Top critical review
on 4 April 2014
Pseudo-zombies enslaved to do the government's dirty work? This was a plot with amazing potential, and one I felt stood out a little from other dystopians. Mostly because our heroine, Wren, was one of these secret agent-esque zombies. Unfortunately, there was a lot left to be desired.
Reboots aren't considered human and are seen as disgusting and soulless, which makes them perfect slaves for the government; they're strong, fast, able to heal, and they don't feel things the way humans do. Which means they make better killers.
Wren 178, the deadliest Reboot in Texas, is a prime example of this. Or, at least, she's supposed to be. But really Wren just comes off more bratty and aloof than anything, and her standoffishness isn't intimidating. In fact, it makes her seem just like any other teenager out there.
Yes, Wren is a good fighter, but I never really got the sense that she was truly dangerous. And I wanted to. I wanted her to begin as someone who had hindered emotions and then gradually grew. But as it was, she was still very much human in my eyes, so her interactions with Callum and how they affected her choices, didn't show the dramatic and surprising character growth I was expecting.
The book begins strong, jumping right into the action, but it fell flat from there. The initial burst of adrenaline the first couple of chapters offered, were replaced with mundane routines and quite boring and stereotypical character interactions.
When Callum comes on the scene, his refreshing ability to actually hold a conversation provided a nice change from Wren. Who apparently thinks not smiling makes you extremely deadly or something.
I liked that Callum wasn't the archetypal dystopian boy, who was perfect at everything and a great fighter. It was a nice role-reversal, to see Wren training him and kicking his ass, while Callum floundered, completely unable to fight.
The thing is, Callum smiles. A lot. Every time he speaks or does anything, he smiles. In fact, I think that's pretty much 95% of his actions and 95% of every description of him; it's all smiles. And, boy, does it get annoying.
I appreciated his humour, and found him rather witty. But there are only so many times I can read 'Callum smiled' before I want to stick a fork in my eye.
I didn't really buy their romance either. It wasn't quite insta-love, but Wren did seem to fall for Callum awfully fast, and was willing to sacrifice her life for him quite early on. It was just a bit too much too soon and, if the entire book is based off of their relationship opening Wren's eyes and changing her perspective, I expect said relationship to be more developed. And to involve more than just Wren kicking Callum's ass and Callum smiling.
An interesting side-plot, that fell to the side in favour of the romance, were the experiments on Reboots that seemed to be turning them into the good old-fashioned zombies we all know and love. I expect this will become a bigger plot-point in the sequels, however I would've liked it to play a larger part in this book. It was one of the most interesting aspects, and it seemed to be glossed over quite a bit so Wren and Callum could kiss more.
Reboot wasn't the original zombie-read I was after. It did offer some entertainment, and the action scenes were solid, but Wren fell into the typical 'love-struck girl' role, and her bad-assness dissipated as the book gained pace. The ending was great though and really intrigued me. Despite the issues I had with this, I'll probably pick up the next instalment, out of sheer curiosity. But it's not going to be something I'll rush out and buy because, really, this was a pretty average read with quite a few issues.
Favourite quote: "I think people immediately assumed I was yours, so they stayed away." He met my eyes and smiled. "I was. I am." He leaned forward and brushed his lips to mine. "Yours."
Overall rating: 3/5 little birdies
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