Eager reader of history, mystery, classics, biographies, steampunk, lit fic, science, scifi, and etc. My reviews are mostly positive--I rarely finish or write about books I don't enjoy. My TBR is too high for that.
Rebel is the second book in a duology featuring Wren, a slight but focused and fierce seventeen year old girl who reanimated (rebooted) after death and was trained to be the perfect fighting machine in a dystopian post-viral infection Texas, but its fast action plot and cool world building aren’t, to me, the best things about the story--the wrenching but thoughtful character evolution is what kept me flipping the pages. Wren is supposed to be the baddest of the bad because she took a full 178 minutes to come back to life, and the longer they are dead the faster, stronger, more emotionless and less human reboots are, but from the start, and even more in this second book, Wren struggles with nascent emotions and an uncomfortably changing understanding of right and wrong.
In the last book Wren and her boyfriend Callum helped free a large group of reboots from their slave-like, police-warrior working conditions, but as this sequel opens they discover that the rebel reservation they’ve struggled to find is not a free, comfortable, utopian place for reboots to live their lives in peace, but is instead just another repressive, violent dictatorship, this time under the rule of a vindictive reboot commander instead of the powerful government authorities. There is a serious crack in their relationship when Wren’s first impulse is that she and Callum should just head out on their own, she’s sick of fighting and killing, while Callum wants them to stay and thwart reboot commander’s rampageous plans.
Wren and Callum are a great, well-balanced pair and a romance formula role reversal with a lot to learn from each other. Wren is the best fighter around while Callum is the one who’s in touch with his emotions. Callum also has a light-hearted side, adding humor to the story, and since he took only 22 minutes to “reboot” after death Callum’s skills and perceptions are very different from Wren’s so they both play crucial roles in the plot.