Book Review: Partials

Title/Author:  Partials by Dan Wells
(Partials #1)

Genre:  Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia, Post-Apocalyptic

Published:  February 28th, 2012 by Balzer & Bray

Hardcover, 470 pages

How I Got This Book:  Put it on hold ASAP from my library and got it first!

Why I Picked It Up?:  Well, for starters, beautiful cover.  Then there is the summary blurb, plus it’s a Sci-fi dystopia and post-apocalyptic (with a deadly virus!!!)!  Yes, please!

Book Jacket Blurb:  “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 thread 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…”

My Review of the Work:

Eleven years ago, 99.9% of the world’s population was wiped out from a rampant virus that was released by the Partials–1 million created beings with military purposes that turned against humans, thus starting the Partials war.  Now, the roughly 50,000 human beings with immunity to this virus have settled on Long Island, re-establishing a government and trying to rebuild the world that was lost.  But the virus that wiped out most of humanity is still killing–in the eleven years since the end of the Partial War, not one single newborn has survived more than three days.  Researchers have been busy trying to find the cure, and the government has established the Hope Act, a new law that requires all women 18 years and older to get pregnant and continually get pregnant, in the hopes of finding a baby with immunity.  But the babies are still dying.

Kira is a sixteen-year old who is going through her medic training in the maternity ward.  As more and more babies keep dying, Kira takes it upon herself to do her own research to find out why the babies keep dying, and in doing so she comes across the only untested possibility:  the Partials immunity to the virus.  This discovery thrusts Kira and her friends into dangerous territories, both with her own people and with their sworn enemies.  But the survival of humanity is worth the risk.

I had been keeping an eye on this novel and waiting anxiously for it to come available at the library.  But honestly, I didn’t really have any sort of expectation with this novel.  I was excited about the premise, but I didn’t expect to be completely enamored and drawn in to this story so quickly, and to close a novel completely and totally happy with every element of the story.  This story is, to me, YA in perfection.

First of all, the world building is phenomenal.  This post-apocalyptic, dystopia world becomes real for the reader.  This is a dying world, with people trying to figure out the key to ensuring humanity’s survival, yet the government seems more concerned with keeping the living alive for as long as possible.  As adults, who knew the world before the Partial War and the Break, they are trying to create the government to simulate that world in which they grew up.  But for the teens like Kira and Jayden and Marcus and Xochi, who are considered the Plague Babies, a world without a future is just as dead as a world with no one in it.  Which is why they are rebellious–not just because they are teenagers and they are “supposed” to be, but because they can’t imagine a world with no future or purpose.

What I absolutely appreciated and loved about this novel is that, in this post-apocalyptic set up, for once each person’s actions and decisions are both rational and realistic to the situation at hand.  Yes, we have an oppressive government, but in their eyes they implement laws like the Hope Act because they feel like they have no other options.   And then we have Kira, who is willing to risk her life to try and find the cure to save humanity because she cannot fathom living in a world with no purpose, with no future, with no hope.  And she is right in her actions.  And the senators are right in theirs.  And when they confront each other, you can see that they all want the same things, but some are not willing to risk what they already have to ensure survival.  Kira is, though.

Dan Wells does not lack on developing each and every character in this novel, from the main characters like Kira and Samm right down to the minor of characters, like Soldier One and Soldier Two (they have names really, but they don’t matter because they are in the book for like 30 pages).  I think this can be attributed to the world building, to the fact that when the human population is right at 50,000 people, each and every person is important to society.  This premise carries over to the characters–each one is deliberate to the story, each one is important, and each one is well-developed.

The other thing I want to mention in why I adore this novel is the inclusion of the science into the plotline.  Kira is researching this virus for a cure, and we as the reader walk with her as she analyzes and discovers things about this virus.  There is a lot of science in this novel, especially in the middle, but it adds so much to the development of the story (and I assume the series).  We learn and Kira learns, which allows readers to once again feel involved and invested into the story–it makes this story a reality for readers.  While we only see the affects of the virus in The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe, Partials allows us to understand this destructive force of nature intimately, which allows us to completely understand how the story unfolds, because we know why the Partials become necessary for the survival of the humans–because we are there learning while Kira learns and realizes the key.

And what is a YA series without a little romance?  The unique [and simple] thing about this novel is that, as the novel opens, Kira has a boyfriend with whom she has been with for years.  So rather than having two characters meet and fall in love, etc (or the dreaded instalove scenario), we have two individuals who love each other already.  Instead of the highs of new love, we get the struggles (and dare I say realities) of a relationship.  Kira and Marcus have disagreements and fights and they go through all sorts of emotions together.  But it is completely realistic.  And I love it.

Partials is a fantastic opener to a series that could easily become my favorite.  Dan Wells pays delicate attention to each and every detail of this novel and is intentional with every sentence he writes, making Partials one of the best Sci-Fi/Post-Apocalyptic/Dystopia series out there.  I would recommend this series to everyone who is a fan of said genres, and I feel you will not be disappointed.

My Bookshelf Rating:

A Top Shelf Book!

Wow!  This novel is literally everything element of a darn good YA novel wrapped into one single book!  It has fantastic world building, strong and believeable characters, and (of course)…killer virus post-apocalyptic scenario, complete with all of the scientific research (which I love because I am a total dork!)!  Seriously….I enjoyed every second I read this novel (which wasn’t that many because I FLEW through this one).  If the rest of this series is just like this book, I think this might become my favorite YA series.  =)  Love ❤

Love and Ritz Bitz Sandwiches with Cheese,
Jennifer

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