In his first installment for his new trilogy, Dan Wells introduces readers to a post-apocalyptic, dystopian society struggling to survive against two of humanity’s newest enemies: the Partials—engineered super-humans—and the fatal RM virus.
Although 11 years have passed since the war between the partials ended, humanity is still in chaos with the population numbers dwindling at tens of thousands. With survivors—and those immune to RM—relocating to Long Island, New York, the fear of the end of civilization is constantly lurking right around the corner.
And this fear scares the government. It scares them enough that they have implemented a Hope Act, which forces females to become pregnant as young as the age of 16, in order to hopefully conceive a baby immune to the disease.
For in this world where humanity is dying, and frustration is rising, no child has survived past three days after birth, for over a decade.
A gripping tale with the right amount of questions and the right amount answers, Wells does an amazing job at taking readers through an intriguing narrative, which focuses on a war of weapons and political tensions.
With a successful combination of sci-fi, action, an allure of mystery, and a hint of romance, Wells creates the perfect formula for a stay-in-bed-all-day type of book.
(Read: I actually did just stay in bed to read this, last Saturday.)
Written in a third-person perspective, some characters are difficult to grow attached to, but Wells’ writes in a way that allows readers to connect with the passionate, driven, and emotionally charged protagonist.
Said protagonist is Kira Walker, a 16-year-old medic-in-training.
With a character like Kira, readers are able to once again see the likes of Katniss (although, trade in the arrow for a gun) in a fierce and powerful female character. Standing amidst the chaos that is the rebellious group, known as the Voices, and the laws implemented by the government, Kira must fight, not only for her life, but the life of civilization.
Upon discovering her best friend-slash-adopted-sister is pregnant, Kira takes it upon herself to find the cure for RM.
(On a side note: Wells does a good job of explaining RM’s pathology and while at times it may be mildly confusing and uninteresting, his analysis is crucial to the plot later on – wink, wink, nudge, nudge.)
With such a strong story line, romance within Kira’s life is a subplot, taking a back seat to her mission. The lack of love-filled long monologues and love-triangles was a refreshing change from other YA reads.
However, in my opinion, it is thanks to Wells’ incorporation of an ethnic background that Kira is an even more commendable character.
(Kira is of Indian descent and throughout the novel Wells also introduces characters of Hispanic, African, Dutch, Irish, and South American descent.)
(Read: if a movie was ever made, there is no arguing the multicultural cast the directors would have to cast.)
(Read: no one can pull another Rue-moment.)
Inevitably, Partials is comparable to the likes of Hunger Games and the Maze Runner, emphasizing the themes of survival, humanity, and fighting for what’s right—even if others deem it wrong. While the story introduces humanity’s greatest enemies as the partials and a plague, Wells distinctly incorporates the concept that maybe humans are their own greatest enemy.
Though the story is not lacking in its captivating twists, like most YA dystopian-themed novels, these twists were fairly predictable; however, they were far from a disappointment.
Although I know it is only one third of a trilogy, Partials’ cliffhanger ending is both upsetting and captivating. (Depending on how good you are at guessing, it may or may not be a Eureka! moment).
With so much information given to you by the end of the book, and so much more left out, Wells does a good job in making sure readers will come back for more.
And come back they will.
I already bought the second book.