This book is told from the perspective of a computer system that develops an unnatural obsession with its owner. At least I assume it's a computer sys...moreThis book is told from the perspective of a computer system that develops an unnatural obsession with its owner. At least I assume it's a computer system. It was never quite clear if it was a computer, a network, a security system, a house, or all of them.
So, I have a theory of how this book came into existence. Miss Romance novel just went through a bad breakup with Mr Horror novel, so she got drunk and slept with Mr Science Fiction novel, then whoopsie, Miss Romance novel's pregnant!! Who's the father?? How the hell should I know! On so many levels, this book failed to be either frightening or intellectual. It was just plain cheesy.
The attempts at poetry in this book are irritating. There are many comparisons that I just don't see a computer making, especially one whose thoughts are so fragmented and repetitive. Some sentences were too disturbing and ridiculous for anyone to make, much less a computer system.
This is just the first example of many: She was a bewitched Beauty lying on her catafalque, waiting to be awakened by the kiss of a prince, lovely in the darkness.
Uh, barf! A computer wrote that sentence? A computer who stalks and does many other unmentionable things to the woman that he speaks of? This is supposed to be a science fiction thriller. Not a cybernetic, nonsense version of a romantic fairytale. The computer tries to rationalize some of these cringe-worthy comments by saying that it is trying to tell the story from her perspective because it KNOWS her. I'm a hopeless romantic and even I wouldn't use a sentence like that to describe myself or anyone else, at least not in a sci-fi thriller!
And that is only the beginning. It endlessly talks about how marvelous and wondrous she is. To the point of even repeating "She was so beautiful" over and over and over again. Double barf. I constantly found myself sitting alone reading, yet rolling my eyes, making gag gestures, and lots of loud sighs.
The endless pleas from the computer that it really is a person and it just wants live become old very fast. I understand the concept and I have certainly related to artificial intelligence before. I mean, did someone say Battlestar Galactica? (So say we all!) But please don't shove it down my throat. I hear you. I want you to show me why you are capable of real emotion, not just endlessly repeat that you are "a real boy". Prove it, Pinocchio.
To sum it up, the "entity" doesn't show that it is capable of real emotion, just a screwed up, programmed version of insanity. It also basically tells us what is going to happen within the first couple chapters. After repeating how beautiful she is, it also goes on a tirade of "I never meant to harm her." Hmmm, I wonder what happens. Remember Hal 9000, anyone? Even though the entity mentions the previously stated crazy computer and how he is not Hal, I still couldn't help the comparison.
Oh, and apparently there's a movie. I wasn't aware that it had been made into a movie until after I read it. Maybe the movie is better; however I cant imagine why, of all the good science fiction books, they chose to make this crap. I mean, where are The Giver or Ender's Game movies? They've had plenty of time to get those produced, yet still nothing? But they make THIS?
Like many books I've read lately, cool concept, but poor execution. I will say that things didn't go exactly as I assumed they would. It actually took a turn for the weird, but the thought process and viewpoint of the computer was absolutely unbearable.(less)
You can now check out the Partials trailer right HERE on Goodreads!
A Partials-themed Acrostic!
Pregnancy obligations for the young like in Bumped.
Amat...moreYou can now check out the Partials trailer right HERE on Goodreads!
A Partials-themed Acrostic!
Pregnancy obligations for the young like in Bumped.
Amateur military of Falling Skies.
Rioters and mercenaries threaten way of life like in The Survivors.
The MC is a bad-ass female scientist like in Bones
Infertility woes of the women on the Lost island.
Artificially created humans similar to Cylons from Battlestar Galactica.
Lots of myths being busted.
The world has been decimated by an airborne virus that killed 99.9% of the population. The virus was released by beings called Partials, genetically engineered soldiers that look just like us but with 10 times the strength and stamina.
The Partials have let the few remaining humans live in peace as long as they don't cross the border into Partials territory. Every female of age is required to be pregnant as often and as soon as possible. The current reigning government, the Senate, figures that if the citizens have enough babies, some of them will eventually be born with a natural immunity to the airborne virus that fills the air around them and decimates their newborn population. After a decade of births, this still has not happened. Every baby dies within mere hours.
Our main character, Kira, has this brilliant idea that the scientists should focus on discovering how the immunity really works and figure out why the remaining adults and the Partials are immune.
And now for an intermission of Lyndsey Thoughts: Me: Wait a tic - Kira thinks of this?! No one else in a decade, not even the Senate, has thought of that? Other Me: Duh, Lyndsey. She's the main character. Of course, she thought of it! Me: Right. I guess she's pretty smart then. Other Me: Also, the Senate is full of bozos. Me: Okay, thanks for clearing that up, Self.
In order to investigate the Partials immunity, they need to find one that will help them and the chances of that are pretty much zero. So they have get a hold of one somehow. Here's where it gets interesting! Veddy, veddy interesting!!
The Enevitable BSG Comparison
At first, I expected to be comparing this to Battlestar Galactic as I read. And sure, the storyline and background of the two share a lot of similarities, but Partials and BSG are two completely different beasts. I was completely caught up in the science and the questions of this book. Battlestar Galactica is so epicly character based, and I can't imagine it any other way. Characterization was not a strong point of Partials. I never heavily connected to the characters, but I was SO captivated by their surroundings and their story.
The tone of this book felt more like a science-based procedural crime show set in a post-apocalyptic world populated by cyborgs and a few remaining humans. This is Battlestar Galactica if Battlestar Galatica had been written by the writers of Bones.
Characterization and Romance
The weak link in Partial's chain was it's characterization. It's written in third person and I found it difficult to truly hear the voices of the characters. In fact, the only one I ever emotional connected to was the one that wasn't even human: the Partial that we meet later on, Samm. But considering that I am actually a cylon, you could say we share a certain kinship and all.
The Senate, Kira's arch nemesis, is full of people who are delusional and one-dimensional, seeming to be so set in their ways that they don't care if it destroys them.
Romance does not play much of a part AT ALL in this novel. It's an extra, meandering about in the background, sipping it's vente chai soy latte and speaking in a fake British accent. In fact, I couldn't have been less interested in the so-called "romantic" storyline between Kira and Marcus. But even so, this book and it's story managed to transcend it's characters.
Does this put the SCI in SCI-FI?
This is pretty hard science fiction... for YA. Don't get me wrong, I've definitely seen harder.
Did you know that robots now play ping pong? And have ROCK HARD ABS?! Humina humina.
But that's usually in adult fiction, so this is a welcome move into the realm of young adult novels. Partials is an excellent choice for fans of "sciencey" science fiction. (That's me!) Kira spends time actually asking questions and analyzing data. And I loved every minute of it. Amazingly and most importantly, I felt like I understood it all.
I don't really know anything about how viruses work. But when reading this book, I am operating on the assumption that the author writing about viruses knows at least more than I do. That being said, I felt Dan Wells did an amazing job at breaking down the science, especially toward the end.
I had a lot of questions while reading. Why do the babies get sick only after they are born? If the virus is airborne, why couldn't the babies survive in a filtered clean room? Conveniently enough, Kira had a lot of the same questions and managed to answer many of my concerns.
I've recently come to the realization that my obsession with literature stems from a quest for knowledge. I constantly feel the need to learn and grow and change. To see and imagine new things. I feel like this is one of those novels. One of those novels that attempts to push thinking forward, that focuses on the questions of life, as opposed to the problems in it.
Many post-apocalyptic novels are problem based, not question based. They encounter a problem and they push through. In Partials, Kira encounters a question and she answers it. A problem is just something that you have to work through and solve. You either solve it or you don't. A question is something that opens up a whole new realm of possibilities. Questions are often accompanied by their own problems, however. This is a story about solutions. Solutions to the questions asked and to the problems that come along with it.
The mark of a great science fiction author is having the ability to make the reader believe that they are a freaking rocket scientist. Or in the case of this book... A virologist. Write it so well that the reader is sciencing that science right along with the main characters. Dan Wells certainly excelled at doing just that.
I started this book with a straight face. Twenty five percent in, I was pursing my lips in question. Fifty percent in, I was nodding my head in agreement. Seventy five percent in, I was grinning with excitement. At the end, I was passed out from exhaustion and amazement.
The story moves along consistently, but not at a breakneck pace either. It has quite a bit of action and a constant crawl of information.
Partials is a dense post-apocalyptic delicious dessert, swirled with dystopian undertones, and topped off with dark military themes. Who wouldn't want a piece of that?
Well, what do you know? There's actually a BOOK for that!
I worry that it may have a hard time finding an audience as a young adult book because it is so heavily grounded in science. Sci-fi in YA excites me, and this book was a great start to what is hopefully a new trend in the young adult world.
The story is not character or romance based, but it is high in concept, plot and science. It is also not a standalone as I previously assumed, seeing as it ends on a semi-cliffhanger. It is questioning, yet not too philosophical. Light cerebral sci-fi.
If you're looking at experimenting with science fiction (And, come on, science fiction and experimentation go GREAT together!), Partials would be an excellent place to start.(less)