Review: Partials by Dan Wells

February 21, 2012 Balzer + Bray, Dystopian fiction, Harper Collins Publishers, YA 7

After a war against engineered beings identical to humans, known as Partials, human kind is nearly extinct. Roughly 40,000 individuals have survived the virus known as RM. The Partials have retreated, the timing of their return unknown. The plan to repopulate civilization is thwarted when babies are born unable to survive the first few days of life before becoming victims of the virus. The governing body referred to as the Senate is so desperate to prevent the complete devastation of the human race that they lower the mandatory pregnancy age to 16. Every girl of this age must become pregnant by any means necessary (including insemination) and as often as possible.

Kira is a sixteen-year-old medic in training. Unable to continue to watch newborn babies die within hours of their birth, she decides to take a desperate step toward finding a cure for RM. She uncovers a link between humans and the Partials, a link the powers that be want to keep secret. She learns that the source of their survival is the Partials themselves, thereby also revealing a secret about her own identity she is unprepared/unwilling to accept.

The first book in a new apocalyptic series, Partials forces readers to truly examine what it means to be human, reevaluating the concept of humanity.

I’m familiar with the author, Dan Wells, from his John Cleaver series: I Am Not a Serial KillerMr. Monster, and I Don’t Want to Kill You. In Partials, Wells creates a world just as terrifying as that in the Cleaver series just with a different monster. Reminiscent of one of my favorite television series, Battlestar Galactica, human kind is decimated by organisms it created. Average citizens are forced to take on roles they would have never imagined. The majority of the characters are teens. In a normal world, they’d be talking about prom or college and the like. Instead, their lives are put on fast-forward, forced to produce without the niceties of love.

Wells’ descriptions of this brave new world is stellar; the world he describes is literally a skeleton of the one before it. References to our everyday culture, destroyed by war, are quite chilling. The world, devoid of a rich human population, continues to go on without us, erasing all traces of human life.

My only complaint: the characters. There were many, many characters to keep track of. While the major characters were memorable, the minor were just tidbits of the story I couldn’t recall. I found myself actually overlooking the characters names, fast-forwarding to the scenes with Kira and the other more vital characters.  Since this is the first in a series, I’m hoping that these background individuals make a return and are built upon to create a well-defined cast of characters.

Another major kudo: the romance. Remember a few weeks ago when I ranted about young adult novels with the mandatory romance? Well, Partials does indeed have a touch of romance, but fortunately that is all put on the back burner. How can one be worried about love when the survival of the human race is in jeopardy?

Other than this minor complaint, the entirety of Partials was spot-on. The pacing was fast (hello, I read the entire book in an afternoon.). The storyline, while at face-value not unique, ultimately transformed into a truly unique and engaging story.  I look forward to the rest of the books in this series, learning more about the fate of humankind. Recommended.

This review is my contribution to Dystopian February over at Presenting Lenore. Stop by to check out all the fantastic events taking place this month!

I’m pleased to have an extra advanced reader copy (ARC) of Partials for giveaway! To enter, please fill out the form below.


7 Responses to “Review: Partials by Dan Wells”

  1. Bibliotropic

    I’m in the middle of reading this one now, and it’s not bad so far (not very far into it, I admit, so I expect it’ll really pick up soon). I’m very pleased to hear about the romantic aspect of the story, though. I’m more of a fan of romance when it’s a side-dish rather than when it’s the main course.

  2. Lucy
    Twitter: readingdate

    I have a copy of Partials and it sounds great. Glad to hear it is fast paced and the world building is well done. Your comment about romance in YA made me smile – it does make more sense when romance is on the backburner when lives are at stake!

  3. Cecelia
    Twitter: celialarsen

    I wasn’t sure if this one would be up my alley, but you and Lenore have convinced me to give it a try. Nice review!

  4. Stephanie
    Twitter: Ashbychick

    Awesome! I have totally preordered this! I love a good dystopian/sci-fi series!
    Also I read Helpless by Daniel Palmer that you recommended and it was fantastic. I read it all in an afternoon. So great!

  5. KimvA

    Great review! This book sounds great. Definitely high on my wishlist now. Thanks for the giveaway!

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