Series: Partials Sequence #1
Published by: Balzer & Bray on February 28, 2012
Genre: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult
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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.
Combining the fast-paced action of The Hunger Games with the provocative themes of Battlestar Galactica, Partials is a pulse-pounding journey into a world where the very concept of what it means to be human is in question—one where our sense of humanity is both our greatest liability, and our only hope for survival.
It did take me a little while to settle into this book. I was really excited to learn about the world and the characters, but the first 50 pages started out a little slow. But around page 150 or so, things really picked up and I got completely hooked! Like “OHEMGEE, MUST SLEEP WITH THIS BOOK AT NIGHT SO NO ONE STEALS IT” hooked. This book is everything I love and more: strong heroine, deathly virus, biological robots, war, dystopia, and conspiracy. It’s a perfect example of why I adore the dystopian genre, and it has become one of my all time favourites!
In the midst of the Isolation War against the Chinese, an American company called ParaGen created some biological army robots called Partials, hoping that they would help them win. The Partials did win the war for them, but afterwards, they turned on their creators and launched a new war against them. During the war, they released a weaponized virus that killed 99.996% of the human population, leaving only a few immune survivors on Long Island. It has been over a decade since the RM virus was released and humanity has a new problem: no baby has been born immune to the disease.
In a desperate attempt to cure RM virus, Kira sneaks beyond the borders of Long Island to capture a Partial. She’s convinced that Partials, who are immune to RM, hold the key to developing a cure to the virus. But once she captures a Partial, she begins to realize things about these robots that she had never considered. What if they had an ‘almost’ good reason for turning on their creators? What if they weren’t the ones who released the RM virus? What if there’s something larger and darker going on?
Partials deals with a lot of science. After all, it is about a deadly virus and biological machines. The bulk of the story is about Kira working as a researcher, trying to analyze the RM virus and find a cure, so we read about a lot of scientific terms and experiments. It’s far from dull though! While reading it, I was just as excited and eager as Kira to learn more, even though I know very little about science.
But what really makes this story fascinating is being able to hear from both sides. The humans and the Partials had a terrible war, but in the book, we get to hear from both the human side and the Partial side. It’s fascinating to read about their different perceptions and thoughts. Kira grew up learning that Partials are horrible, evil robots. But when she meets one, she finds herself listening to it and sympathizing with it. But the Partial is held in captivity, so as a reader you can’t help but wonder if the Partial is actually telling the truth, or if he’s just spreading lies as part of his plan to escape or infiltrate the human civilization.
As much as Partials is about biological robots and viruses, it is also about politics. The small government on Long Island likes to have control. But the harder they try to save the human race, the more control they exercise and the more crazy laws they implement — like the Hope Act, which requires everyone 18 and older to get pregnant as often as possible. I loved reading about the Senate in this book, the laws they passed, the way they tried to keep control, and the way the citizens rebelled against it. At first I almost didn’t know which side to take. Sure the government was a bit overbearing, but you could also understand where they were coming from and their desperate desire to save the human race. But soon enough, we start to see conspiracies and lies popping up, that intrigued me even more!
I loved Marcus and Kira’s relationship! At the beginning of the book they were already dating, and I thought that was such a refreshing change! Almost all books these days have a romance that is only just beginning. We watch the characters crush, have doubts, and fall in love. While that can be nice, it can also get a little routine. But in Partials, the two characters are already dating. They have a really sweet relationship and it’s so nice to see them act like a comfortable — but still great and romantic — couple. They did have their arguments, and their ups and downs (some of which were really frustrating!), but don’t all relationships? It felt very real and I loved reading about Kira’s feelings for Marcus and her doubts about their relationship.
I am so glad that Partials exceeded my expectations! I had high hopes for this book and it didn’t disappoint. It reminded me of some of my favourite robot/virus movies like I, Robot and I Am Legend. I’m dying to know more about Kira and the Partials and can’t wait to read the second book, Fragments.
Here’s a short quote from Partials that really shows why I love Marcus and Kira’s relationship. 🙂
“You are now officially the oldest person I have ever drawn blood from in the maternity clinic. Now, just take two of these and you’ll feel better in no time.” She learned in and gave him two quick kisses.Partials by Dan Wells, pages 105-106
“Mmmm,” said Marcus, grabbing her by the waist, “how many of those did you say to take?”
“Just two,” said Kira, “but I suppose it couldn’t hurt to take more.” She leaned in again, licking her lips, but he stopped her with his hand.
“No,” he said firmly, “as a medic I just don’t feel comfortable with it. Medication is nothing to play around with—what if I overdose?” He pushed her gently away. “What if I become addicted?”
Kira pushed back toward him. “You are such a geek.”
“What if I build up a tolerance?” he asked, his face a rictus of mock horror. “Two now and two later and suddenly two won’t be enough—I’ll need four or eight or twenty just to take the edge off! Do you think I can handle that many kisses?”
Cats like biological army robots too!