Author: Dan Wells
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Publish Date: February 28, 2012
Genre: YA, Dystopian
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.
Kira lives in a world where life is bleak, and the good really do die young. At 16 years old, she works as a medic in the hospital maternity ward, watching as the 5000th infant dies in the ward. Babies don’t live anymore since the Break, and scientists, doctors and researchers are trying desperately to find a cure for the virus that continues to plague all. Kira’s world is one where all must abide by the Hope Act, forcing all fertile girls to begin breeding at just 18 years old. Kira knows there has to be a better future, but when she decides to look for the cure herself, Kira begins to learn there is more to the world around her, her race and even the Partials, who they fear the most.
It’s been a while since I’ve read a post-apocalyptic novel, and I meant it that way. To be honest, they seemed a bit tired to me, and I’ve felt a lot of them have become formulaic and predictable. Dan Wells, however, decided to throw a wrench in what I thought with his novel, Partials. Rabidly entertaining and every bit the deliberate, slow-burning novel, the content, the writing and the characters sear their way into your memory, making you feel as though you, too, are living in the year 2076. Rather than simply painting a bleak and barren world, Partials presents to us a world that is utterly destroyed, separated into factions and has ripped at the seams. To put the pieces back together, you must lose yourself in a world that comes alive with each turn of the page.
Kira is one of the first female MCs in a long while that completely struck me with her tenacity and her strength. From the start, her demeanor and her voice were strong, despite her circumstances, and in a world in which women are merely destined to be breeders, she stands out beautifully. Partials also manages to paint a series of enemies so vastly different with multilayered ulterior motives that keep you guessing; wondering which side is actually right and when you’ll get the answers you seek. The Partials, too, were quite the enigma, though Samm’s character painted the novel in varying shades of gray. There was a part of me that loved him throughout, and there was a part of me that was both fascinated and terrified of him, as well. Partials is extremely sophisticated in its take on the YA genre. It doesn’t demean itself by dumbing down the content or glossing over the gorier elements. Instead, the novel lets the brutal elements singe the beautiful ones, tainting it with tragic beauty. There are overriding themes of military, science and politics, but they’re never cloying – simply fascinating arcs that lead the story line.
All in all, I was thoroughly impressed by Partials. Rich and engrossing, it was exactly what I needed to break out of my book funk. I give it a 5 out of 5, and with a cliffhanger ending like that, I can’t wait for the next installment! I recommend this book to fans of YA, dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction.
I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.