Death used to mean the end. It meant grief, loss and emptiness for family and friends left behind. But when the KDH virus made death obsolete for some, it took on a new meaning --- fear.
Wren One-seventy-eight is a 17-year-old girl who is five years dead. A carrier of the KDH virus, Wren “rebooted” 178 minutes after dying from gunshot wounds, and now she’s stronger than she ever was. As an enforcer for the Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation (HARC), Wren can outrun anyone, survive almost any wound and doesn’t have to deal with pesky emotions, a useful side effect of being dead so long. She is feared by humans, admired (and feared) by the other Reboots and respected (and feared) by her HARC guards.
"REBOOT successfully engages with a lot of different aspects of human society, thought and feeling without wandering too deeply into well-worn zombie genre territory."
When Callum Twenty-two, one of the lowest numbers anyone has ever seen, arrives at her HARC facility for Reboot training, everything changes for Wren. His friendly manner is equally intriguing and annoying and he doesn’t treat her like a stone-faced killing machine. As HARC’s secrets begin to come out, Wren questions the relatively cozy existence she has known since dying.
The unifying concept of Amy Tintera’s story --- the prevalence of rebooting and the fear response that living humans have to it --- is a strong one, providing a vividly imagined backdrop through which to consider both the effect that childhood trauma can have on a person’s identity and that which widespread trauma can have on a community. The plot focuses on the development of Wren and Callum’s relationship, and while that development is well conceived, at times the plot suffers as some scenes are delivered in broad strokes, sacrificing tension for expediency. That is not the case for the numerous and viscerally kinetic fight scenes.
REBOOT successfully engages with a lot of different aspects of human society, thought and feeling without wandering too deeply into well-worn zombie genre territory. In the end, Tintera expresses the innate quandary of figuring out how you want to live…even if you’re already dead.
Reviewed by Dave Franklin on May 17, 2013
- Publication Date: May 7, 2013
- Genres: Young Adult 13+
- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: HarperTeen
- ISBN-10: 0062217070
- ISBN-13: 9780062217073