Sunday, July 27, 2014

Review: Partials by Dan Wells

Book Description:

Humanity is all but extinguished after a war with Partials—engineered organic beings identical to humans—has decimated the population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island. But sixteen-year-old Kira is determined to find a solution. As she tries desperately to save what is left of her race, she discovers that that the survival of both humans and Partials rests in her attempts to answer questions about the war's origin that she never knew to ask.

Playing on our curiosity of and fascination with the complete collapse of civilization, Partials is, at its heart, a story of survival, one that explores the individual narratives and complex relationships of those left behind, both humans and Partials alike—and of the way in which the concept of what is right and wrong in this world is greatly dependent on one's own point of view.

My Thoughts:
The premise of this book is amazing! In order to win the most recent world war the USA creates bio weapons in the form of machines that look just like humans: Partials. The Partials win the war but then feel oppressed by regular humans so they fight against them and take out the humans. The remaining survivors live in a community on Long Island where their government is becoming corrupt and tight fisted.

So we've got post-apocalyptic, science-fictiony, oppressive government stuff going on. We've got a smart protagonist who's trying to hero up and save humanity. We've got a slew of hot guys roaming nearby, ready to help our heroine.

Where did it all go wrong?

Well, it was just so... slow. I kept reading thinking, "When this happens (because you know it's coming from all the hints being dropped) I know this story is gonna pick up and get really good." Well, that thing would happen and that one little part would be page-turning exciting, just to go back to being slow. Again and again. It was kind of exhausting.

I think the first major issue is that Dan Wells wrote this story for teenage girls when he is, in fact, a grown man. There were waaaaaaayy too many descriptions of different types of guns and tactical techniques and military talk. Most girls (who read this type of stuff, anyway) don't care about the nitpicky military stuff. It's boring.

And then there was a whole lot of space--I mean, chapters!--devoted to explaining in great detail the science aspect of the virus that killed off humanity and how Partials work. And while, admittedly, I did appreciate the depth and scope and planning and thought that went into making that science-fictiony stuff believable, it was just soooooo boring to read about. Our protagonist (whose name I forgot) kept harping on the same statistics and re-hashing tiny elements of her research. I don't doubt that researchers do that kind of thing. At all. I know when people are obsessed with a project it gets even worse than that. I just don't want to read about it in an escapist, post-apocalyptic YA novel. And why would no one besides a 16 year old girl think to study that angle? They've been researching the same thing for 11 years and no one thought this up until this little girl came along?

Oh, and women are supposed to get pregnant at least once a year. I understand the need to try to reestablish the population, especially since no newborns are surviving in this world. But I don't think Wells understands, at all, what happens to a woman's body during pregnancy and childbirth. It's extremely taxing. And invasive. And can actually be extremely harmful to your body to have so many pregnancies so close together. I felt like Wells would know that if he was a woman. And, therefore, so would the legislators of this world he created.

On top of all that, I'm pretty sure Wells didn't really even employ a decent editor. I noticed a lot of mistakes that a good editor should absolutely have picked up on. It pulled me out of the story quite a bit.

This premise was so great. I wanted so badly for this to be good. But I couldn't even finish it. I'm sorry Dan Wells. I appreciate all the work and planning that went into this story but I don't think you chose the correct audience for your book. You should write for men.

Sexual Content: Mild
Language: Moderate
Violence: Moderate
Drugs/Alcohol: Moderate 


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