DNF Review: Reboot by Amy Tintera


Rating: * / 1 out of 5
Genres: Young Adult, Dystopian, Science Fiction
Published May 7, 2013 by Harper Teen
Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository

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.


DNF at 54%. I think that warrants a rating and a review.

I do not get this book. At all. It’s also hyped to be the next Divergent, and as much as I didn’t really love that series, it was far and significantly better. This one is simply full of clichés that I hate in mediocre YA books and inconsistencies that would put certain politicians to shame. I’m really trying hard to find a reason to give this book at least a two, but so far, I’ve come up with none. Nada. Zero. Zilch. It was a painful struggle from the very beginning, in which I just plunged deeper into the mud page after page, until I called it quits at 54%, because, you know, I don’t want to die in the mud x= . But also because it felt like punishing myself when I didn’t do anything wrong.

So why did I toss it in the DNF file? Here’s why:

First and foremost, the most infuriating factor of all, the heroine. She was not only annoying and boring, she was also inconsistent. Wren is a reboot that woke up the longest – 178 minutes, to be exact – and she tells us this resulted in someone who’s void of any human feelings and is therefore an empty shell. She tells us she’s the best among her peers, and she attributes this to her being emotionless. But I find that very hard to believe when the girl keeps on blushing every time the love interest, a twenty-two joe with no redeeming qualities whatsoever who she describes as still very human, touches her and gazes at her. Not only that, we find her being angry all the time, sad all the time, guilty all the time, and of course overwhelmed-by-her-desire-to-kiss-the-love-interest all the time.



You’re considered the mofo of this corporation, the terminator devoid of all things human, Rambo personified, pretty much Bruce Lee x Chuck Norris x Arnold Schwarzenegger during the days when he still didn’t have man-boobs, and you falter and go woozy over a guy who suddenly appeared out of nowhere?! As you said, the higher the number, the emotionless you are, the lower, the more human feelings you retain, but bro, it seems to me you’re more human than this average joe who keeps on smiling all the time over fricking nothing! Gosh. She made me so angry. The inconsistency was just damning. Insta-love at its finest, and an insta-love that didn’t make any fucking sense. I couldn’t help but wince every time she felt like tipping her toes, because, you know, she’s so small (but terrible), in order to reach those oh-so-beautiful lips! HOW MESMERIZING. *gag*

The love interest, Callum, like I said, was average, boring, and a freaking failure in his role to be the voice of reason between the two. So, this guy is introduced to us as the lowest Reboot, having woken up in only twenty-two minutes. He’s described as still being human and all that, and because of this, he’s almost always the one who tries to be the higher person when it comes to situations that challenge their morals. “No, I will not kill someone!” “No, I will not allow them to transform me into a monster!” “No, I will not look at your chest because I’m more than that!” “No, I will not hit a girl!” Yada, yada, yada, blah, blah, blah. It would’ve been fine, but his character and delivery were just SO bland. There was no charisma, there was no sense of conviction behind the words, it didn’t feel natural. THERE. It felt like he was forcefully put there because you know, someone needs to tame the terminator of the group, right? I literally cringe everytime he goes happy-go-lucky with his supposed to be inspirational and encouraging lines that only felt like being grated by a cheese grater. BEHOLD AND PREPARE TO CRINGE:

“Do it again,” he said, bouncing up and down in happiness.
“Do what?”
“Make you a deal. If you’re able to punch me, I’ll laugh.”
“You’re so weird.”


In the 54% that I read, it felt like everything else centered on their romance, and I’ve read enough to know that the rest won’t be any different. It felt like the story only moved because the heroine only wanted to save her guy, not seeing the bigger and greater picture. Why do you even want to save this dude, anyway? x_x It felt like reading Obsidian, with all the focus on the two and whatnot, that it just felt disappointing. I read other reviews and they said later on there will a lot of kissing, and honestly, I don’t want to read a smoochfest, I want to read a kickass dystopian YA book! RAWR!!!

World-building was lacking, too, and it left me totally dissatisfied. As other reviews here have stated, it felt like we were put in the middle of a situation and not given enough elaboration. There are some, but I could hardly call explanations as they were mostly passing. There was this scene where we find out Adult Reboots are crazier and more dangerous than teen ones, and the only reasons we get for that are (non-verbatim): “their brains are more fully formed” and “us teens are more adapted to change as we always go with the flow”. Full of plotholes bigger than “yo mama’s so fat” jokes.


The narration was also, in my observation, an all-tell-no-show style. I didn’t feel connected enough to any of the characters as I’m always told what they kept on doing every fricking second. It felt like if they moved their hand one inch to the left, it would have been included. Example:

I buttoned my pants and sat down in a chair next to him, quickly strapping myself in. My hands shook as I folded them in my lap, and I glanced over to see Callum staring at them. I pressed them together tightly to make the shaking stop, but it didn’t work.

Ever caught my eye when I raised my head, and gave me a sympathetic look that made the pressure in my chest worse, not better. I focused my gaze on my lap.

When the shuttle landed, I trailed out last. My trembling legs didn’t work right anymore. I fell behind as the other Reboots marched across the roof and down the stairs.

Callum stood at the top of the stairs and waited, holding the door open for me. I gripped the rail as I wobbled down the stairs on my stupid little legs.

YAAAAAAAAAAAWN. Are we there yet, mom?

Seriously, the narration bored me to tears. Where are the feelings? Where are the thoughts of the heroine? I want to know her more! She tells me she’s sad, then show me! She tells me she’s angry, then show me! How did it make you feel during this scene? I don’t want to know what she did, I want to know what she felt (oops, she was emotionless, wasn’t she?), what she thought. I don’t need to know what she’s doing every minute, every second. That’s completely unnecessary.

Overall, I don’t recommend this book. At all. Especially if you’re looking for a dystopian YA read. There are better books out there with more substance, with more character development, and an even more credible romance. Sorry, book, but ’tis the truth.

Final Verdict: 1/5 stars

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A 21 years old Filipina who loves books, games, languages, and most especially, food. Secretly wishes to be an astronaut so she can explore the stars. Has a love-hate relationship with Philippine politics. To get in her good graces, offer her Foie Gras, Or shrimp. Or a JRPG. A YA sci-fi book works, too. You can follow her on twitter here: @kawaiileena


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  1. says

    Lol, so I definitely agree on the romance. It was not good. Wren didn’t retain any part of her reboot self, and I think that’s ridiculous. Sure, love might make you a bit more open and make you smile, but you don’t go from complete reserve to making out everywhere and blushing non-stop.

    As for the rest, my low standards for dystopian fiction at this point probably helped. The audio may have as well. That can cover up a lot of weaknesses in writing/character. Or maybe I just like it more. Who knows?

    However, I disagree on Divergent being way better. That’s a hell no for me. O_O

    • FayeFaye says

      Okay, in highsight, I realized I may have been rash on that comparison. I don’t really remember Divergent that much, though.

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