Author: Dan Wells
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Series: Partials #1
Publisher: Balzer + Bray US | HarperCollinsChildren’sBooks UK
Genre: Dystopian, Young Adult
Published: February 28th 2012 US | March 29th 2012 UK
Source: review copy from publisher via NetGalley
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
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 pulse pounding 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.
(Source: author’s website)
I was quite excited about Dan Well’s new dystopian, young adult novel Partials. For once Harper Collins produced this amazing, super-professional book trailer, which you can see below the review, on the other hand I was enthralled by the gorgeous cover. Luckily the author didn’t let me down as the book is a fast-paced, intriguing and well-constructed adventure.
There is no long prelude, the reader is thrown into the story, which starts with a remarkably sad and disturbing chapter in the future of mankind. The youngest human being in the Long Island settlement is 14 years old, though children are conceived and born, they don’t survive. Instead they perish from the lethal virus RM, which was released in the last war from the Partials, artificial human beings made for warfare. As human mankind is almost extinct, there hasn’t been any contact with another human settlement neither in America nor on any other continent, people get very desperate to keep going. In this particular case, females have to undergo mandatory pregnancies from the ago of 18 on. But all efforts have made no change so far and in the beginning of the book this age is under heavy discussion.
The dystopian civilisation Dan Well’s created was overall convincing and creeped me out on more than one occasion. He is not stingy with explanations and the history of the last settlement is explained early in the book. The idea of giving births to babies, who most likely won’t survive is scary, as is the thought of being forced to be almost continuously pregnant in order to save mankind. The more you read about the supposedly fair and democratic post-apocalyptic society the more you realise that something is not right here. This creeping feeling never left me throughout the book and a lot of my predictions and fears become real later in the book.
The whole story is told from Kira’s point of view. She is a special girl; lively, noble, proactive, impulsive, brave and utterly loveable. She carries the whole story. I love how determined she is in her cause to solve the mystery of all the dead babies. And not because she wants to save humanity on her own. No, she doesn’t want to see another baby dying, especially now that one of her own friends is pregnant. Kira is supported by a motely bunch of friends, who are almost as eager as her to change the status quo. The partials are represented through the captured Samm. He is easy to read and stays a mystery for most of the book. But somehow Dan Wells managed to make him likeable and human at the same time and I’m curious how he will develop in the sequel.
The story line was thrilling and plenty of twist wouldn’t let me put down the book. I was literally glued to the pages. The end was mesmerizing and surprising and I want to know more. I wish the sequel would be published now. Overall this is an suspense-packed novel with a strong cast in a dystopian setting, which has plenty of future possibilities.