Thursday, February 09, 2012

Partials by Dan Wells

The human race is all but extinct after a war with Partials—engineered organic beings identical to humans—has decimated the population. Reduced to tens of thousands by RM, a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island while the Partials have mysteriously retreated. The threat of the Partials is still imminent, but worse, no baby has been born immune to RM in more than a decade. Our time is running out.
Kira, a sixteen-year-old medic in training, is on the front lines of this battle, seeing RM ravage the community while mandatory pregnancy laws threaten to launch what’s left of humanity into civil war, and she’s not content to stand by and watch. But as she makes a desperate decision to save the last of her race, she will discover that the survival of humans and Partials alike rests in her attempts to uncover the connections between them—connections that humanity has forgotten, or perhaps never even knew were there.

This story has plenty of twists and turns that take you on a fun and entertaining roller coaster ride. Wells does a great job planting clues here and there, but they are so subtle that they’re easy to miss until a twist is revealed, and then they all click into place. I *love* stories that do this, and I could not put this book down because I wanted to know what else was going to happen.

The first thing I want to say is that this story is blessedly free of love triangles. Wells has effectively demonstrated how a story can be full of tension without those wretched things. The romance, too, is also a part of the story, but doesn’t take it over. I loved that.

I liked Kira, too. She’s an interesting character with inner strength, and handles herself well. Her boyfriend is on the protective side, but their relationship is based on equality—even with his urges to protect her, he doesn’t suppress her. And she won’t be suppressed. So refreshing. I’m glad to see such a healthy relationship in a YA story.

There were a couple of things that could have been done better. There are a lot of characters, which can sometimes get confusing. I also had a hard time picturing what they looked like, but was okay with that (for the most part) because the teens are strong and well-rounded so I could easily keep track of them. The adults, however, were on the flatter side and I didn’t understand how some of them were relevant to the story. But everything else was so enticing that I could overlook this.

Kira's research is the other area. I didn't quite believe that no one had looked at RM research the way she was looking at it. I think it would have felt more believable if Kira had sifted through all the other research first and she found a way to expand upon something that already existed. Still, I was so invested in Kira and her story that I could accept this (highly unusual for me).

In several scenes, Kira spends quite a bit of time problem-solving. I can see some readers finding that boring. I loved them, though, because I like problem-solving and enjoyed the opportunity to figure things out right along with Kira. For those who don’t care for this, these scenes might feel like the story is dragging. It all depends on your personal preference.

The main plot of this story concludes with a satisfying ending, but it’s clear there’s a sequel coming. I’m psyched about that, and also bummed that I have to wait so long before it’s on the shelves. Such is life in publishing. :) If you like dystopian stories with interesting characters and great plotting, this is the story for you.

For a chance to win an ARC of this book, go here and fill out the form.


Catherine Stine said...

Nice to read about a book that is sci-fi more than anything.

Kelly Hashway said...

This sounds interesting. I'm going to have to check it out. Thanks for the recommendation.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Thanks for the recommendation. I haven't heard about this book.