Book Review of Partials by Dan Wells
"This book is dedicated to the rule breakers, the troublemakers, and the revolutionaries. Sometimes the hand that feeds you needs a good bite."
-- Dan Wells
A Summary of Partials
Partials is about a girl, Kira Walker, and her efforts to save her dystopian world from dying by curing RM, a disease that prevents humans babies from living past just a couple of days after being born. Partials are machines made with human DNA that were created by the ParaGen corporation during the Isolation War to fight in place of humans. They were successful in their purpose, but later rebelled, bringing almost complete annihilation to the world's population of humans not only through violence but also through this RM virus that everyone blames each other for releasing but no one actually knows where it came from.
The novel takes place eleven years after the Partial's rebellion, when the human population has been isolated to Long Island, while Partials reign everywhere else. As the reality of infertility begins to set in, with the school being closed down and babies continuing to die, the senate begins to take actions that hinder individual liberty, such as forcing sixteen year old girls to become pregnant with the Hope Act. As they do this, rebels called the Voice start to take even more brash actions to fight back against the senate and create more and more tension that may lead to a civil war amongst humans, something that could completely destroy its already dying population.
Kira Walker is just an intern at the hospital and only sixteen. Almost everyday she sees babies born and die and she feels that something must be done but also hopeless in the possibility that a cure is achievable. Once her adopted sister gets pregnant, however, things change. Suddendly Kira feels it's time to take even more action in trying to cure RM than to just have more babies born and die so she decides on a plan that can either be so crazy that she's successful or so crazy that she brings on the death of her species even sooner than the Voice or a civil war could.
Not only is she risking the fate of the world as she knows it, but, as she digs deeper and deeper into her own research on the virus, she begins to learn more about herself and how things are really run behind closed doors. New questions arise as she finds out that who she's always believed to be the enemy might not be exactly as she was told, and those in charge might not be the heroes they appear.
The Book Trailer for Dan Wells' Partials
The Positives and Negatives About Partials
I have a love hate relationship with this novel. Dan Wells is obviously a great writer, creating scenes I can picture and moments that made my heart race while my eyes worked overtime trying to get to the end of the chapter and find out how things play out. However, I don't think he's a very successful storyteller, which is why Partials is a book that is hard to categorize in the love or hate category and instead is just kind of stuck in the middle, dancing on the borderline with a big question mark on its forehead.
Before, reading the novel, I took a peek at some reviews written for it on the Amazon site (the link on the left can take you there). It had great reviews, culminating in four out five stars, with most of the complaints surrounding its characters and their development. One person said something about there being too many names to remember, which I think isn't completely accurate. It's not that there are too many characters to keep track of, more that they're all so similar that it's hard to distinguish one from the other, except for Kira Walker herself of course.
The story itself, while exciting at many parts, seemed to have a lot of scenes that kind of created a dead end effect. What I mean is, stuff happened but didn't really go anywhere and then never really seemed relevant later on. For example, one man gets blown up in an explosion and Kira makes a huge effort to try to save him, only to fail. In the end, their salvage trip out there, the explosion, and even his death ends up being irrelevant, except to further show the kinds of skills these kids learned in order to survive their post-apocalyptic world.
It's worth a read if you like those types of novels that don't really make you think much and if you don't have any other books lying in wait for you to finally pick up and read already. Some parts were laugh out loud funny while others dragged and seemed useless. All in all, it wasn't a waste of time but there are plenty out there that are much more worth a read.
© 2012 LisaKoski