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Partials

Partials - PARTIALS is book one of a YA post-apocalyptic/somewhat dystopian trilogy by well known adult author Dan Wells. I haven’t read any of his books before, but what can I say – I read the premise and immediately realized that this was going to be Children of Men meets Battlestar Galactica meets hard science fiction. If the synopsis were a man, I’d marry him sight unseen. This is a great mix of themes, but at the same time, I was wary – concepts like this often turn into bad husbands who become full of their intellect and forget to do the dishes.Following 16 year old Kira, a budding scientist who is beginning her internship in the maternity ward of the only hospital left in existence (as we know), PARTIALS takes place 11 years after the Break, where the partials – artificial humans created as supersoldiers to win a war against the Chinese and then turned against all of humanity – finally ended the war and left what was left of humankind alone on Long Island. With no child born alive in more than a decade, the senate has made pregnancy mandatory for girls 18 and up – and is considering lowering that age. With attacks by terrorists and a friend’s pregnancy looming, Kira has one thing on her mind – finding a cure for the disease that destroyed humanity and every baby born to East Meadow women.I should warn you. PARTIALS is rather long. At 472 pages, it is a large YA offering, but it is chock full of some wonderful stuff. First things first – I actually enjoyed PARTIALS, even though it did disappoint me on some angles. Kira is a very strong, smart heroine who is able to piece together clues and willing to risk her life for the good of friends and human life. Although it’s never really mentioned how Kira got herself a degree in pathology and immunology being barely sixteen, it’s still refreshing to see a no-nonsense teen who has adapted to her world and doesn’t whine about it like some YA heroines. Her science-filled world is rather in depth and filled with terms you might find in biology class, so watch out! In PARTIALS, there is a strong emphasis on the plot an action over the inevitable romance, which is actually a very small part of the book – Kira’s boyfriend Marcus. Let me just say that I found this to be completely refreshing , to have a teenage character more focused on saving the world than making out with her boyfriend. As someone who heavily touts their love of Children of Men, finding a YA book that involves a similar theme – humans unable to give birth (to live children) – was very fascinating. Mixing it with Battlestar Galactica and you have me going EEEEEE! Make it a YA novel that does not steer clear of dark material and you have an automatic fan in me. The writing was also very appealing to me – clean, tight, well-paced, and no-frills. The action sequences are very well written and kept me on the edge of my seat. The ending was 100 pages of biting my nails and getting anxious…and anxious…and more anxious! But there were some iffy things…The adults… Well, what can I say about the adults? I think Wells has not really hit his stride in using adults in his writing. If you like your adults to be pretty one-dimensional and evil, then PARTIALS is the book for you. The senate was filled with people who seemed so blind and bigoted against any other possible answers than lowering the age of forced pregnancy in teenagers. You would think that people desperate to survive at any cost would actually find Kira’s plan to be a good one – kidnap a Partial and study it since they’re obviously immune to RN. Instead, they negate her plans, chastise her creativity, and make her do things in secret. In place of strong, well-fleshed human adults, you pretty much have the teens themselves. Wells is new to YA but a veteran writer. I think he does have a bright future ahead of him in the market, but I’d like to see him craft more believable teens. Pairing it with third person and Wells also created the inevitable wall between reader and character. Kira was distant at times (especially with her strange thought process in my opinion – her thoughts read 19th century school teacher, not 2083 16 year old), but I believe book two will really show us what we need to know about her.And I might be alone in this, but I actually predicted the big twist by about page 200. Then again, I am a veteran of movies/shows/books like this. The ending I saw from a mile away, and I found it to be a bit cliché and implausible, taking the easy road out instead of giving concrete evidence to support the book. The world building was mostly on point, but a lot of specific bits and pieces were never addressed, from occupations to the existence of current generation iPods in 2083 (seriously, it was described as such). A lot of 2083 seemed like 2012 except with cyborg human clone things.Wells still managed to make PARTIALS an awesome thrill ride and a foray into hard science fiction that many teens wouldn’t otherwise take. Yes, it’s a little long, and it is a little dark, but it’s definitely a science fiction epic that speaks to the reader and appeals to diverse fans. This is a book that will appeal to adults and teens alike, and I hope you get the chance to discover the action-packed world of Long Island circa 2083 soon.VERDICT: Although filled with minor issues that affect the reading experience, PARTIALS makes up for it with breakneck action and a strong heroine you can’t help but root for. If you are even slightly a fan of science fiction, pick this one up.