Sunday, October 20, 2013

Just Starting Up

Dystopian, to me, is getting a little old hat. Maybe it's the cynical, "everything sucks and will continue to suck so bad that everything is really going to suck one day" nature that today's teen readers have seemingly adopted, or maybe it's the utopian idea of a spring-like renewal that has always pushed youth towards revolution, that made this genre a YA windfall for early adopters... but I'm getting kind of fed up with fiery femmes fighting against Big Brother in hollowed-out shells of former America (see: Divergent, The Hunger Games).

However, while there are some good adapters of this familiar set of tropes, the majority are nothing but cheap and flimsy shells of the genre (Here's looking at you, terribly constructed dystopian world of The Selection). My question is, are there any talented popular-wave-riding writers out there anymore? Where are my pro-status pop-genre-surfers?

Amy Tintera, it seems, is one of them, because Reboot is one significantly bad-ass dystopian extravaganza.

The novel follows Wren Connolly - dubbed 178, due to the number of minutes it took for her body to regenerate after her death, at the ripe age of twelve years old - who is a stoic, efficient robot of a Reboot, now at the age of seventeen, well considered a veteran, being that Reboots don't usually survive nearly as long. But other Reboots aren't Wren, someone who was dead for so long, it's almost as if she lost all threads of humanity along the way. So when Callum, with 22 minutes dead before Rebooting, shows up in the new batch of recruits, no one expects him to last very long, including Wren. But, for whatever reason, she soon finds that she wants him to; in fact, she'd do anything to make sure he isn't eliminated, because he makes her feel so... alive.

Whne it comes to giving the people what they want, Tintera scores a home run with not only a vibrant and dynamic heroine, dystopian future, and typical young-underdog story typical to YA, but with zombies, rigid class systems, super-cool tech, and a swoony guy to fight for (yeah, that's right: she's the one kicking butt here). It's like a smoothie made of all your favorite fruits, but ten times as sweet, because now you're dealing with bounty hunters, mysterious government-controlling corporations, and actual threats of death, instead of gross things, like blueberries.

The pacing is enough to give you whiplash, too, clipping along at a positively breakneck speed, and filling each second with some thing new, exciting, and awesome.  That isn't to say that it doesn't develop, however, with actions and dialogue standing in for artistry and development. In fact, the frenetic inner-workings of the novel highlight an equally dynamic shift: Wren's gradual reversion to a vaguely human state, all thanks to the return of one of the most essential things to human life, to her life... Love.

The biggest problem I had with the novel was one I've heard repeated by more bloggers than just me: when the time came to fight some battles, there was a general predilection to kiss instead. I mean, I get romance, but when there's people charging at you with guns, it's time to hustle, kids, not make out. Keep sitting there sucking face, and you might as well kiss your butt goodbye, because I think you're in trouble.

Still, improperly-timed romancing aside, Reboot is a successful and well-constructed dystopian world, unique to it's genre, with perfect pacing and solid build, as well as a very sweet romance nestled in the middle.

1 comment:

  1. I can't wait to read this book! I've heard really good things from some of my Goodreads friends lately, and now your review has totally convinced me! I love well-written dystopians, and I really want to find more of them. I can sometimes get into books like The Selection that aren't crafted as well, but you're right, they are kind of getting a little old.