Book Review of Partials by Dan Wells

Title: Partials

Author: Dan Wells

Release Date: February 28th, 2012

Genre: Young Adult 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.

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.

Summary from Goodreads.com

My Review: I was pitched this book by the publisher who was very excited about this title. The summary looked interesting and she was so psyched so I agreed to read and review it. I am going to be honest, when it arrived at my door and I saw it was almost 500 pages, I was intimidated. However, I had heard good things about it, so I kept and open mind and started reading.

While Partials is a young adult dystopian novel, I would not put it in the same category as many of the young adult books out there. The first major difference would be the romance, while this can take the spotlight in most novels, it sits on the side burner in Partials. I thought that would bother me, but it actually had the opposite effect. I really enjoyed Dan keeping the action in the forefront of the novel. It held my attention better this way and really focused in on all the problems Kira was facing and how she overcame them. One of the major dilemmas Kira found herself in was related to her work as a nurse in the maternity ward at the hospital. You see in this world, babies don’t live very long and die from a disease called RM. Kira has decided she is going to cure this. This seems like a daunting task considering that many brilliant scientists before her have studied this disease for years and have had no success in finding a cure. That is just the kind of person Kira is though, she is eternally optimistic and wants the best for everyone around her. I gravitated to her character immediately and loved watching her navigate her way through the obstacles put in front of her.

The world that Kira lives in almost reminded me of the movie The Terminator, I know that sounds strange, but stay with me. In that movie, robots rise up to fight humans and take control of earth. In Partials, there are engineered organic beings identical to humans called Partials, who are trying to rise up against humanity. The humans who survived the Partial War more than a decade ago and the deadly virus called RM released by the Partials, have been reduced to thirty thousand people living in what used to be Manhattan. It is eerie how realistic it all was and I had to know how everything was going to turn out. This novel quickly turns into one where you are not sure who the true enemy is and you are left to riddle it out right alongside Kira.

While the first half of the book did drag a little, I was racing through the second half. The problem I ran into at first was all the scientific language and explanations. Some of that could have been taken out or just shortened so it was not lengthy and confusing. It did not put a major hold on the plot, I just had to read those sections a little slower and I did not like being taken out of the moment temporarily.

The secondary characters were interesting and there were quite a few of them introduced. The novel took almost a fantasy turn with this aspect because of the many characters introduced. It took a little getting used to, but since I read fantasy as well I did not have too much trouble keeping up. If you do not read fantasy I would not let this put you off this book, I would just bear in mind that you are going to meet a lot of people in Kira’s life. However, Dan does a great job of giving them their own personality, so it is easy to differentiate between the multiple characters.

Overall, I thought this was a great start to a new series. Dan gives you the perfect blend of action, humor, mystery and a touch of romance with a strong female character taking us on this journey. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a new dystopian that has a little bit of everything. I am eager for the next book to see what Kira will do with all the information she has acquired and how those around her will react when they learn more about her as well.

FTC: I received this ARC from the publisher.

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