Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Reboot by Amy Tintera

Reboot by Amy Tintera
ISBN-10: 0062217070 - Hardcover $17.99
Publisher: HarperTeen (May 7, 2013), 384 pages.
Review copy courtesy of HarperTeen and the Amazon Vine Program.

Set in a future Texas where poverty and an uncontrollable virus has transformed the country.  Not only are areas divided into zones with quarantines but the poorer districts and inhabitants are left to their own devices and resources.

The deadly virus occasionally causes the dead to reanimate, alove but different from their former selves. The "reboots" have enhanced physical reflexes and strength as well as the power to regenerate and repair nonfatal injuries but they are classified as non humans and no longer hold the civil rights that they were once allowed.  The reboots are not considered to have human emotions and are brought to an isolated training facility to be taught deadly combat skills and to be indoctrinated into their new roles as agents, unpaid labor for the governing body.  Trained to serve and organized as a deadly force, the reboots are given the difficult, bloody, and unwanted support missions to the military and police - they apprehend and/or kill individuals identified as criminals or threats to the society.

Among the reboots, a hierarchy exists.  Each is known by and ranked by number which refers to the length of their "death" before they rebooted.  The most famous and feared is Wren Connolly, also known as 178, for the 178 minutes she died before she rebooted.  Wren was 15 years old, living among the homeless with her drug addicted parents when she was repeatedly shot and killed.  She reawakened in the morgue and since readjusted well to her new life as a reboot.  She took to the training, routine, and structure well and was never inclined to question orders or the rules that they now live by.  She earned the respect of her fellow reboots and their handlers as well as a reputation to be feared, even among the living humans.

The arrival of Callum 22 brings Wren unexpected complications.  Callum 22 is an almost unbelievably low reboot that he's not expected to last very long. He certainly shows little sense of self preservation when he reaches out to befriend Wren in the lunchroom.  He either does not comprehend the rules in their facility or has so little respect for them that the others await news of his injury or death.  Callum 22 asks Wren to take on his training - which would go against the norm of the highest new reboot going to Wren.  But Wren considers this to be a challenge of sorts and she's drawn to the vulnerable Callum.  He jokes around and his harmless behavior seems to win Wren's attention.  She becomes protective, attached to her trainee.

When Callum is at risk of being terminated because of his poor performance, Wren considers breaking away from her home and her life.

I very much enjoyed Reboot. Amy Tintera created a convincing and sympathetic heroine in Wren.  Wren doesn't consider herself to be human but she displays empathy and altruism, behaviors that would have been rare enough in the "human" parts of their world, much less in the facility for reboots.  Wren tries to follow the rules and orders but her sense of fair play and friendship lead her to make tough choices and put herself and her future in danger.  Fortunately, she has amazing physical strength, survival skills, and ability to reason - she has a good shot at succeeding and I found myself rooting for her and those that she cares about as they take on unbeatable odds.