Big Book,  YA


Dan Wells
Sixteen-year-old Kira is trapped on Long Island. Her community clings to survival, but what hope can they have when no baby survives for more than three days?
Kira is determined to make a difference, to find a cure. Her best friend is pregnant and Kira cannot let that baby die. Time is running out and finding a cure means capturing a Partial…

‘Partials’ is set on Long Island in America at some time in the future. 99.996% of the population has been wiped out by the RM virus, believed to be released by the Partials, biological robots created by humans to fight in their wars. Partials were immune to the virus and now live on the mainland of America, the humans that remain on the Island may be the only survivors left in the world. But even these humans are split, those who support the senate that controls them and ‘The Voice’ who opposes them. In the middle of this is Kira, a sixteen year old medical student who has dreams of finding a cure for RM. In the eleven years since the virus was unleashed there has not been a single baby who has survived for more than a few hours. Then Kira’s best friend gets pregnant and finding a cure becomes that much more important.

This is another dystopian novel, in the wave that follows The Hunger Games, but this is a little different. Partials reminds me more of a traditional dystopian novel that pays homage to its sci-fi roots. This becomes very clear in the first couple of chapter and as I’m not really a lover of sci-fi I thought it would put me off but it didn’t. This book contains all the elements that you would expect from a dystopian novel all in one book. It’s set in a world unrecognisable to the one today due to one event that changed everything. It deals with governments who want to fully control the lives of their citizens and touches upon those who oppose them. It also deals with reproductive rights and the question of whether women should be forced to have babies to ensure the future of mankind. It also goes into the study of virology to give it more of an element of sci-fi (I will admit to not paying as much attention as I could have to these bits). The Partials are also pure sci-fi biological robots that think and feel and look exactly like humans, but aren’t.

The writing is incredibly fast paced, at nearly 500 pages it is quite long for a YA book, but reading it never feels like a chore. The characters are very well written and very believable, there could have been a danger that the characters would take second place to the storyline in a book like this, but that really isn’t the case. Character development is good and by the end you really feel as though you really know and can relate to the main characters, particularly Kira, the main protagonist. Not all the characters are all that likeable but that is to be expected in a book where control over others is such a strong theme. Dan Wells doesn’t pull any punches either and there is plenty of violence and death. None of it is gratuitous and it’s all in keeping with the storyline, but this probably isn’t a book for younger children. Despite reservations at the start, I found myself completely absorbed in the story. Partials covers a huge amount of threads throughout the book but is never confusing. Most of all, it will definitely make you think. The ending sets it up very nicely for another book in a way that guarantees that the stakes will be higher. I can’t wait.

Verdict: A fast paced book that deals with a number of issues. Sometimes challenging but very much worth it.
Reviewed by Alison

Publisher: Harper Collin’s Children’s
Publication Date: March 2012
Format: Paperback
Pages: 470
Genre: Dystopian, Sci-Fi
Age: YA
Reviewer: Alison
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: None


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