Review: Hard Reboot by Django Wexler

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Rating: 7.0/10

Synopsis

Django Wexler’s Hard Reboot features giant mech arena battles and intergalactic diplomacy. When did academia get to be so complicated?

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?

Review

Thanks to the publisher and author for an advance reading copy of Hard Reboot for review consideration. This did not influence my thoughts or opinions.

Hard Reboot is a Pacific Rim / Real Steel cocktail with a love story kicker. How can you go wrong with monolithic humanoid mechas duking it out with monstrous blades for cold hard credits? The answer is simple: YOU CAN’T.

Let’s get straight to the point: I was absolutely SOLD when the synopsis hit, but what took it over the top was that amazing cover art by John Anthony Di Giovanni.

*grabby hands x 1000000*.

After reading the novella, I have to say it is pretty incredible how perfectly Giovanni illustrated two (2) of the mechs. It is always nice when a book cover can help you more immerse yourself even more into what you are about to read / are currently reading.

As far as the writing goes, I found Django’s prose a little difficult to get on track with in the very early going but settled in nicely once the sparks were flying (in more than one way *wink wink*). This could be from trying to rack my brain around the fact that I actually had time to read for once or simply just the constant brain fog that has been addling my mind since the beginning of the pandemic. I did feel that the pacing flowed nicely, though there was a bit of a slog between beginning and end that had a nice little uptick around the half way point.

While the focus is on the obvious “Giant. Freakin’. Robots” like Mr. Neuvel has stated, there is a nice little mushy gushy infatuation going on between the two (2) mains that was enjoyable to see play out. Having said that, my one knock was that, while you get to see the story from both vantage points, it doesn’t truly add anything to the story. The characters aren’t fleshed out enough to become wholly invested in either one beyond seeing how the story ends. I think I would have rather read the story simply from Kas’ POV and kept the page count down.

All in all, this novella produces a blockbuster’s worth of entertainment in about a 1-2 hour read, depending on your speed. It is definitely worth your time if you enjoyed movies like Pacific Rim or Real Steel, or maybe the anime series Mobile Suit Gundam Wing.

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