Author: Dan Wells
Release Date: February 28, 2012
Format: Advance Reader's E-Proof
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Humanity is all but extinguished after a war with partials—engineered organic beings identical to humans—has decimated the world’s population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island. The threat of the partials is still imminent, but, worse, no baby has been born immune to the disease in over a decade. Humanity’s time is running out.
When sixteen-year-old Kira learns of her best friend’s pregnancy, she’s determined to find a solution. Then one rash decision forces Kira to flee her community with the unlikeliest of allies. As she tries desperately to save what is left of her race, she discovers that the survival of both humans and partials rests in her attempts to answer questions of the war’s origin that she never knew to ask.Combining the fast-paced action of The Hunger Games with the provocative themes of Battlestar Galactica, Partials is a pulse-pounding journey into a world where the very concept of what it means to be human is in question—one where our sense of humanity is both our greatest liability, and our only hope for survival.
I was pretty excited to read this book! As a result of my massive dystopia overdose recently, my expectations were extremely high for Partials. Unfortunately, it paled in comparison to the other dystopias I've read over the last month, like Under the Never Sky and Incarnate. And I would not compare it to The Hunger Games like the book's summary does. Partials was given some pretty big shoes to fill, and going in with thoughts of The Hunger Games proved to cause a letdown. I'm not saying this book wasn't good. I'm very intrigued, and plan to read the next book. My advice to you would be to take the book at face value and not expect it to be as good or as great as a book that pretty much knocked the genre out of the ball park. I'm going to break up my review and bold the highlights, just in case you're a skimmer. :)
1. It took quite a while (like half the book) to build up to something really on-the-edge-of-your-seat exciting. There's some minor action and a lot of science talk in the beginning of the book, and pages and pages of thoughts and explanations with not a lot of character interaction. Like I said, though, about halfway through it things really pick up and I had a hard time putting it down from that point on. I'm not going to say much about the plot because I think the story is more exciting if you discover it on your own. There was a few surprises nestled in there, that were very eye-opening and interesting to learn about.
2. We are kept guessing a lot. Who do I trust? The partials, or the humans? I kept jumping back and forth from one to the other. I felt sorry for the partials. They were engineered for a selfish purpose (to help the humans win a war), and thrown out to pasture when they were no longer needed. They were essentially abandoned with no way to make a life for themselves. I'd hate the humans too, if that happened to me. And then I felt sorry for the humans because their venture backfired, and most of their species died as a result. They both had reasons to hate and deceive each other, but they really needed to get along in order to survive. It was hard to know who was right. And on top of that, there's a third group of people: The Voice. They are a group of humans who rebelled against the Senate for establishing the Hope Act, which forced all girls 18 and older to be pregnant pretty much all the time and produce as many babies as possible, in the hopes that one of them would be immune to the virus. In 11 years, not one baby had survived. That's a lot of death. So really, I felt bad for everyone, found myself siding with each group at different times, and was never really convinced who was right! It was pretty entertaining.
3. My favorite character was Samm (a partial). He actually seemed the most humane and the most realistic. He risked the most in the hope of finding answers. I liked that even though he was engineered to be an emotionless fighting machine, he seemed to have a conscience and a thought process that was extremely human. I found myself rooting for the partials more than the humans, because I felt it was not their fault. The humans made them this way. But again, I was having a hard time sticking to one side. Haha. I liked Kira, but she was a little too self-destructive for me. I liked her boyfriend, Marcus as well. I would have enjoyed getting to know him better. The supporting characters were well done, but forgettable after a while.
4. The end was action-packed. I really, really liked the last 10-or-so chapters. It was definitely my favorite part of the book. Dan has some great suspense scenes, and his writing style was gripping. I went from casually reading when I had time, to staying up until 4:00 AM and reading until I could not keep my eyes open.
5. There were a lot of questions raised throughout the book, but Dan did a great job of wrapping some of the major ones up. There was still a cliff-hanger ending, but it could have been so much worse! Right up to the end, I was biting my nails. New crazy things kept happening, and I kept worrying the book was going to end right then and there. Then I'd click the "next page" button on my Kindle, and I'd see I had at least one more page to lessen the impact of the ending. You will be satisfied with the ending, but curious about where the next book will take you.
Overall, I enjoyed the book. You need to take it for what it is, and not go into it with grand expectations. You also need to be patient and read a ways to get to the good parts. It was very a multidimensional story, and I appreciate that. It gives young adult fiction a good name. The plot was complex even though the original premise of the story is simple: humanity is becoming extinct. The characters were likable, although I never grew close to any of them. Dan Wells's writing was enjoyable to read. He gave lots of details, and created some exciting, action-packed scenes. Fans of post-apocalyptic dystopians will enjoy this, and crave book #2. I definitely think it's worth the read, and will appeal to many audiences.