Sunday, March 31, 2013

Note to Self - Partials

A book review of Partials by Dan Wells – mild Spoilers

Note to self:

It’s probably not a good idea to read a book about a killer virus that destroys 99.98% of the human population, leaving only 40,000 people left IN THE WORLD, when you are getting sicker and sicker by the minute with the flu…

If you do, you will probably worry that your fever is the RM virus and you are about to boil to death from the inside out. Which is a problem because you probably don’t have the immunity only 40,000 people IN THE WORLD had. You know, and we haven’t developed a half-human, half-machine army called the Partials who will hold the key to curing the virus and saving the human race. Granted, that doesn’t matter too much because if I have the RM virus, I’ll be dead in like 3 days so I wouldn’t be able to get the cure anyway.

I read Partials by Dan Wells recently.  While getting the flu for the first time ever. I’m usually a pretty realistic person when it comes to sickness, but there were times I thought I must have contracted this world-killing virus. And that was a little scary, to be honest. Especially when I kept getting sicker and sicker for 5 more days.

I loved, loved this book. Why?

Reason number 1. It’s dystopian, which is my fave genre. Or post-apocalyptic at least. Yeah, not so much dystopian because I learned through a pin on Pinterest that a book is only technically dystopian if the main character thinks everything is fine and dandy and hunky dory until the crap hits the fan for said character, when really, crap has been hitting the fan for a long, long time. But definitely post-apocalyptic. And it just makes the wheels in my head whirl thinking about what it might be like after the end of the world. Gah. Love it.

Reason number 2. Slight romantic tension without hitting you over the head (or heart, or other body parts for that matter) with it. Granted, there are times that I love a strong romantic plot line in a book, but it would have felt wrong in this book. The main character, Kira, is in a relationship with Marcus, but questions the depth of her feelings throughout. Then she is chosen to be the sole researcher on a captured Partial named Samm. They start out with mutual loathing toward each other but as the week of her research continues on, they relax into a kind of friendship. You know, the strongest friendship possible when one person is strapped to a table and the other is performing researching on said captured person. I found myself wanting that relationship to strengthen while feeling torn about my desires for her to stay with Marcus. Kira and Samm don’t come anywhere close to actually starting a relationship, but the tension and buildup was indeed fantastic.

Reason number 3. There were a lot of different races represented. I appreciated that this ethnic inclusion was presented lightly enough that it didn’t feel like the author was making a socio-political statement by including lots of ethnicities. At the same time, being aware of the great need for greater diversity in our YA novels, I wish it had been focused on a tad more. The main character is of Indian (from India, not Native American) descent, but it’s only mentioned a few times and I found myself forgetting a lot. Despite wanting more, I was happy to see that it was not only middle-class white Americans that survived the end of the world.

Reason number 4. The characters had to deal with some really hard situations and decisions. The virus is still in the world and every new baby that is born dies within three days because he/she contracts the virus so quickly. Basically, the last survivors of the world were faced with eventually dying out because they couldn’t reproduce. Those stakes are pretty high. These people have to face some major moral decisions of how to protect and increase the human race. I love thinking about morality and under what circumstances normal beliefs and values must be challenged and altered. This series presents many moral dilemmas for those whirling gears in my brain. And presents the characters with horrible situations they have to either accept or fight to change. Love it. Well, and hate it, cause it’s so hard for them. But that’s what makes a book good, right?

Reason number 5. A male writing from a female point of view. It was believable 95% of the time. There were a few times I thought something was not said how a girl would say it, but they weren’t big enough to completely draw me out of the story, which is a good sign. Props to authors who write from the opposite sex’s point of view.

Basically, if you like post-apocalyptic/dystopian books, you will enjoy this book as well. The next book in the series, Fragments, comes out soon too. Thank goodness. 

- 4.5 stars
- If you want a strong romance, you probably won’t love this book, but would probably still enjoy it

Tissue Count:

Details for more cautious readers:
- There is a major emphasis in on pregnancy because the government wants immune babies to be born, and immunity is incredibly rare. In 11 years, not a single immune baby was born. So, they have a law that all girls must get pregnant at 18, with some leaders fighting for that age to be lowered to 16. No sex scenes, just mention of getting pregnant and who got who pregnant.
- Mild war-time violence, people getting shot, bombs, dead bodies, etc. 

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