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Friday October 11, 2013 MYT 7:00:00 AM
Friday October 11, 2013 MYT 6:55:47 AM
By TASHNY SUKUMARAN
There are vampires, werewolves, fairies, witches, trolls (apparently they’re not only beautiful, they have magical powers too) ... the list goes on.
Cutting through all the saccharine-sweet nothings and frustratingly-fraught cross-species romances comes Amy Tintera’s Reboot, a futuristic sci-fi take on zombies that blends fast-paced action, mystery and some – just some! – romance.
Thanks to films like Day Of The Dead and 28 Days Later, we’re used to the idea of zombies as drooling animated corpses or mindless humans, either fiendishly bloodthirsty or rotting and eager to feast on human flesh.
But in Reboot, zombies are closer to superheroes than anything else.
Set in the near future, a mysterious virus known as KDH has killed a large number of the human population.
However, some don’t stay dead. Certain individuals – the strong, the young – are “lucky” enough to rise from the dead, only now they are stronger, faster and able to heal from grievous injuries in moments. The longer they’ve been dead, the nearer-invincible they are.
Although I say zombies, it’s worth noting that Tintera has put her own spin on the urban horror figure.
Reboots bleed and keep ageing even after reanimation, they aren’t rotting, and are capable of human emotion.
These “reboots” are tracked down by what passes for a governing body in this dystopian world, the Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation (HARC).
HARC kills all adult reboots, claiming they are dangerous. But teenagers and children are used to form HARC’s army, ostensibly to protect humanity’s future.
They are sent out into the slum-like cities to apprehend or kill criminals, KDH survivors who don’t turn themselves over to HARC, adult KDH survivors, and other supposedly unsavoury figures.
Reboot focuses on HARC’s deadliest soldier, teenager Wren Connolly, who died five years ago for 178 minutes after being shot in the chest.
Being dead for that long makes her incredibly strong, cold and emotionless – the perfect soldier.
But, that changes when she meets Callum Reyes, who was dead a pathetic 22 minutes; he’s practically still human, Wren notes. He’s uncoordinated, goofy and disarmingly friendly, but Wren takes a shine to him and decides to train him, hoping her tutelage will lengthen his lifespan.
The lines of good and evil are clearly drawn in Reboot, especially for fans of any post-apocalyptic film: the corporation is always the bad guy.
The book is a real page-turner, and Tintera is excellent at world-building, adding in little details and human nuances that make the book a pleasure to read.
The plot really comes to a head when some of Wren’s less-talented peers mysteriously fall ill after visits from HARC staff, and become feral, craving raw meat, and acting sluggish and bad-tempered.
When her best friend dies after a bout of strange behaviour, Wren decides something is amiss.
But only when her superior officers order her to kill Callum for asking too many questions is she spurred to stage an escape with him.
She teams up with human rebels who want to return democracy to the world and begins a mad scramble across New Texas to an almost-mythical “Reboot reservation”, where her kind live undisturbed.
Reboot has all the elements of a great read: mystery, a realistically-paced romance, action, a window into the hardiness of the human spirit, and a commentary on accepting others and yourself.
Although the novel leaves many questions unanswered – What exactly is the KDH virus? Who runs the Reboot reservation? What is HARC really up to? – the promise of answers lie in the sequel, out next May.
In the meantime, Reboot is a rollicking, well-paced story that leaves you wanting more, while still being a self-contained adventure that will please readers who just want to veg out with a fun book.
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Leadership, Books, Amy Tintera, Reboot, review
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