Partials

Anymore, books are the only thing that I will go out of my way to purchase.  I buy most of my books from Barnes & Noble, and most of the time when I go there, I have a list of specific books that I’m looking for.  While I go looking for specific books, it’s fairly rare that I make a trip to purchase a book the day that it comes out.  Most of the time it’s when an author that I like has a book coming out that I know I want to read.  Partials, by Dan Wells, is no exception to this rule.  Wells is the author of the John Cleaver trilogy and Partials is the first book in a new YA trilogy that was released Tuesday.  I would have started reading it then, but I was in the middle of The Child Thief.  So I read the book today, and I really enjoyed it.  On with the review.

Book Stats

468 pages

Science Fiction

First book in a trilogy

Characters

The main character of this book is Kira Walker, a 16 year old living in the remains of New York who has been trained as a medic.  While being fairly young, she acted much more mature than most of the 16 year old kids I’ve met in my life, but that’s quite easily explained because the setting of the world has forced kids to grow up very quickly.  All said, she was an interesting character who was fun to read about.  All of the side characters in the book were interesting as well, and I think that overall there was a good balance between the characters being mature because of the world they live in, but still being teenagers.

Setting

Sixty years in the future 99.99% of the world’s population has been killed because of a strange virus.  And while a small portion of the population survived the virus, they are unable to produce children who are immune to the virus, and as a result no human child has survived more than a week for 14 years.  The humans all believe that the virus was created by the Partials, genetically modified super soldiers who started a war against all of mankind.  For some reason, the Partials stopped attacking the humans 11 years ago, and all of the humans left alive in the world now live on long island.  The setting was believable given the circumstances, and while I listed the book as Science Fiction for the genre, it’s not a real heavy SciFi, which I like because Hard SciFi makes me start to zone out after reading it for a while.

Plot

After training in medicine, Kira works in the local hospital where she is trying to find a way to stop the RM virus from killing every newborn so that the human race can survive past the current generation.  She decides that the best way to do this is to examine the blood and DNA of one of the partials, since they are immune to the RM virus.  Naturally everything quickly spirals out of control and by the end of the book you’re left with some answers, but a much larger mystery remains to be solved in the world at large if anyone, human or partial, is going to survive.

Enjoyment

This book is kind of weird to review.  There was a fair amount of science involved in the overall plot, but it wasn’t so much that I couldn’t follow it.  The main overall plot really plays out like a medical mystery rather than a traditional Science Fiction story.  As I was reading it, the closest comparison I could make to the overall story was to compare it to an episode of House.  The characters are presented with a problem, and they take various steps in trying to solve the problem and cure the disease.  This is complete with the fairly risky test at the end of the book that may or may not work in the long run to cure the disease.  The science in this book was mostly related to the structure of a virus, and maybe that’s why it was easier than some SciFi books for me to follow.  The book does start out a little slow, but I would prefer that to ending poorly.  The ending of this book is a satisfying conclusion to the story, but it leaves plenty of room (and questions) for the rest of the series.

Overall Grade

A very solid beginning to what looks to be an interesting trilogy.

8/10

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5 Comments

  1. It sounds to me like the medical/scientific challenge might be what lifts this book above the latest YA fad, namely, “dystopian” novels, inspired by the success of “The Hunger Games” trilogy.

    I would have passed it by except for your enjoyment of the author and this review. Thanks!

    Reply
    • It’s easy to be wary about things that seem like they’re just trying to catch a trend, and I’ve read a couple of those. I’m planning on starting Divergent tomorrow, and even though almost everything I’ve seen about it has been positive, the thought that it’s just trying to ride off the success of The Hunger Games was in the back of my mind. This book I wasn’t as worried about because I’ve read the author before.

      Reply
  2. Great review! You’ve got me interested. I may have to check this one out….

    Reply
  3. I’ll definitely be checking this one out, I enjoyed the John Cleaver trilogy (although the last book was just okay) and with your high recommendation I bet I’ll enjoy the next series as well. He seems to really have a knack for writing teenaged characters.

    Reply
  1. March 2012 Month in Review « Reviews and Ramblings

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