Title: Partials (Partials Sequence #1)
Author: Dan Wells
Publication Date: February 28, 2014
Summary: For fans of The Hunger Games, Battlestar Galactica, and Blade Runnercomes the first book in the Partials Sequence, a fast-paced, action-packed, and riveting sci-fi teen series, by acclaimed author Dan Wells.
Humanity is all but extinguished after a war with Partials—engineered organic beings identical to humans—has decimated the 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. But sixteen-year-old Kira is determined to find a solution. As she tries desperately to save what is left of her race, she discovers that that the survival of both humans and Partials rests in her attempts to answer questions about the war’s origin that she never knew to ask.
Playing on our curiosity of and fascination with the complete collapse of civilization, Partials is, at its heart, a story of survival, one that explores the individual narratives and complex relationships of those left behind, both humans and Partials alike—and of the way in which the concept of what is right and wrong in this world is greatly dependent on one’s own point of view.
So I did an unboxing video recently for all of the books I ordered from Book Outlet on their boxing day sale and this book was the one that everyone commented on and freaked out over me needing to read it. Finally I caved in to all of the peer pressure like the wimp I am. And now I’ve got to say thanks to everyone that yelled at me for not reading this book because I really loved it.
In Partials, in the future we create artificial intelligence in the form of Partials, who look exactly like humans except they are built different internally and have things like super strength. We built them to fight in our wars and work in our factories, thinking them to be less than human because they were created; so they rebelled. What’s left of humanity, as far as they know, now live cornered off in a city, while Partials roam over the rest of America. But what’s worse is that the Partials created a virus that swept through and killed nearly everyone and now any baby that’s born doesn’t live more than three days.
Dan Wells did a great job in my opinion building this world. Because no babies are surviving, the government created the Hope Act which requires women to get pregnant at a certain age and to continue having babies as often as humanly possible. I found this to be both fascinating and horrifying. Fascinating because I sort of understood why it was happening, and I could see where the government was coming from. The more babies born, the more likely one will be born that survives. But horrifying because every single woman looses their baby then is forced to just keep having them, knowing every time that it wouldn’t live. That paired with the post-apocalyptic lands outside the city, the constant fear of attack, made this world eerie and unsettling because of how realistic it was.
Kira Walker is our main character, a sixteen year old girl who works in the hospital and records information on the baby deaths. But it’s not enough and she knows it. And when her sister becomes pregnant, she knows that she has to do something to save the baby. So she has the idea to capture a Partial and study it to see how it isn’t affected by the virus in hopes of making a cure. Kira was a really likable character to me, I admired her determination and compassion for others. She has this whole thing though where she wants to save everyone, but maybe that’s what happens when you live in a world where everyone dies.
All of Kira’s friends were pretty interesting but none of them particularly stood out to me. I liked them all just fine but they never really got lots of time or development in this book beyond the occasional conversation or scene. I did really like though that this book had little to no romance. Kira is dating Marcus, a boy she has known for years and she genuinely likes him. I liked that she wasn’t unhappy with him and just waiting for a new boy to come and sweep her off her feet. She has a good relationship with him and it showed through out the book for the few parts that there were any sort of romance moments. And with that, I was really happy to see that there wasn’t any stupid insta-love stuff. There is possibly a slight love triangle, but not really, I wouldn’t even consider it to be one which made me beyond happy.
I really liked that this book address that question about what makes people human. We have the Partials who we find out rebelled because they were living terrible lives, basically slaves, and they considered themselves worthy and alive enough to be deserving of rights. And we really get to see that when Kira finally encounters a Partial and he is more human than she expects. I love anything that really asks those sorts of questions about artificial intelligence because I think that it’s only a matter of time because we start creating advanced artificial intelligence and I wonder what it would really be like in comparison to examples we see in media today. And I definitely like thinking about them more as being misunderstood and just wanting to be treated well, rather than a violent group that wants to annihilate the human race.
I also really loved that this book made the science understandable. Kira is some sort of super science genius and it study the virus and various people’s blood and things like that. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I shouldn’t have been able to understand anything she was doing. Except, through the book, her research and thought process, as well as the virus itself, were all explained in a way I could understand. Which was saying something.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. The plot was really fast paced and suspenseful, and I never knew what was going to happen next. The only problem I had with the book, besides the lack of interesting secondary characters, was the ending actually. Without giving too much away, it felt rushed and a few out of character things happened. I definitely didn’t enjoy the last fourth of the book as much as the rest. I’ve already ordered Fragments, and I can’t wait to see where this goes. Dan Wells did any amazing job with the world and addressing questions about artificial intelligence and I had a great time reading it.