Wendy Darling's Reviews > Partials

Partials by Dan Wells
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It seems as though YA Science Fiction is experiencing a bit of a resurgence lately. Like many other readers, I'm a little tired of the barely-dystopian trend, so it's great to see a very firmly science-oriented book like Partials come along. Airborne viruses + survivalist action drama + human interest story is a great combination, and one I think most fans of post-apocalyptic thrillers will enjoy.

In the year 2076, 11 years after an airborne viral outbreak, the average newborn lives just 56 hours. 16-year-old Kira Walker, a young medic interning at a hospital, thinks that the key to human survival lies in studying Partials, a group of rogue cyborgs described as "unthinking, unfeeling human killers." Since Partials released the virus to begin with, surely they have the answers to a cure--whether it's through their genetic makeup or through their knowledge. When her friend Madison gets pregnant, Kira embarks on a dangerous mission: to find and capture a Partial so she can save her friend's child.

But you've seen some positive reviews and some negative ones, right? So here is the type of person that I think will have a blast with this book.

You're a Battlestar Galactica fan. There are many similar BSG elements in this book, in a very good way. Partials are very similar to Cylons, and there's a war between humans and Partials that will decide the fate of both. There are also some elements of Star Trek: TNG, and The Matrix in this book, which aren't bad influences to have at all. But lest you be concerned about knockoffs, this is definitely an original story, told in a very engaging way.

You like medical thrillers. Kira runs a lot of tests on a captured Partial in this book, and while some readers may have an issue with all the medical business that goes on, I personally love books about viruses and analyses of scientific data, etc., so I very much enjoyed all that. Do Kira's experiments require some suspension of disbelief? Sure. Especially since a. she's a student b. we don't get all the answers we might be asking and c. this disease doesn't actually exist. (True story!) But what worked for me was that the author did a great job of walking us through the steps and logic and reasoning behind Kira's methodology.

Post-apocalyptic books rock your socks. Something about this book reminded me a lot of the feel of Mira Grant's Feed and Deadline, but for the YA crowd--and I don't make those comparisons lightly. There is a great blend of virological talk, exciting action sequences, and entertaining twists and turns that will appeal to fans of the Newsflesh series. Plus there are some survivalist elements I also really enjoyed. Worrying about energy conservation, day to day needs, salvage runs? Please, tell me more!

You appreciate butt-kicking heroines. I really liked Kira, who is a smart, responsible heroine, even if she is a little too narrowly focused on her ideals and a little too quick to fly off the handle. I would liked to have felt more of an emotional connection with her, the way I did with the very intriguing Samm (view spoiler), but I did feel as though I understood her. And it's great to have a girl scientist portrayed in YA.

Do any of these sound like you? If so, get thee to a bookstore and grab a copy of Partials asap!

I will say that some of the secondary teen characters blended together for me, so that it wasn't until significant things happened to them that I remembered who was who and what part they were playing in the story. All the adults are there primarily to advance the plot as well, and basically serve as foils and obstacles to the teens. And even though it's understandable that teenagers have taken on more advanced roles earlier on due to the outbreak, they have such huge responsibilities that it does make you raise an eyebrow a bit; it's almost as if Partials was written with adult characters, but was adapted for the YA market. While some of the specifics of the story may strain credulity when you stop to look at the big picture, I have to admit that during reading, it's hard to care, because the story is so well-paced and entertaining. I'm hoping that in the sequel, we'll see deeper character development and further exploration of the ramifications of the Hope Act as the story continues.

All in all, Partials was a lot of fun for me. My immediate reaction when I finished the book was "fan-freaking-tastic!" and I'm excited that there's such a great science fiction option out there for YA readers. Don't get me wrong, I love fluffy novels or the types of books that feature girls in pretty ballgowns. But I like the kind of girl who wears lab coats, doesn't mind risking her life for what she believes is right, and argues passionately about the civil rights of cyborgs, too.

This review also appears in The Midnight Garden. An advance copy was provided by the publisher.
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Reading Progress

01/13/2012 page 28
6.0% "I think post-apocalyptic novels are almost always better than dystopian ones. Plus the use of the word "isthmus" is a bonus point in this book's favor." 2 comments
01/14/2012 page 118
25.0% "Dear Mr.Wells, you heard us crying because we had to wait until June for the last Newsflesh book, didn't you? Love, Wendy and Michelle" 10 comments
01/15/2012 page 401
85.0% "Love. This. Book. I hate having to go socialize with people, all I want to do is finish this!" 12 comments

Comments (showing 151-181 of 181) (181 new)

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Charlotte Experiment BL626 wrote: "Oh my, I seriously hope I'm not giving the impression that I hate Samm. I don't. I truly don't. No axe to grind here. I just like Marcus better than Samm, that's all. =)

You know, I am realizing w..."

If even 1/4. I actually liked the fact that it was not the focus. I found it refreshing that we start the story with an intact, healthy relationship for the MC.

And about your biggest mystery of all, (view spoiler)

Experiment BL626 Charlotte wrote: "I found it refreshing that we start the story with an intact, healthy relationship for the MC."

100% agree.

Also. It seems to me that Partials take place in a very distant future, very distant, because our current political climate frowns upon stem cell research and cloning. The world would have changed alot for people to accept the idea of manufacturing super-soldiers to fight our wars. (view spoiler) I never fully understood it.

I have to wonder... If the humans of the future had the technology to manipulate genetics to create super-soldiers, why not use the same technology on themselves and their babies? (view spoiler) What do y'all think?

Charlotte Katy, I really liked Jayden. I actually thought (view spoiler)

Experiment BL626 Oh, Jayden. He and Haru made my least favorite characters of Partials list. There's strong-minded, and then there's bull-headed. The two were not the former. (view spoiler)

What were your least favorite characters? And most favorite? My most favorite was Xonchi. She sure had no problem admitting she liked Samm and gawking him like eye-candy. LOL!

message 155: by Tara (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tara I liked Yoon. And Kira was interesting...she wasn't a boring character or one who let the action take her instead of taking action. I liked that a lot.

I didn't like any of the senators and the bff (Meredith? Melody? I can't even remember now!) annoyed me. And wth was the bff thinking when she married that man. Every time he spoke I wanted to poke him in the eyeballs with my fingernails. Or have hot bamboo shards shoved under my fingernails instead. Argh!

P.S. This is something that's small but its bugged me since I read it...(view spoiler)

Purcheria I liked Kira, samm and Xochi the best. Kira was a atrong feamale lead, Xochi was just..well..awesome. I liked her grab'em by the balls honesty and Samm, well he intrigued me from the get-go.

Experiment BL626 @Tara, the bff is Madison. The one that got pregnant? That's Madison. Her husband is Haru. Personally, I think Haru is a little messed up in the head.

@Puncheria, That's awesome! Another Xonchi fan! <3

message 158: by Tara (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tara Experiment - yep that's her. I thought she was annoying and Haru (I couldn't forget his name, he was such an unsympathetic character!) was awful. I agree, he is a little messed up in the head.

Thanks for the name help! I've read so many books in the past few weeks that the names of non-main characters are starting to blend together! :)

Experiment BL626 @Tara, Nothing there you said that I don't agree with. With those as parents, I pity their daughter.

message 160: by Abhik (new) - rated it 5 stars

Abhik is there any boyfriend involved ? cause if the story ends with "Kira and her Partial boyfriend rode of in the sunset" then i will simply vomit ...

Experiment BL626 Abhik wrote: "is there any boyfriend involved ? cause if the story ends with "Kira and her Partial boyfriend rode of in the sunset" then i will simply vomit ..."

Kira has a boyfriend right from the start, but no the story didn't end anything like that.

message 162: by Tara (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tara LOL Abhik, if it ended like that I think I would vomit as well. And it definitely wouldn't have gotten a 5 star rating from me. There is a boyfriend but it's different than many YA novels.

message 163: by Hannah (new) - rated it 3 stars

Hannah Middleton Glad it wasn't just me who picked up on the BSG cylon similarities! great review.

Wendy Darling Oh, thanks Hannah! Yeah, a lot of people saw BSG similarities, so I don't think we're alone. ;)

message 165: by Rory (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rory Gallagher Just read the sample on Kindle, definitely going to read this. :)

Wendy Darling Awesome, Rory. :) Fingers crossed you enjoy it!

Michelle Cummings Thanks for the excellent review!

Wendy Darling My pleasure, Michelle! Thanks for the lovely comment. :)

message 169: by Rory (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rory Gallagher I am just loving this right now. I always like a reasonable heroine/hero. :) And the Partials kinda remind me of Terminators.

Wendy Darling Yay, I'm glad you're enjoying it, Rory! It's funny to me when I hear people call it boring, because the techy stuff is right up my alley, hah.

And yes, it is sort of Terminator-ish. Which is not a bad thing to be like at all. :D

message 171: by Lita (new) - added it

Lita bought it just after reading your review. :)

Wendy Darling Yay. Hope you enjoy it, Lita! :)

message 173: by Lita (new) - added it

Lita :)

message 174: by Tina (last edited May 13, 2012 09:24AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tina Thank you very much for your recommendation Wendy! I am very glad that the book didn't get stuck on my wishlist.
Actually I have to think about it again, but I am pretty sure it will be 4 stars in the end.

message 175: by Parametric (new)

Parametric Thanks for recommending this, Wendy. I picked it up on your advice and thought it was excellent. I'm a big Battlestar Galactica fan and I also loved Mira Grant's FEED, and I think you're spot-on that these are strong influences here. Good news for me and fellow Galactica fans!

Wendy Darling I'm so late to this party, but I'm so glad you enjoyed it, Tina! Not too much longer to wait for the sequel.

And you're welcome, Parametric. I'm glad the review was helpful, hah--and I have it on good authority that Mira Grant is a fan of this book as well. Score for the checklist! (And yay for BSG love.)

Wendy Darling Bookwormy, there's no sex in it, but there may be some language--I just don't remember, I'm afraid.

Kritika It sounds like I will really like this book! Looking forward to reading it as soon as my final exams are over.

message 179: by Sarah (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sarah Lovely review, I felt exactly the same way!
I also agree that I wish I felt an emotional connection with Kira as I did with Samm (is it bad that I swoon over him? Even though Kira and samm's relationship was platonic and the romance was with Marcus cause I'm just not shipping Marcus and Kira just saying)
I really liked how there wasn't too much romance, there was a teeny but because Kira was already in a mostly healthy relationship but the author didn't make you love it
Also the twists in this story were amazing, I recently started disliking dystopian/Sci-FI books cause they're mostly the same cliche concepts but partials was so different and entertaining! I loved this book a lot

message 180: by Emily (new)

Emily Botsivales I heard it may be made into a movie if the Maze Runner does well. If it is ever a movie I will literally watch it 10 times. I absolutely loved the book and can't wait to read the rest of the series.

message 181: by Sophie (new)

Sophie I love the way you structured your review with the different types of people who would love the book. I'm often discouraged by long reviews, but the words in bold print made me sure I would be interested in reading the content, because I'm all of them ;)

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