Title: Partials (Partials #1)
Author: Dan Wells
The human race is all but extinct due to a war with the Partials – genetically engineered beings – and a weaponized virus called RM. The survivors in North America live together on Long Island, where the threat of the Partials is still imminent; but worse, no baby has been born immune to RM in over a decade. Medic-in-training Kira is not content to stand and watch while RM kills every baby born. She believes the secret to RM’s cure is in the Partials – but when she and her friends kidnap one to study, she finds more than she bargained for…
I was actually really excited to read this book – so much so, in fact, that I considered buying it new (which I hardly ever do). So when I found it in the library, I was totally thrilled. I’m a big fan of post-apocalyptic fiction and genetic engineering, so I thought, a post-apocalyptic YA novel including genetic engineered baddies? Bring it on!
And seriously, I did enjoy the book. It just…wasn’t quite what I expected, I guess.
Kira was an interesting character. She was a medic-in-training, and she was really, really good at it. So I kind of had this picture in my head of a slightly geeky doctor/nurse girl. And then it turns out she can fire a gun and act like a soldier, too, and that just turned my first impression on its head. My first impression kind of stuck, though, so the whole thing felt slightly off every time Kira had a gun/acted soldiery.
Actually, one of the two problems I had with the book was Kira. And even now, I can’t quite put into words what it was that bothered me. Something just felt a little off. Maybe it was that she didn’t seem really bothered by some deaths. Maybe it was the whole first-impression thing I mentioned. Either way, I felt like something was just a little wrong about Kira’s attitude.
I really liked the science angle on the RM virus, and I found Kira’s time in the lab studying the virus just as interesting as their forays into Partial territory (and I normally prefer the action much more). I’m really not interested in (and don’t particularly like) science, but Dan Wells made it interesting.
And curing RM wasn’t the only plot. There was also the problem with the Voice, a militia group. And their government, which some suspicion isn’t completely good. And there’s the Partial threat. And a race against time to find the cure before Kira’s best friend has her baby. And Kira’s romantic problems. And the fact that the government might just force sixteen-year-olds to have kids, meaning Kira would fall into the legal (read: forced) pregnancy age.
And I’m sure there’s other intricacies I can’t remember (after all, I finished this book two days ago). The plot was delightfully multi-layered, and every single subplot managed to keep my interest.
Besides my vague issue with Kira, the only other thing I had a problem with was that I guessed the Big Reveal somewhere in the first hundred and fifty pages. I think it’s because I read too many books or something, but I had this sneaking suspicion, which I half dismissed. But then I was right. (Although it’s such a surprising Big Reveal that I’m probably just an anomaly for guessing it early.)
Er…okay, I lied. There were two other things I had a problem with. I’m not going to go into detail over this one, because that would contain spoilers of which of Kira’s friends died. But let’s just say I’m not happy. The friend who died was one of my favorite of her friends!
Methinks there’s a sequel somewhere, because I still had some questions at the end of the book. But I’m not sure if I’d want to read a book two. I enjoyed Partials, but it wasn’t fantastic.
UPDATE: The second Partials book, Fragments, was released in February 2013.