Book Review: Hard Reboot

Django Wexler

Rating: 4 out of 5.

published: 25th May 2021
spoilers? nope


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?

Galley provided by publisher

If you’re looking for a novella that you can devour in just a few hours, Hard Reboot is for you. At once a self-contained story, but that leaves you wanting more of the world, it’s a book I highly enjoyed reading.

The story follows Kas, a junior researcher come down to Old Earth, who ends up embroiled in a con by Zhi, accidentally betting a lot of money she doesn’t have on a mecha fight. When the mecha she bet on loses, she still owes, so she follows Zhi in an attempt to get out of it. Which, obviously, leads to them to go all-or-nothing on a second fight, to each get out of the debts they’re in.

(Which, also, I realise is a massively convoluted way of explaining the plot.)

I think what I liked best about this book is just how seamlessly the worldbuilding fit into everything. Obviously, novellas don’t have time to info-dump or to go in-depth into everything, but here I felt the balance between telling you some things and letting you pick up on the rest was perfect.

Add onto that characters that you can easily sympathise with, and who have a great dynamic, and you basically have yourself the best kind of novella. In fact, they’re sort of characters that you want to know more about. Django Wexler, if you’re reading this, how’s about a sequel?

I mean, really, in the end, if I had any issues it’s that it was only a novella and not a full-length novel. I suppose all I can do is go back to waiting for Blood of the Chosen now.

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