May 15, 2012

Book Review: Partials by Dan Wells

Partials by Dan Wells
(Partials, #1)
Release Date: February 28, 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray; 468 pages

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.

Long Island, New York - 2067. The human race is dying. The youngest person alive is nearly 14 years old. Babies only live for three days before they die. No one knows how to save them. No one knows how to save the species.

Kira Walker is a sixteen year old orphan, just like most of the teenagers left. They lost their parents, their siblings, their friends, everyone in the RM epidemic that killed 99.9% of the human race. She recently became an intern in the maternity ward but never realized how hard it truly was. To study these infants knowing that in a few days after they're born, they're going to die. When her best friend becomes pregnant, she's more determined than ever to find a cure and save her friends baby. The government thinks the best way to solve the RM issue is to get as many woman and girls pregnant and continuously studying each newborn baby. The way they see it, a baby is likely to survive eventually, right? There is a Hope Act in effect that makes it mandatory for any woman eighteen and over to become pregnant within two months of their 18th birthday. Unfortunately, no cure yet so there's talk of the age being lowered to sixteen.

How is lowering the pregnancy age going to help anything? It's just going produce more dead babies...this government is sick. There is a group is rallying against the government's Hope Act - they call themselves the Voice. I have to say, if I lived in this world I think I'd be a member of this rebel group. I just can't imagine being forced to get pregnant over and over again only to lose this child you grew attached to for nine months.

Kira has a close group of friends whom she loves and trusts more than anything. Her witty boyfriend, Marcus, best friend Madison and her husband, Haru, Madison's biological brother and soldier, Jayden, her adopted sister Isolde and Xochi. Kira realizes the best way to cure the RM virus is to study a Partial, their known enemy. Partials are soldiers created by people years ago to help win a war. Partials retaliated years later and apparently activated the RM virus that killed most of the world. Her head doctor, who is also part of the Senate, refuses her request to capture one for study. You can't tell Kira no, she won't listen. She gathers her friends and some rogue soldiers to go in to Manhattan (where nearly a million Partials live) to capture one for studying. This go astray but she does succeed in capturing a Partial.

The government agrees that studying the captured Partial is the right thing to do and allows Kira to take up this study. Things get interesting from there...and a lot more dangerous for everyone in the story.

This book was unlike most books I read, not in the plots per say but just the fact that you learn so much while reading. There's so much information regarding medicine and research that you feel you're actually in the room with Kira while she's doing her study or theorizing. As she's beginning to realize what's going on or what might help the cause, you are as well. It feels like she's your research partner and it's a fun feeling, to literally feel like a part of the story.

So you're probably wondering why I'm giving this book four stars then, huh? I've been thinking about whether to give it four or five stars but I really struggle to get really attached to the story for the first quarter to third of the book. Besides being entertained by Marcus, it was kind of boring. I really like to be sucked in to a book from the very beginning, I think that is what makes a GREAT book. But this is definitely one I recommend reading. It may be slow in the beginning but not slow enough that you won't want to continue with it. It's worth the wait, this book is just so good that I am really excited for the next book.

*highlight to view spoiler* I don't believe Kira is 100% Partial. She aged and Partials don't age. I think she's a new breed of Partial, maybe half human? I'm curious to find out what she finds out about herself. I'm extremely torn, too. I really really REALLY like Marcus, his personality is so amazing and one I don't see much of in YA adult books. (Most love interest men in books aren't as snarky as he is, in my opinion) Buuuuut at the same time, I really am attached to Samm. Kira is stuck in the middle, literally. Because she's not fully like Samm (whose a Partial) but she's not fully like Marcus (whose a human). *sigh* *spoiler*

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