Story: Wren lives in a world devastated by disease and a plague. Humanity goes on but has greatly changed: the plague brings some people back from the dead, imbuing them with heightened abilities (strength, healing). The longer a person was dead before the plague reanimates them, the farther they are believed to be from humanity/emotions. They are the rebooted – and enslaved as muscle for the government. Wren was dead the longest of any person she knows – which should make her less human. But when a new reboot, a young boy with one of the fastest reboot times recorded, joins her group, she will find out just how human she truly is.
Wren is quite a tough cookie and I enjoyed reading her character. Love interest Callum, however, was pretty much a handbag through most of the story. He should have provided moral compass to Wren’s supposedly inhuman state but instead came off as a vapid puppy. I kept hoping it was all an act and that he had a secret motive – but no luck there. He never really provided the ‘awakening’ which should have been the payoff of this particular dystopian plot.
Also problematic was Wren’s supposed ‘robotic’ inhumanity. All the blushing, worrying, sadness, reflection, introspection, curiosity, and other emotions killed a lot of that – we are told one thing but shown another. As such, I feel this might have worked much better if told strictly from Callum’s viewpoint only.
There is quite a bit of action and I genuinely liked Wren’s character even with the inconsistencies. For once, the job of ‘doing stupid and fairly deadly actions if not in a novel’ fell to the guy rather than the girl. Honestly, there was no reason he was kept alive, no reason why Wren found anything interesting in him, and the whole ‘smile and laugh, joke and flirt, even though both your arm and leg was broken a minute ago by Wren really beggared belief. If our characters don’t feel danger or pain, it’s hard to take them seriously.
This was a 3.5 star read for me. I would have liked more solid world building, consistent characters, and less YA dystopian cliche. But at the same time, it kept me reading with the action and I will continue with the next book in this duology.