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Literature / Reboot Book Series

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Not to be confused with ReBoot, the cartoon.

Reboot is a book series by Amy Tintera. It take place in an After the End dystopia where a deadly virus called KDH wiped out all of America. Only Texas, which sealed off its borders when the epidemic got bad, is left. It is never explained what happened to the rest of the world: whether it also was wiped out by the plague, or merely decided on a Quarantine with Extreme Prejudice for America and life moved on.


However, for certain people, the KDH virus did more than just kill you. It killed you, then brought you back - stronger, faster, more durable, able to heal, and a Soulless Shell or at least, the government wants you to think so. The longer you were dead, the less human you are when you return. You don't even have to die of KDH to Reboot: you only have to die, and have had KDH at some point in your life. This works on people of all ages, but adults Go Mad from the Revelation and become dangerous, Ax-Crazy monsters, leaving a bunch of Made of Diamond children and teens, complete with the Healing Factor, living among the few still-human survivors. These Undead Children are known as Reboots.

However, this is not a case of a Teenage Wasteland. Reboots are immediately taken from their families by HARC (Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation), which is the closest thing the Republic of Texas has to a government. If a Reboot is under twelve, they are sent to a holding facility until they become a teenager. It is later revealed that the under-twelve Reboots are tortured and experimented on for most of that time. Reboots over twelve are kept in a separate facility where they are trained to be Super Soldiers who act as a sort of Thought Police for HARC.


Enter The Protagonist, Wren 178. The number "178" denotes that she was dead for 178 minutes - the longest ever, which makes her the deadliest Reboot in the Republic of Texas. She is nearly invincible, faster and stronger than a human can believe, and she enjoys hunting down and killing humans who "misbehave." But her favorite part of her job is training new Reboots - not The Spartan Way part of it, but the fact that she can take weak, terrified children and turn them into soldiers - and, more importantly, survivors.

Wren 178 liked her "job," she liked the facility in which she was held, and she even liked HARC as much as anyone could like HARC. All that changed when Callum 22 became her new trainee. Callum was only dead for 22 minutes, meaning he's practically still human. He doesn't react or heal fast enough, he isn't a soldier and he doesn't want to be, and - most frightening of all to Wren - he smiles. He smiles, he gets angry, he even cries, and it reminds her of her humanity.


So when HARC decides to have him killed, Wren 178 has had enough.

The perfect solider is done taking orders.

Reboot contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: Wren, again.
  • Affably Evil: Officer Mayer, the HARC officer in charge of the facility in which Wren and Callum (and Ever) are kept, seems to genuinely like and respect Wren, even getting her out of a tight spot by bending the rules once or twice - but that doesn't stop him from murdering/threatening to murder the people she cares about.
  • Anti-Hero: Wren is definitely an Anti-Hero, at least in the beginning.
  • Badass Adorable: Wren is tiny, blond, and able to fight off five grown men with guns using only her fists.
  • Beautiful Dreamer: There are several scenes where Callum watches Wren sleep, or vice versa.
  • Blood Knight: It's stated that Wren loves "the hunt."
  • Broken Bird: Wren died by being shot in the chest, along with her parents, by her mom's drug dealer. She has some serious PTSD about the experience.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Strongly averted. Wren is constantly alone, and always the subject of gossip, but no one would dare bully her. The higher numbers treat her with respect, and the lower numbers shit their pants when she looks their direction.
  • Chill of Undeath: Wren mentions that Reboots, especially the higher numbers, feel cold and dead.
  • Defecting for Love: After Ever dies, and Callum is threatened, Wren decides to finally escape HARC.
  • Deuteragonist: Callum, in the second book.
  • The Dreaded: Wren is this to the humans of New Texas.
  • Embarrassing Old Photo: Not embarrassing, per se, but very uncomfortable for Wren. When she and Callum are on the run from HARC, they pass Wren's old elementary school. On the wall, there's a photo of her as a living child. Wren becomes agitated and her first instinct is to destroy it.
  • Emotionless Girl: Wren, having been dead for over three hours, is almost completely inhuman. Or so she thinks.
  • Everyone Can See It: All of the other Reboots, including Ever, can clearly see that Wren and Callum are in love. Might be subverted because with the exception of Ever, the other Reboots are shocked and mostly think it's creepy, because they had no idea a number as high as Wren could feel attraction at all. Also slightly subverted because Callum can see it too - only Wren doesn't get it.
  • Extraordinarily Empowered Girl: Wren can break grown men's spines, fight multiple HARC officers with guns, and keep on running with multiple broken bones, including her leg, because she's a Reboot.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Suzanna Palm, chairman of HARC, definitely counts as this.
  • Freakiness Shame: Wren feels that no one could feel attraction to a "cold, dead" high-level Reboot, which is a major source of angst until Callum proves that he apparently doesn't notice. She's also hiding huge, ugly scars from being shot in the chest.
  • Good Parents: Callum's.
  • The Heart: Callum.
  • Horror Hunger: One of the side effects of being dosed with HARC's Psycho Serum is an uncontrollable hunger for meat - including human meat.
  • I Hate Past Me: Wren feels little to no connection with her pre-Reboot self. Subverted because she doesn't hate her past self, just doesn't feel that they are the same person.
  • Horrifying Hero: The rebels think of the Reboots they have to work with as this.
  • Letting Her Hair Down: In the beginning of the book, Wren always pins her hair up so that it doesn't become a liability in battle. By the end of the book, falling in love with Callum has caused her to be a bit looser with it.
  • Love Interests: Callum.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Callum is a rare male example. His antics and sheer humanity get Wren - zombie, badass, completely inhuman Wren - to learn the value of mercy.
  • Married to the Job: Wren hardly ever socializes (justified considering she's an undead warrior with next to no emotions), but she states that she loves her job - indeed that it's the only thing capable of bringing her pleasure any more. Until Callum.
  • Only Fatal to Adults: Rebooting as an adult causes insanity and eventually (if not put out of their misery immediately) painful death. Rebooting as a child or a teen makes you a (mostly) invincible badass.
  • Open-Minded Parent: Averted. Callum's parents are terrified when he comes back to them as a Reboot, and slam the door in his face, to Callum's horror.
  • Parental Neglect: Wren's parents. They were all right when they weren't completely wasted on drugs - which was almost never. Wren spent most of her childhood alone, in the slums, often sleeping in opium dens or places like that. Ironically, the only people who ever showed kindness to her were passing Reboots.
  • The Plague: KDH.
  • Playing with Syringes: In the second book, Wren is re-captured by HARC and experimented on. It's also revealed that this happens to children who Reboot when they're under twelve.
  • Psycho Serum: The serum that Ever, and later Callum are given to make them less human and more of the Ax-Crazy Super Soldiers HARC wants them to be.
  • A Real Man Is a Killer: Averted. Callum repeatedly shows, to Wren's chagrin, that in fact his refusal to kill is the most essential part of his bravery.
  • Riches to Rags: Callum grew up in the ricos, the rich side of the city. He's shocked and horrified to see the state of life in the slums, where the Reboots do most of their work.
  • Scenery Gorn: Most of New Texas, except for the ricos.
  • Sidekick: Callum, for most of the book.
  • Small Girl, Big Gun: Wren is tiny. When she doesn't just kill with her bare hands, she favors an enormous gun.
  • The Spartan Way: Reboots' training consists mostly of hand-to-hand combat with Reboots much more powerful than them, and of having their bones repeatedly broken until they learn to keep fighting through the pain. Wren's trainer even kept shooting her until she got over her fear of guns.
  • Storming the Castle: In order to save Callum's life, Wren must find the antidote to the Psycho Serum he's been given, which can only be found in the New Austin HARC facility.
  • Super Soldier: Reboots, or what HARC wants them to be.
  • Super Team: The Reboots from the New Austin facility, after Wren breaks them out of their HARC facility.
  • Takes One to Kill One: The rebels' plan to defeat HARC - HARC is rendered unstoppable by their army of Reboots, so they plan to amass their own army of Reboots.
  • Undead Child: Reboots, especially the higher numbers, apparently still look, feel, and smell dead.
  • What Is This Feeling?: Wren does not recognize most emotions.
  • With or Without You: When Wren storms the HARC facility in New Austin, Callum is worried about the human casualties. Although this trope is slightly subverted because Callum can't technically come with her anyway, since he's hopped up on Psycho Serum, Wren still pulls this almost word-for-word on him.
  • You Are Number 6: All Reboots are known by the number of minutes they were dead - Wren is 178, Callum is 22, etc. Most Reboots know each other's names as well, but the number is an important part of their identity; for example, Reboots treat Wren very differently after finding out her number. And of course, HARC officials generally don't bother to learn a Reboot's name, but refer to them by their number. Averted by the end of the second book, when it is finally proven that the number of minutes you were dead means nothing.


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