Feb 28, 2012

Review: Partials by Dan Wells

Book cover of Partials by Dan Wells
Title: Partials [Amazon|GoodReads]
Author: Dan Wells [Website|Twitter]
Standing: 1st in what I believe is a duology?
Genre: Young Adult, Sci Fi, Post Apocalyptic
Published: February 28th, 2012 by Balzer & Bray
Format: Kindle edition.
Source: ARC from publisher via NetGalley.

Humans created the Partials, human-like machines, in order to fight their wars for them.  Eleven years ago, the Partials rebelled killing off the bulk of humanity and a deadly virus was released that has kept the surviving humans from successfully reproducing.  Now, humans have retreated to Long Island where they attempt to maintain civilization and look to the future by enacting The Hope Act.  The Hope Act requires all women 18 and over to be pregnant as often as possible in the hopes that more babies will provide a chance to cure the RM virus.  When Kira’s adopted sister becomes pregnant, she feels a strong need to do something more to save the baby.  Kira determines that humanity’s best hope lies in their greatest demise, the Partials, and the best chance to cure RM is by studying the enemy.

If you’re curious about Partials, I’m fairly sure this is the book trailer:

Now, this book was good, but it could have been great if it had done a few things differently:

1) Not followed so many of the same plot lines as Battlestar Galactica.  Unfortunately, for me, this made Partials fairly wrote and predictable. I do think that Dan Wells did an excellent job of creating a very probable future with real issues (like The Hope Act) that were unique and believable, but I'm hoping the plot will deviate more from BSG in the upcoming book.

2) Have been told from a male point of view.  I get it, maybe Dan Wells was trying something new, or maybe someone suggested the female perspective because there are more female YA readers.  However, I felt like Partials would have been better suited if it’d been aimed more towards males.  With all of the military and scientific medical speak, action, and lack of gushy romance, I feel like this book could really grab some teen boys--a group that more great books need to be aimed at and written for.  I’m not saying males won’t enjoy Partials, but they will be less likely to pick it up.  I'm also not saying he didn't do a good job of writing Kira (even if I didn't much like her), he did. I’m hoping for a change of perspective in the second book (give me Samm prz).

3) Axed out about half of the dialog.  Did we need to expound on everything?  It went something like this: 5 pages-make a plan. 1 paragraph-realize plan won’t work. 3 pages-adjust for new plan. 1 paragraph-this plan goes up in flames as well.  10 pages-the action.  The action bits were good.  This is what kept me going, but the having to explain things over and over every time we run into someone new or there’s a kink in the plans got really old.  Also I didn’t need Kira’s every thought spelled out for me. This takes away my own ability to think, and I find that somewhat degrading as a reader.  The book could have probably been cut down 100 pages and been better for it.

My final complaint about Partials was that I didn’t really like the main characters, but I know others have, so that’s hardly the author’s fault so much as my personal preference.  I couldn’t stand Marcus, and I didn't like Kira much either.  Anytime anyone pulls out the phrase “If you really loved me you would/wouldn’t do this.” it sends off immediate warning bells in my head that this is a doomed relationship.  And at some point they both say this.  There was a pretty strong supporting cast (color me a Xochi/Samm fan) and since the book highlighted the story and action more than the characters themselves I enjoyed it nonetheless.

Okay!  Done with the negative, because I’d like to emphasize now that despite my complaints, there was a lot to like about Partials.  The story was action packed (you know, between all of the talking), and emotionally charged on a basic instinctual level of survival vrs. personal rights.  This book had me feeling real emotions (mostly anger and frustration), and I appreciate that both sides of arguments were presented in such a way that it was hard to really hate any given side so much as the situation itself.

Likelihood that I'll be back for more:  As annoyed with this book as I was at times, the story was good enough that I’ll check out the second installment (and I really hope this is a duology).

Recommended for:  Fans of Battlestar Gallactica, anyone who enjoys post-apocolyptic sci-fi minus the fluff, and yes, boys!

Real life repercussions of reading this book: Me to boyfriend shortly after starting the book: “If the big twist is that ____________ I’m going to throw this book against the wall.”  400 pages later: Throws book against wall.


  1. I haven't watched Battlestar Galactica...

    With all of the military and scientific medical speak, action, and lack of gushy romance, I feel like this book could really grab some teen boys. <---this was why I didn't like this book. All of that talk just went right over my head usually and I didn't care to read it.

    AND I agree with you on all of the chat on planning!!! Gosh I was so annoyed.

    But, I did like Marcus :) I thought his humor was refreshing.

  2. See, I am an emotional reader at my core and so Partials really resonated with me --like I had all these feelings about the Hope Act and Samm and Marcus. Also, I love all that military/medical jargon. But I can get why there's a spectrum of reviews on Partials. Like my boyfriend DNFed it and I loved it.


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