Friday, February 24, 2012

Review: Partials by Dan Wells

Dan Wells
Series: Partials, #1
Release date: February 28th, 2012
by Balzer + Bray

Goodreads / Purchase
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.
*A copy was provided by HarperCollins Children's Books for review purposes*

Intense with highly sophisticated world building- Partials is a fantastic addition to the dystopian genre. Babies don't survive and the youngest human on earth is now 14 years old. With 99% of the population gone, killed by a new epidemic, Kira is determined to find a cure to save humanity.

I have to start with Kira because she is an excellent protagonist. She is incredibly determined, and this presence throughout the novel of pure dedication to her cause is all consuming. You want her to succeed so badly that it becomes a truly captivating read. This is not her only quality; she is also strong, confident and outspoken. These are all traits that make a well-rounded, easy to root for protagonist if you ask me. I clicked with her almost instantly. She is shadowed by quite a few secondary characters as well who are equally of value to the story. Some of them are more developed than others, but they all have great personalities that really fill up the pages.

One thing that stands out from this book that actually surprised me, is the lack of a romantic plot. Yes the protagonist has a boyfriend, but we barely see them together. She's not one to forget that this is the end of the world because a cute boy happens to pass by. The plot - saving humanity - comes first! Surprising right? I do enjoy romance, but I was relieved to see that, finally, we've got a dystopian not powered by a love story.

I had heard this novel was a bit on the scientific side which made me a bit wary because me and science are not great friends. Therefore, I surprise even myself when I say that the science added to the story is what makes it the most interesting. It turns everything that is happening in this future world completely realistic, and truly alarming. Instead of simply being told that there is a virus without a cure, killing all our babies, we go in deeper with Kira researching what exactly is happening inside our bodies, and why a cure still hasn't been found in over a decade. It's not overwhelming by any means. It was neither confusing, nor boring. The only thing it made me, was fascinated.

The Partials almost made us extinct, the Voice is rebelling against the few surviving humans, this leaves us with a story full of villains. What does this promise? Intensity! It does take a little bit to get into a fast pace, but once it does it's especially action packed until the very end. We also quickly realize that there is no clear picture on who the enemy really is, or who we should trust. This essentially turns an already exciting plot into an intense roller coaster ride full of fear, uncertainty and surprise. With no shortage of dystopian novels on the shelves nowadays, make sure that this one ends up on yours!  

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