Thank you to TorDotCom and Netgalley for the review copy in exchange for an honest review. This does not change my opinion in anyway.
Book: Hard Reboot by Django Wexler
Release Date: May 25th 2021
Tags: Adult | Sci-Fi | Old Earth | Novella | Big Robots | Mecha | Mecha Fights | LGBTQ+ | F/F Relationship
Trigger/Content Warnings: Ableism | Much alcohol consumption | Blood | Gore | Death
Other books by this author I reviewed
City of Stone and Silence | Siege of Rage and Ruin
Kas is a junior researcher on a fact-finding mission to old Earth. But when a con-artist tricks her into wagering a large sum of money belonging to her university on the outcome of a manned robot arena battle she becomes drawn into the seedy underworld of old Earth politics and state-sponsored battle-droid prizefights.
Is it time to get back to the books, yet?
I’ve previously read Wexler’s YA trilogy so I was happy to try one of his adult works. And I was not dissapointed.
If by chance the synopsis with the seedy underworld of old earth politics and the like puts you off from reading this book, don’t be. Because it is not really about that. It’s about Kas, stepping out of the rigid rules of being a junior researcher. And about Zhi, on rebuilding an old war robot used in defending the old earth. It is about them clashing from their wildly different worlds but growing closer together.
I think what I liked the most about this novella was the world. This future where a majority of us have left Earth. Where later immigrants are looked down upon. Where there is still also life upon Old Earth as it is now called but that it is a hard survival to maintain any kind of life there. The wildly different and yet also subleties in the different cultures is what made this novella for me.
And of course the robots. I used to watch the Gundam shows and all but I don’t think I’ve ever read a book about robot fights like this (there is sleeping giant but that doesn’t quite count in the same way, does it). Where it fits with what we humans would do. There used to be (and probably still is) so many underground boxing prize fights. Like these robot fights where everything is allowed. We like to pretend we are all neat and clean but when you are in survival mode there is no room for that. And the nitty and gritty is what can offer a full stomach or not.
I also enjoyed the characters. Kas is from the neat and clean world but is soon dragged into the gritty reality that is Old Earth. Zhi has lived it for her entire life and she doesn’t know anything else. While their first instinct was to distrust each other they end up helping each other. Kas is intrigued by the ancient robot and Zhi needs it as her life line. And with that they grow closer together, forming a relationship of need and maybe a bit of love.