Publisher: Balzer + Bray (HarperCollins), 2012
Book Blurb: The human race is all but extinct after a war with Partials—engineered organic beings identical to humans—has decimated the population. Reduced to only 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 have pushed what’s left of humanity to the brink of 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 find 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.
My Opinion: Partials by Dan Wells was hands down the best YA I have read in a long time. The plot is original, the writing is engaging, and the characters are likeable. That said, the book is definitely not without its flaws. But let me gush a little bit first.
The plot. OK, so we have biological robots, a super virus, and a corrupt government all wrapped into one shiny package. These things definitely all belong in the same sand box. I haven’t encountered a plot like this before. Dystopian fiction is usually a dime a dozen, but Wells has injected a fresh twist.
Tied into the plot are the characters. Partials is one of very few YA books where the main female character is not a snivelling twit. Thank you Dan Wells for writing a character that I not only don’t want to smack upside the head, but that I actually like. Kira is a gun-toting, medical genius badass. I love it. However, a lot of the secondary characters failed to stand out in the same way. I didn’t really feel connected to any of the cast other than Kira and Samm. Marcus, Jayden, Madison… they were all fine, but they weren’t awesome in the same way I found Kira to be. Also, the characters really didn’t read like 16-17 year olds. The plot relies on the forced pregnancy, and the main characters not remembering much of the Partial War… but a lot of the time I had to remind myself that I was reading about teenagers and not twenty-somethings.
The writing in Partials is great. There is some comedic relief, the action and story move at a good pace, and I got all the information I needed without ever feeling like the victim of an infodump. And the author really keeps you guessing.
On the flip-side, there were some pretty glaring inconsistencies that irked me a lot. When Kira is planning her great plan to go get a Partial, she talks to Marcus about leaving tomorrow, when they all agreed that it would take a while to set up, and the next section is called “Three months later”.
Bottom Line: Not without flaws, but a great read, especially if you are a fan of science fiction, dystopian fiction, stories with medical themes, or young adult reads.
(Image and book blurb courtesy of www.goodreads.com)