Saturday, July 12, 2014

A new take on Zombies

I was going to start by saying that I am not a fan of the zombie genre, but if you have never really read any (except Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which was just dumb), I guess you can't really claim not to be a fan, since you don't know what you're missing. So I'll just say that the whole concept of zombies--revived from the dead, favorite food = brains, etc.--does not appeal to me, and I have chosen to ignore this trend.

I did, however, recently read sort of a zombie novel, by Amy Tintera, called Reboot. I saw her at the Pasadena Teen Book Festival, and the description she gave of her main character intrigued me, so I bought the book. Here is a summary 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.
The thing that was different about this book is that the story of the zombies is told by one of them, Wren 178, who is a compelling character. The idea of the reboot itself is interesting; but I would have liked a little more of the science about WHY they had faster reflexes, greater strength, etc. afterwards. What is it about dying and coming back that changes them so radically? I find this to be an issue throughout YA science fiction--not enough attention is paid to the science. Fiction should always be about story...but it's called science fiction for a reason, people.

Also, the back story: People die of a disease, but not all of them--some of them come back; more explanation of the reasons for that would be good. There is a battle in the past between reboots and humans and somehow the HARC gets control over the reboots and turns them into HARC's flunkies--how? I really wanted more details!

I did like the characters of Wren and Callum a lot...although Wren is completely inconsistent with her own self-description as emotionless the minute she meets Callum. I guess that's the point of putting a romance into the mix, but the plot specifically states that the older the reboot, the less emotion she feels, so how is it even possible for her to be so moved and confused by Callum? Yes, I'm overthinking it. The romance is endearing. Enough said.

A lot of people will probably love this book and its sequel, Rebel. I might read it...or I might not. Somebody else can tell me what happened, because...there's a lot of zombie-less fiction out there waiting for me...


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