are once you make the reboot transition. With the highest death time at her HARC (Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation) facility she's nearly a mindless obedient weapon. Or at least that's how she comes off during the beginning of the book. Over time it seems, with Wren at least, that the higher numbered reboots aren't less human but have a tougher time accessing and identifying their emotions. Wren's character development is rather amazing. At first I was a bit perturbed that Wren's emotions seemed to come out so quickly, but as I read I realized that it was done in a genius way that totally works with the story.
Romance: So the romance is a rather large plot in this book, but still finds a way to not overshadow the main dystopian plot. Wren and Callum have a really cute romance and while it may seem out of place at times in this action-packed dytopian adventure, it strangely works. Also, Wren and Callum have a fairly balanced relationship, usually in the bad-ass female heroine books the men in their life seem to get emasculated along the way, or in some instances seem a bit feminine themselves, but in this book Callum and Wren both have their hero moments and have a great equilibrium to their relationship.
World-Building: At first I thought this story and world might have been an alternate world such as with The Hybrid Chronicles by Kat Zhang where there was a dystopian feel but it didn't take place in our future but, in this case, in a world where people can "reboot" after death. Instead it does take place in our world and how "rebooting" is actually very interesting and not something I would have thought of. Another aspect of this book I overlooked was how some people were calling it a "zombie" book, but the synopsis never came off that way as the reboots seem to have intact minds and don't crave the sweet flesh of humans. However, there is something in this book that does tip it a bit more into the zombie genre. Overall, this dystopian/zombie world was written well and really comes to life in this story.
Predictability: I have to say, while I did pick a few things out the bulk of this book was unpredictable. Really a lot of the time I wouldn't be too far off, but then there would just be moments that took a long time to process because I just couldn't wrap my head around what happened. In one instance I knew why it happened and why it had to happen, but it was just so, not out of the blue but, unexpected that I had to stop reading for a bit to process what just happened.
Ending: So I did feel that the final confrontation seemed pushed until the very end, however it was so epic hat I could barely fault the author for holding it off for so long because of the sheer amazingness that it held. With this being a duology, I never got the feeling that the story was half over, so I'm hoping that the next book doesn't feel too rushed, but there was a cliffhanger ending that would have tormented me for weeks after reading it so I'm very happy that I waited until the second and final installment was out to pick this book up.
I'm on a serious roll with the books I've been reading lately, I think this is the third 5 star book in a row I've reviewed so far. Hopefully the end of this duology won't break that cycle, hint, hint that's what I'm reading next!