Ruins is the third and last book to the Partials series. Before I review it I feel I need to sort of sum up the basics of the series in the most non-s...moreRuins is the third and last book to the Partials series. Before I review it I feel I need to sort of sum up the basics of the series in the most non-spoilery way possible.
This series starts in a post-apocalyptic future with a (sort of) dystopian human society. Dystopian in that the existing "government" is controlling women's uteruses (is that a word? or is it uterus'? Uteri?) with something called the Hope Act.
The Hope Act, a law forcing women to be pregnant and basically stay that way from the time they're 18 until they are no longer fertile, was put in place in order to ensure the survival of the species. The problem is none of the babies born in the past 11 years have survived more than three days due to an airborne virus that attacks the respiratory system. This same virus wiped out all but 40,000 human beings on the American continent--all of which were lucky enough to be immune, but it turns out immunity isn't genetic.
So humanity is choking on it's last breath, cranking out babies left and right in order to reach a certain ratio. running tests, collecting data, hoping at least one of the babies will be immune, or that they will somehow find a cure.
But wait, there's more!
Turns out humanity got to this desperate place because 18-20 years or so prior, the American government contracted a genetics company to grow an entire army of genetically perfect soldiers to fight a war for us in China. These soldiers are called Partials and look just like you and me but they're just better, stronger, faster and smarter. At everything. Also, they don't age and always look about 18 years old from the time they're "born".
Anyway, the Partials annihilated the Chinese army and came home victorious and all was well at first. Then people started doing what people always do: classifying, excluding, bullying, killing, etc. Humans decided that Partials aren't human, even though, genetically speaking, they are for the most part. Humans decided that Partials didn't deserve the same rights, didn't deserve to hold property or have any real jobs and locked them up in work camps. Sound familiar?
And that, my dear friends, is when everything went to hell in a handbag (although one could argue that the crap actually hit the fan when humans began growing superhumans to fight a war and I wouldn't disagree). After more than a few years of unfair treatment the Partials revolted, started to demand equal rights, and they had the upper hand because they are genetically modified supersoldiers. In the midst of all the fighting, a mysterious new virus starts wiping out the human race. Of course the blame is placed on the Partial army and what's left of the human race is rounded up by the human army and relocated on Long Island before making one last stand that was ultimately unsuccessful.
Since the end of the Partial war, what's left of the humans and Partials are living in different parts of New York, ignoring each other. Partials just waiting for the humans to die out. Humans fighting their fate with every uterus available.
That's how this entire series starts. We get a good portion of the world building in the first few chapters of the first book of this series, Partials. It has been a while since I've read the first book, but I don't remember it being a massive info dump. I just remember that rather liked how the world building was done.
Anyway, Fragments and Ruins, the second and third books in the Partials sequence, are unlike the first book in that they tell the story from more than one point of view--human and Partial. In the first book we are in the head of Kira Walker, a member of the human colony, the entire time, which was pretty annoying at first because Dan Wells seemed to struggle with writing from a 16-year-old girl's point of view. But eventually Wells found his stride, and Kira becomes relatable for the latter half of the first book on, which is what kept me hooked to the series. Well, that and the story concept.
There is so much positive stuff I could say about this book, but I'm afraid I can't say much without spoiling any of the major plot points of all three books in the series. I will say that I enjoyed how Dan Wells explored the consequences of taking technology too far, not that he's the first person to do so, not by a long shot, but I still like his take on the matter. I also like how he explored human nature, wasn't afraid to keep it real even when it meant taking things to an unimaginable level of horror.
That said, I do want to add that Wells spends a lot of time explaining all sorts of science-y type things a basic way, which sort of irked me because I was reading Jurassic Park when I was 13 years old and I understood all the scientific (real or not) explanations just fine. I would have appreciated more than the "wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey" type explanations that this series provided.
Also, the love (triangle?--I only say that because one of the guys really doesn't really "show up" at "the game" past a certain point, but is somehow in the running the entire time) story was drawn out to the last possible moment, literally. There was no need for that. And when the decision was finally made I would have appreciated a little more love story or poetic professions of love, even a little more kissing. Something more than the little we got, especially in this last book, which is a big deal coming from me because I'm not really a romance fan. But I'm still a woman and I don't mind a little (more) fluff to make a post-apocalyptic world seem less dreary.
THAT SAID, I do like that this book wasn't full of LOVE! which dramatically separates it from the pack of other YA post-apocalyptic/dystopian series available. I'm fed up with all the LOVE! stories disguised with paper thin, poorly thought-out dystopian/post-apocalyptic plots.
I really like this book, this entire series, and I highly recommend it to those looking to read story about a well thought out post-apocalyptic future. No, I won't say it's the NEXT Hunger Games, because, let's be honest, nothing is going to take its place. I will say, however, that this series is just as good in that it makes you think about things that don't necessarily have easy answers, or any answers at all. I like a book that challenges me to think for myself without shoving opinions down my throat so as to make me agree with the author. This book accomplishes just that and for that I have to applaud Dan Wells. 4 stars.
I'm not going to lie: I've been avoiding Lauren Oliver since Delirium.
She single-handedly made a mess of many social situations over the past few yea...moreI'm not going to lie: I've been avoiding Lauren Oliver since Delirium.
She single-handedly made a mess of many social situations over the past few years. Every time a well-meaning friend suggested the Delirium series to me, adding an explanation as to why they think I'd totally love it, I had to pretend everything was still good between me and Ms. Oliver and thank the friend for the recommendation. There were a few times when I couldn't hold my tongue and I'd go off on some crazy rant about how the whole premise of the series was probably the dumbest I've ever heard of. I'd tell them that I already wasted some of my time and money on the first book in the series and I couldn't even force myself to get past the second chapter.
What's worse is I'd silently judge these people, question why I'm even friends with them. I mean, they clearly don't even know me if they think I'd be into a series about a dystopian society that decided 'Love' was the cause of all society's problems. And anyway, why is anyone even attempting to write dystopian? Pretty much every single offering to the YA dystopian genre is so awful I can't even. That's how bad it is.
So, yeah, Ms. Oliver and I haven't been on speaking terms. She started it.
That said, Before I Fall, Ms. Oliver's first published book, was so good I couldn't erase her from my life completely. I love that book so much that I've read it several times.
Anyway, when I saw that she had a new book out, a contemporary YA fiction novel with an intriguing premise, I had to give it a shot.
To be honest, Panic is good. Is it 4-stars good? Not exactly. I mean, yeah, there is much to like in this story but it's not something I 'really like'. That said, I like it well enough to round the the 3.7 stars up to a solid 4.
Lauren Oliver should stick to contemporary lit, she's quite good at it. I cannot wait to see what's up next for Ms. Oliver. (less)
Matthew Quick has earned a place on my favorite authors list. This...I don't even know where to start...nothing I could say would do justice to this b...moreMatthew Quick has earned a place on my favorite authors list. This...I don't even know where to start...nothing I could say would do justice to this book. All I can say is I won't forget Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock any time soon, which is the ideal reading experience as far as I'm concerned.
It has been years since I've had the privilege of such a reading experience.
Forgive me, fellow GoodReaders, I am at a loss for words at this time. I need to sort through my feelings, to contemplate all that Matthew Quick has given me.