Monday, February 27, 2012
Me on Partials
Author: Dan Wells
Release Date: February 28, 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (HC imprint)
War and a deadly virus have decimated the world's population, and the tens of thousands in North America that survived now inhabit Long Island, trying to survive, to learn a cure, to keep newborns from dying days after their birth. When Kira, a medic, learns a close friend is pregnant, she's determined to find a solution, but a rash decision forces her to join with the unlikeliest of allies. As she tries desperately to find a cure, Kira learns that survival, for both humans and Partials, lies in the hidden secrets of the war's beginning.
Partials could be considered nothing new in the vast realm of dystopian YA, just another ruined and war-torn world, but it's the genetic twist, the RM disease and the Partials, that make it stand out. Humans are dying, infants decay almost instantly upon birth, and suspicions are everywhere as to what the solution might be.
Kira's world is a bit different than other dystopian novels. There's still cities, still technology, still a government forcing rules and taking freedoms, but the population is shrinking. The infant mortality rate is, basically, 100 percent. With no new humans being born, there is no hope for the future. It makes for a rather bleak environment. And the government thinks the best course of action is to force women younger and younger to get pregnant in the hopes that maybe, just maybe, a child will be born immune to the disease. How creepy.
In dystopians, there's always someone who hopes for a better world. Kira's working on a cure, she doesn't want to be forced into being pregnant at 16 so she can watch her babies die year after year while she keeps on living. She wants to live a normal life, as normal as it can get, and won't agree to contribute to the number of dead.
The most interesting aspect of this book for me was the genetic part, the Partials and their differences. The Partials are engineered beings to look exactly like humans, but they're not, and instead were used to fight wars until they turned on the humans. Now, there's an ongoing struggle, the parent trying to eliminate the child and vice versa, all because the parent chose to play God and create life they thought they could do away with once they didn't need it anymore. It just smells of a possible revolution, doesn't it?
This book has the highest of stakes, the survival of the human race before it dies out and the world is left without it. It was thrilling, there was lots of action. Some twists were a little obvious, in my opinion. My one complaint would be the length, it seems rather hefty at almost 500 pages, but it's still a story perfect for fans of science fiction dystopias brought on by genetic experimentation and the mistakes than stem from them. Think of Partials as sort of a YA version of Richard Matheson's I am Legend, but with more than just one character and no one's trying to eat her.
(I received an advance copy to review from HarperCollins Canada.)