Published: 1st June 2013 by Allen & Unwin
Format: Paperback, 384 pages
Genres: Post Apocalyptic, Science Fiction
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'5 years ago, I died. 178 minutes later, I woke up.'
In this post-apocalyptic thriller a deadly virus mutation sees teenagers raised from the dead and trained to be vicious soldiers until Wren, the deadliest Reboot, joins forces with Callum, the most innocent, to try to overthrow the organisation that has corrupted their world.
Another case of a supposedly kick-butt heroine falling to pieces the first time a cute boy looks in her direction. Although it is based around an awesome idea – young victims of a deadly virus can come back to life and are used by the government as assassins – Reboot is surprisingly boring and failed to hold my attention or excite me in any way.
The longer a person stays dead before being Rebooted, the further removed they are from humanity, and the better they are at killing in cold blood. This is the whole premise of this book. Our protagonist, Wren 178, was dead for 178 minutes, which makes her the best assassin the government has at their disposal. Wren doesn’t feel, or even understand, emotions: she’s cold and uncaring, but she kills really well. So you’ll have to forgive my exasperation when she meets Callum 22 (dead merely 22 minutes before Reboot, generally weak and too human to survive as an assassin) and suddenly starts having all these feelings. Guilt, sadness, despair, empathy, love. Wren could always feel anger, so it’s a little unclear why she claimed she couldn’t feel the rest of those emotions, and then equally unclear why the introduction of the cute-but-weird boy would suddenly provoke Wren to emote.
Another thing that frustrated me to no end was the training process of the new recruits. Firstly, I had Divergent flashbacks on almost every page. Secondly, I have no idea why the training process involves the breaking of so many bones, the glorification of the pain and violence. When bones reset, they are generally weaker than they were when unbroken. So why would anyone think it’s a great idea to train these assassins by breaking all their bones and resetting them, time and time again, and then expect them to perform well in the field. It makes no sense. Also, how are the Reboots still alive? Are their hearts beating? Are they still growing? They’re obviously not zombies, not really. Why are their eyes white but the rest of them relatively unchanged in death. In fact, why are they generally better looking, faster, edgier, than they were when they were alive? Why, why, why. I have so many questions, and not many answers.
I’m not even going to talk about the romance. Just, urgh.
The plot failed to engage me in any way. The only thing I was remotely interested in throughout this book was the mysterious injections Wren’s friend was being given, which turned her into some kind of flesh-craving monster (a real zombie!). This plot-line wasn’t explored well, in my opinion. It was conveniently forgotten or overlooked in favour of the romantic element, and was unsatisfying in the end. The other cool thing was the idea of a safe haven for Reboots who didn’t want to work as assassins for the government, but again, this avenue isn’t explored deeply enough for me.
Fans of Divergent, wanting to read about fighting and romance with a dystopian backdrop, may enjoy Reboot a lot more than I did. I, however, find it difficult to point to any aspect that I truly enjoyed, and have to express my extreme disappointment in this book that brings absolutely nothing new to an already saturated genre. Move along kids, nothing to see here.