Synopsis (from Goodreads):
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.
If a book is hyped as a next Divergent I normally run for cover and try to find a nice essay by Wittgenstein to soothe my nerves. Still sometimes a demon of failed YA dystopias whispers sweetly in my ear that I am being unreasonable, unjust and I should give that genre some chance. Like in that old John Lennon song ‘ All we are saying/Just give peace a chance’. Right. I have never been a fan of the Beatles, not even after they broke up.
So let the post mortem begin. In this novel you get Wren who is a Reboot that was shot at 12 and then woke up after the staggering 178 minutes of being dead – a kind of grimy record. It is supposed to mean she is the toughest cookie in the entire Reboot jar, void of any human feelings and instincts. She doesn’t feel sympathy. She doesn’t cry. She doesn’t scream. She doesn’t need friends. She is a deadly silent killing machine and following orders of her masters is her second nature. Ok, maybe even her first.
One day, however, she meets a wonder-boy, Callum, revived measly 22 minutes after his death so as soft as a slug. All of a sudden she keeps on blushing every moment her crush and trainee touches her or gazes at her at all. Imagine Robocop blushing. Imagine Terminator. No? You can’t? Still you are supposed to believe that Wren 178, a girl as cold as stone, can become hopelessly and girlishly romantic as soon as she stumbles upon Mr. Right. One good thing: their romance wasn’t a triangle; however it was kind of sad that Callum’s ‘cuteness’ and ‘sweetness’ were his only redeeming (?) qualities. Oh, wait, beside that he was tall and his smile was like switching a 120-watt light bulb which, I imagine, would make a world of difference in any dystopian world *snickers*. Seriously, I wouldn’t consider it to be the best qualities of a ‘terminator-tamer’ but, after all, I hardly ever read YA dystopias for a reason.
It would be great if the world building or the narrative voice could at least make up for the failed characterization but it wasn’t the case. Approximately 25% of this novel consisted of Wren’s infodumps about her status, her dead family, her thoughtness, the consequences of catching the virus, other reboots and her ‘handlers’. Still I was left in the dark when it comes to the country they lived in, the government, the virus itself, why it has spread and how come it was so deadly because the romance story arc quickly hijacked all the rest and I had an impression it was considered the main selling point by the publisher and/or editor. As a result, even in situation of potentially great danger Wren and Callum never ceased to make out which was unintentionally comical and stupid.
Stereotypical. Boring. Unprobable. Psychologically unbelievable. Logically inconsistent. Full of failed contrivances. That’s it I suppose.