Date of Publication: February 28 2012
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.
Dan Wells, acclaimed author of I Am Not a Serial Killer, takes readers on a pulsepounding journey into a world where the very concept of what it means to be human is in question—one where our humanity is both our greatest liability and our only hope for survival.
There was something about Partials that called to me from the beginning. I went into the book feeling like I would probably enjoy it. The first chapter captured my attention, and the rest of the story didn't disappoint either.
Where Partials excels is in the details. There are so many nuggets of information about the world, and how it works that maybe are unnecessary and maybe, as not a med student, I'm not qualified to understand any of the medical ones, but they add a layer of reality. If you've ever looked for a truly immersive read, Partials is it. Everything is so well described, and I was pleasantly surprised that with the mix of politics and morality, the story is an intelligent read.
The downside is that the plot is not the most action packed. The story looks long but a lot of it is set up and again, details. A few very important events do happen and there is certain progression of the plot. I think Dan Wells, through his writing, promises very early on that there will be twists and there were. I was expecting a few of them, but I enjoyed them all the same.
The characters were all very interesting to read about. Kira is a medical intern, something I've never read about before. She's an idealist but a very strong moral compass. She's someone I could respect because she was capable, and I admired her strength. That being said, the story features interesting characters, but neither the characters or the plot are what really run the show.
But wait, I'm still supposed to be talking characters. Marcus was adorable and I did like him. His relationship with Kira did have its issues but they clearly share a bond. That part was exceptionally well done- Kira and all the characters had back stories and families. They were all interrelated through sibling bonds, romantic bonds, and friendships. There was a history and a background, which made Kira's plight that much more believable.
The star of Partials is the phenomenal premise and world building. So much thought and research obviously went into everything from the medical terms of the RM virus that has killed off humanity, to the behaviour and makeup of Kira's current world. There are political issues, and I loved reading about how the world would respond after a massive tragedy.
The best part is the overall mood the story sets. The tagline is that "the only hope for humanity isn't human" which pretty accurately tells you that humanity is in a rough state. Let's just say that no children are being born and they are faced with extinction. All around Kira are remnants of a previous age- old technology, old systems. It was particularly interesting to see the divide between the adults and the "plague babies". The trauma of the release of RM obviously affected everybody and there are different reasons for different ideologies.
I'll reiterate that the consideration put into Partials is really fantastic. It feels like an intelligent story because the world is so imaginative and realistic. I can't help but to want to read much more, especially after a really good ending. The book was well structured into parts and although some descriptions were a touch unnecessary, Partials felt very well put together and deliberate. In short, well-written.
I'm incredibly excited with these series. I would like to revisit Kira's world. Partials was engaging and complex, and definitely worth a read.