Partials — A Great Read, But…

Imagine a world which has been destroyed by an android uprising. Dubbed “Partials” by the full humans, these part-human, part-bionic robots have unleashed hell upon the few surviving humans, including a virus called RM of which only a small percentage of humanity is immune to. The survivors are holed up in a small enclave in a safe zone (Long Island) where the Partials will not go. It is here, in a distant future, that our story, Partials, by Dan Wells, begins.

Our heroine, Kira, is a 16 year old medic in training who is on the front lines, sees just what RM is doing. No baby has been born in the past 10 years that is immune to RM, which means that humanity’s time is running out. Plus, the ruling council has decreed that the forced pregnancy age will be dropped once more, which means Kira will have to soon go through what countless others have gone through before her — the agonizing knowledge that her baby, no matter what, will die of RM soon after being born.

Kira, however, is willing to risk everything to discover just what is causing the RM — and why the Partials have left Long Island alone for so long. Together with her friends and allies, she sets out to discover the truth that can set them free.

This right here set one heck of a tone for the novel, and as always with Wells’ writing, I devoured the book at a frightening pace. The pacing is smooth, transition scenes were spot-on, and the writing is tight. The plot is terrific, and despite a market inundated by post-apocalyptic novels at the moment (including TV shows), this book most definitely stands above the rest. I absolutely loved the main character, Kira, and felt this was one of the strongest female leads I’ve seen in a very long time. This is a must-read book, without a doubt, and I was very pleased with it as a whole…

but…

I couldn’t get over the ending. It has bothered me to this day (four months after I purchased the book…) and I still can’t really get over the common trope of twist endings that seem to be popping up all over the place. It had such a similar twist ending to another book I read recently (Variant, by Robison Wells) that I had to double check to ensure that the authors really were two different people and not the pen name of one single individual submitting the same novel idea to different publishers. I really wish I had read Partials before Variant, so this nagging sense of deja vu can pass. It’s not as though the stories are identical (because they aren’t, not really), but the endings are so damned similar it left a sour taste in my mouth. Otherwise, this book is a brilliant piece of YA fiction.

Still, a definite must-read. I’d buy it for my teens, if I had any.

–Reviewed by Jason

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