I feel like my latest read should come with a warning label. Something like Caution: If you are prone to paranoia or think nearly everything is a government conspiracy, this book will only make your condition worse. Since I am a teensy bit paranoid, I’m even more so after finishing this book, Partials by Dan Wells. I read the advance reader’s edition (the final product is due out on February 28, 2012), so some things may change, but I think the general tone of the book will definitely remain the same. Partials took me on a roller coaster ride, and I think fans of science fiction and dystopian literature will be as captivated and disturbed by this book as I was.
Even the beginning of Partials is ominous:
“When our ancestors were attacked at Pearl Harbor, they called it a day that would live in infamy. The day the Partials attacked us with the RM virus will not live in anything, because there will be none of us left to remember it.”
-President David R. Cregan, March 21, 2065, in a presss conference at the White House. Three hours later he hanged himself.
Our story begins twelve years later. The year is 2079, and nearly the entire human race has been wiped out by a deadly virus known as RM. The few known survivors, those immune to the virus, reside in East Meadow, Long Island, and their hope for a cure is dwindling. The Partials, the biologically engineered soldiers who released the virus, haven’t been heard from in over a decade. The Senate controls nearly every aspect of life, and their Hope Act requires every woman eighteen years of age and older to become pregnant in the hope that a baby immune to RM will be born. Rumor has it, though, that the Senate is about to lower the Hope Act age to sixteen. A rebel group known as the Voice is determined to thwart the government of East Meadow at every opportunity. In the middle of it all is Kira…
Kira Walker, a sixteen-year-old medical intern, is growing tired of seeing babies born only to die hours later when RM attacks them. She knows the cure is out there, and she is determined to find it. But what can she, a mere intern that no one listens to, possibly do that no one else has done before? She can study the very beings that released the virus in the first place–the creatures no one has seen in years, those immune to the virus in all its forms. Kira can capture a Partial.
As Kira tries to find a way to do something that no one has ever attempted, she is met with resistance–from the government, from friends, even from her own unsettled mind. But she is determined, and she eventually–with a lot of struggling, some law-breaking, and the help of some loyal friends–reaches her goal. She has a Partial to study. His name is Samm, and Kira is unprepared for how human he actually is. Kira is learning things from Samm that turn her entire world upside down. What if the Partials didn’t release RM? What if Partials are the key to the survival of the human race? What if the Partials need humans as much as humans seem to need them?
Kira doesn’t know if she can trust Samm’s information, but she is also learning that she can’t trust her government, either. Kira knows the Senate wants total control of the people, and they will use fear–of Partials, of RM, of the Voice, even of Kira–to maintain that control. Kira’s only choice to prevent civil war is to find a cure. But how can she find a cure when the only society she’s ever known is on the verge of self-destruction? When she doesn’t know who she can or cannot trust? When everything in her life is turning upside down? In this twisting, unpredictable world, how can one young girl–who may be more important than even she realizes–save humanity before all hope is lost? As she’ll soon learn, “the only hope for humanity isn’t human.”
This book took me on quite a ride. It started with a bang, and it ended on a cliffhanger. I was on the edge of my seat throughout the book. Partials is action-packed and will appeal to female readers who want a kick-butt, Katniss-like character, and it will appeal to male readers who enjoy reading about war, fighting, blowing stuff up, and super-soldiers. (I know this is a bit stereotypical, but it’s also kind of true.) Like I said above, fans of science fiction and dystopian fiction will definitely find something to enjoy in this book, the first in an anticipated series. If you like reading about government control, conspiracies, killer viruses, rebellion, and teenagers who think they know everything (and sometimes do), you should check this one out. Partials will be released to the masses on February 28, 2012.