Wednesday, October 24, 2012

YA Week: Partials by Dan Wells

Author: Dan Wells
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Date of publication: February 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.

Partials focuses on Kiera, a 16yo medic who decides she has had enough of watching babies die and takes up the cause to find a cure for the RM virus.  This sets off a string of events that bring her to learn everyone is keeping secrets.  She was 5 when most of the world's population died.  She has grown up in a seemingly hopeless world.   Because of The Hope Act, any woman age 17 and up must be pregnant as often as possible.  Kiera is quickly approaching this age and is desperate to change things.

Partials was a compelling book in many ways. I ultimately did enjoy it, but the book took me on an emotional ride.  Throughout the book, I felt for the survivors and the hopelessness of their future.  No baby can survive past 3 days of life due to the virus.  The youngest child is 14.  The Human Race will die out eventually.  I also felt frustrated reading the book because the actions of some of the leaders seemed to make no sense.  In eleven years, no one has come up with the same idea as Kiera?  Their only idea is to keep having babies and study the newborns as they die.  That was just disturbing and I was surprised there wouldn't be more depressed women walking around.  When Kiera approaches her superiors with an idea, they immediately reject it because they still hate the Partials.  Seriously, if the human race is in the balance, why wouldn't you give it a shot?

Kiera is a strong and tough female character but she does have the capacity to show emotion and compassion.  I was happy to see that there was no love triangle. Even with Samm in the picture, I didn't feel there was a real potential for one.  I hope it stays that way.   I really did like Marcus.   He was such a sweet guy who loves Kiera immensely and just wants to keep her safe.  I really felt for him as he realizes he has to let her do her thing.  There is a whole cast of characters who round out the story nicely.

There is so much packed into this book that I could go on forever.  I know this book will keep me thinking for a long time.  The next book, Fragments, comes out in February 2013.  Since Partials ends on a cliffhanger, I am eager to read what happens next.  If you are looking for a great YA novel with a mix of Sci-fi, dystopia, and lots of action, give this one a shot.  There are no language or sexual situations, so I say it probably would be OK for the over 14 crowd.

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