Angela's Reviews > Partials

Partials by Dan Wells
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's review
Feb 06, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: dystopian-apocalyptic, ebooks, read-2012, ya-children-s, first-reads, netgalley
Read from January 23 to February 03, 2012

I honestly thought I would have enjoyed this book more than I actually I did as it is exactly my type of book and genre.

Although well written with a well thought out plot and conceivable premise, I just felt no empathy towards any of the characters and due to lack of details on the finer points of this world, I couldn’t really engage with the world that Wells has envisioned.

Due to the genre, I expect a certain amount of description in order to convey what has happened but what Wells did was far too clunky and awkward by using character observations and conversations to describe events in minute detail of things that happened eleven years previously, subsequently rendering those conversations (and characters) as being rather insipid and their views rather trite. Basically, there was a lot of information dumping happening within the conversations making the characters seem less realistic.

I enjoyed the world that Wells portrayed but I truly hope that more details are included in the sequel(s) as the island where the remaining humans take sanctuary and make their home is missing so much description of the minor operations that enable people to survive. For instance, there is no mention of how food is procured; there is mention of farms but no mention of whether they are working farms and whether the city trades with the farms; there is no mention of the menial work that every society relies heavily on, such as cleaning and hygiene, forms of transport, sewage workers, water treatment, etc. etc. We get mass amounts of detail regarding the military and healthcare system and the scientists, but nothing about anyone else. Little details like that would really make the difference and would help prevent this world from sounding so two dimensional.

My biggest issue with this book was the protagonist, Kira. She exasperated me and many a time I felt myself thinking ‘ffs, shut up you annoying, arrogant pain’. I don’t know whether it was Wells intention, but her character reads like a petulant child when she can’t get her own way. Or if someone disagrees with her. Or points out a flaw in her plan. She redeems herself slightly about two thirds of the way through, and even then she still grated on me.

I’ve read many YA books and very few have managed to portray a strong and independent woman successfully. In Partials, Kira does not come across as strong or independent, instead she comes across as yet another girl who thinks she is strong but is really just hot-headed, whiney and has an overwhelming air of arrogance.

Despite these qualms however, and my intense dislike for the main character, I *did* enjoy this book. The world building was more than adequate, it could do with some tweaking and a bit more detail on the finer points of how the society is actually up and running, but other than that Wells paints a good picture. I particularly enjoyed the section when Kira et al go to Manhattan, the action sequences and narrative voice was engrossing and from that point on the novel really picked up the pace.

I am not a ‘sciency’ person by any means, but I did enjoy Wells interpretations and instruction of how the RM virus worked and evolved. There are so many books in the dystopic genre that don’t have any explanation at all as to what happened to result in a catastrophic event but Wells does not leave any doubt in the reader’s mind about what caused humanity to become practically extinct. My only irk about this catastrophe is that it was not really explained well enough about what ‘Partials’ actually were. I have many notes and highlights where I’ve tried to figure this out with suggestions such as ‘alien species’, ‘clones’, ‘robots’ or ‘something else’. Wells does eventually explain what a ‘Partial’ is but I just felt there was a lot of guesswork on behalf of the reader first.

There were plenty of action sequences and twists within this book and they were all very well written and engaging. I look forward to reading the sequel(s) as I suspect by that point Wells will be in a groove and not feeling the need to rely so much on exposition to convey the world he has envisioned and can just get on with revealing the rest of the story to the reader.

Overall, an enjoyable read. Wells has created a realistic world and nightmare scenario. The novel is well written with good description and plenty of action and twists to keep people interested. It is very exposition heavy however and relies rather too much on character conversations to explain past events. Despite my dislike for the protagonist and general lack of empathy for any of the characters, generally this would not be enough to put me off reading it, or from picking up the sequel(s).

An advance reading copy was provided from Netgalley
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Reading Progress

01/30/2012 page 99
21.0% "Good so far but the main protagonist is really grating on me with her know-it-all and condescending attitude."
02/01/2012 page 278
59.0% "Wells needs to understand that he doesn't have to use a thesaurus *all the bloody time*. It's annoying. Protagonist is still a pain in the arse."
02/02/2012 page 335
71.0% "Kira is starting to redeem herself, thank christ for that. She's an infuriating character to read."
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Comments (showing 1-3)

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Wendy Darling I enjoyed this one a lot more than you did, but I really appreciate your review, Angela. So well-written, and I can't say I really disagree with your criticisms, either.

Angela I enjoyed it, I just think it could have been better, hence the lower rating.
I loved the Manhattan chapters, would have loved to have read more of that so hoping there will be more mentio of that in the sequel.

Angela Oh, and thank you for the kind comment about the review Wendy.

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