Review: Partials by Dan Wells

Partials by Dan Wells
Release Date: February 28, 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Pages: 468
Received: Purchased
Rating: 3 out of 5 Books

Humanity is all but extinguished after a war with partials—engineered organic beings identical to humans—has decimated the world’s population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island. The threat of the partials is still imminent, but, worse, no baby has been born immune to the disease in over a decade. Humanity’s time is running out.

When sixteen-year-old Kira learns of her best friend’s pregnancy, she’s determined to find a solution. Then one rash decision forces Kira to flee her community with the unlikeliest of allies. As she tries desperately to save what is left of her race, she discovers that the survival of both humans and partials rests in her attempts to answer questions of the war’s origin that she never knew to ask.

Dan's descriptions are vivid, and his pacing is great. There's not really any slow part to this book, as he keeps plowing forward with a great combination of information, plot, and action. He leaves enough to keep you ready for a second book, but wraps up enough to not make you feel like, "Well, what the heck?" In that instance, I really liked it. He definitely has great world-building skills and you feel for Kira as she reveals each layer behind the secrets she never knew existed. Marcus was great and I absolutely loved Xochi. She was definitely my favorite character of the bunch, and also displayed the most true emotion, in my opinion.

This is Mr. Wells' first foray into YA, and for me, it definitely shows. I felt as though this was an adult novel written with teenage characters. It wasn't bad, it just didn't feel as genuine YA as others I've read. There is a LOT of science behind his plot, so you need to be ready to truly pay attention to different parts of a virus, etc. to really understand what's going on. Also, the core of the story is that the human race is dying out. Every baby that is born, dies within days from a virus. For me, it just hit a little close to home, because I have a young son, so that part made me a little sad to read and imagine the loss I would have felt personally. Although, that can be a good thing, since Wells is illiciting emotion in his readers. Another issue I had was that I really didn't feel attached to many of the characters. At one point, Kira calls two soldiers "Skinny" and "Scruffy," and a lot of the characters felt like that to me - Medic #1, Senator #2, etc. I wanted to feel emotionally attached to characters. Kira says she loves Marcus, but I never really felt like she did, and then Samm...well, I wondered if anything would happen for a second, but then it didn't. Kira doesn't strike me as a girl that will stop for anyone, and I won't give spoilers, but I just felt like Kira didn't have too many hormones, and neither did anyone else. Perhaps it's because these teens had to grow up so quickly, and that would definitely attribute to it. I just didn't feel like this was a YA, and that's okay, but if that was his target audience, I felt like it missed the mark a little.

It's not that this book was bad, so don't get me wrong there. It was a good read, and I enjoyed it. It just...wasn't what I was expecting. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't my favorite book, either. I'll read the sequel, which I'm assuming there will be one, but it won't be one that I run out to get, either. Maybe you'll have different feelings and you'll love it. It just wasn't my favorite I've read.

"I've never been a real traditional guy," said Marcus. "Besides, I'm not saying I know a bright side, I just think this would be a good time to look at one."

Jayden raised his fist, and the group stopped walking.

"Jayden just heard a bright side," whispered Marcus. "There's an uplifting metaphor creeping through those bushes."

RATING: 3 of 5 Books

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