Partials by Dan Wells
Author: Dan Wells
Series: Partials #1
Release Date: February 28, 2012
Dates Read: April 5-10, 2012
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.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. Previously, I had never read anything remotely like Mira Grant’s Newsflesh series. I found this to be an unfortunate fact, as I have found those to be some of the best books I have ever read. Partials bears the closest resemblance, at least tangentially, to Feed and Deadline of all the books I’ve read. In case you do not know of my love for this series, let me break it down for you: this is a very good thing. Here are some of the things these novels have in common: The novel is set in the post-apocalyptic remnants of a world trashed by a virus. The remaining society is dystopian and built on fear. Politics end up playing an important role. The novel ends up getting really science-y. And things are not always what you expect.
The society in which Kira lives is a tough one. From the outset, Dan Wells presents the reader with a world in which women are forced to become pregnant in a timely manner under the Hope Act. Not only that, but the infants are all but guaranteed to die shortly after birth. After all, the point of the Hope Act legislation was to provide a high enough population sample that perhaps a genetic anomaly would eventually pop up, affording resistance to that infant. From there, perhaps a cure could finally be developed for the other babies. Thus it is the invariable responsibility for all women of age to get pregnant as soon as they can, and as often as they can. Additionally, all survivors on Long Island live in constant fear of the Partials, whom they blame for the more than decimation of the human race. Salvage runs out into the surrounding ruins are risky, but necessary to obtain supplies for the survivors.
Kira, a young medic, fears that they will never find a cure for the virus. However, when her best friend becomes pregnant, she becomes desperate and willing to take matters into her own hands. What results is a thrilling battle to the finish line to develop a cure. What Kira learns along the way about humans, the Partials, and herself alike leave her and the reader grappling for the truth. How can she stop impending civil war when she doesn’t truly understand the origins?
I’d recommend this book very highly to fans of post-apocalyptic science fiction and dystopian thrillers. This novel deals with some interesting issues, but it does so in an action-packed, science-filled, political gambit, pulse-pounding way that I’ve never read anything like it before (except for, as I said before, Mira Grant’s Newsflesh series). If it sounds up your alley, give it a try. You won’t regret it!