Friday, August 8, 2014

Rebel by Amy Tintera

Rebel, the sequel to Reboot picks up the action right where the first novel ended. Tintera employs the dual narratives of Wren 178 and Callum 22 to tell her story.

Wren, Callum, Addie 39 and the Austin Reboots they have freed from HARC are now at the border of the Reboot reservation. They are met by Micah 163 who is the leader of the reservation Reboots. Micah is thrilled to see Wren with so many Reboots. He tells them that there are at least seven HARC shuttles on their way to attack the reservation and announces that they will be counter-attacking. Micah orders Jules and Kyle, two reservation Reboots, to retrieve the shuttles that Wren and Callum took with them.

Wren and Callum have had enough of fighting but when the shuttles return to the reservation compound,Micah and Wren head out in one armed with grenade launchers. It turns out the reservation Reboots are heavily armed. During the attack, the Reboots destroy all of the HARC shuttles.

At the compound, which consists of large numbers of tents including a weapons tent, Wren and Callum learn that many of the Reboots have removed their birth control chip. They meet a Reboot baby who has the requisite bright blue eyes and the ability to heal quickly.

Wren, Callum and Addie begin to realize that the reservation is not the sanctuary they hoped for. The Reboots seem afraid of Micah and they learn that a group of approximately fifty Reboots opposed to Micah left but were killed by HARC, according to Micah.

When the hunting team which included Wren's former trainer at Rosa, Riley 157, is late returning, Micah and Wren take a shuttle to search for them. They meet up with Riley who tells Micah he couldn't find what they were looking for - which turns out to be humans. Wren is horrified as Micah, Jules and Kyle kill off every single member of a small band of unarmed humans. They shoot the adults in the head and the younger ones in the chest so they can reboot. Micah points out that they merely killed the humans before the humans could kill them and yells Wren they need as many Reboots as possible. The extra Reboots are needed because Micah intends to take down HARC at all four facilities, free the Reboots and kill all the humans in the four cities. Micah tells Wren that he was able to get to schematics to all the HARC facilities from the human rebels who think he is on their side and who have no idea what he is really planning.

Although Micah tries to explain his position, how he wants to kill HARC chairman, Suzanna Palm and how he wants to get revenge on the humans including the rebels who are helping the Reboots, Wren begins to realize that they must leave the reservation and they must somehow warn the human rebels. In an attempt to learn who among the Reboots might side with them and leave, Addie begins approaching those who might be willing to side with them. When they meet with the rebels who supply them fuel, Callum gives one of the rebel leaders, Tony a letter informing him that Micah is planning to attack HARC but also wipe out all the humans. A day later Addie is strung up for rebelling and talking about saving humans.

Shocked at what he's done to Addie, Wren fights Micah and wins to have Addie taken down. But before either Wren or Addie are fully healed they are kidnapped by Micah and thrown from a shuttle in what is known as a "drop" into HARC bounty hunter territory. They manage to kill the HARC bounty hunters and begin to make their way into Austin where Wren hopes to meet up with Callum and Riley in an attempt to free the Reboots but also to save the massacre of the human population. Wren never makes it as she is captured by Officer Mayer and Suzanne Palm and taken to the New Dallas facility to be experimented on.

Meanwhile Callum, Riley and Addie along with the reservation Reboots arrive in Austin and attempt to get the humans to help them recover Wren. However, they are not interested, instead they want to focus on ridding themselves of HARC and trying to re-establish a human community in Austin. When Callum, Riley and Addie learn of Wren's whereabouts they take the reservation Reboots and the Austin Reboots and storm the New Dallas HARC facility. Although they recover a badly injured Wren, they lose many Reboots and are forced to retreat without saving any of the Reboots in the New Dallas facility.

Soon they learn that Micah and his Reboots have attacked several facilities in an attempt to save the Reboots without regard for human life. HARC's response has been to kill all the Reboots in the facilities attacked. With Palm dead, HARC is closing down the program but not before they eliminate the Reboots. Wren and Callum know they have to come up with a plan to save the remaining Reboots and stop Micah.

Tintera has written an exciting, conclusion for the Reboot duology. Tintera introduces a new character into the story, Micah, a bad Reboot whose true character is gradually revealed as the story progresses. Although Rebel is definitely action driven, the novel's main focus is the relationship between Wren and Callum and their conflict over Micah's plan to eliminate the human population in order to save the Reboots. Wren's position is that this is a gray area, that sometimes killing is fine, while Callum who has refused to knowingly kill in the first novel, believes killing is murder. Wren struggles to accept Micah's position but she feels she has done the same kind of reasoning to save Callum and she feels his position is both logical and strategic. Because of this she doesn't feel she can oppose Micah's plan. When she tells Callum that she essentially supports Micah in his decision to kill off the humans, Callum tells her what she did is different from "committing mass murder because you can." Callum wants to believe that Wren is different than Micah, that she feels and that she hates all the killing.

Even though Callum is still attempting to come to terms with his actions when he was drugged into a meat craving killer in the Austin facility, he finds Micah's plan to kill all the humans revolting. Callum is horrified at Wren's acceptance of Micah's plan because of her past claims to hate killing. Callum realizes that he continues to do everything Wren asks him to and that he's waiting for her to take action and develop a plan to save the humans. As the story progresses, Callum grows to accept the responsibility that to save the humans, he must be the one to initiate a plan. With Wren missing, Callum does take the initiative, overtaking Micah and setting out to meet Wren in Austin to save the Reboots AND the humans.

There are plenty of interesting secondary relationships too in this novel, between Wren and her Reboot friend, Addie, whom she saves from torture and also the reconciliation between Callum and his brother David and his parents.

Tintera ends the novel on a hopeful note with both Reboots and humans forming a tentative alliance as they learn to live together. Overall a great conclusion to a fresh take on the zombie theme and kudos to Tintera for resisting the temptation to make this into a trilogy.

Book Details:
Rebel by Amy Tintera
New York: HarperTeen   2014
340 pp.

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