Do not expect partial
spoilers; there are entirely too many. Sentence: I sentence Dan Wells to continuing his young adult series without dumbing it down.Review:
If Michael Crichton had ever written teen, post-apocalyptic (note:
previously listed as dystopian, but it's definitely not) fiction crossed over with the themes of Battlestar Galactica
; this would be it.
Dan Wells' Partials
is intelligent and well-solidified in fact (if based on genetics, virology and issues regarding cloning for military purposes) and some imaginative variations on fact. Much like Crichton, this story started off slow with introductions to characters and the world post-RM virus. For some, it may even be a little boring, but is certainly worth pulling through and understanding.
The characters are agreeable in that they have their own personalities, rather than sharing various character traits that so many authors make the mistake of. Marcus is the funny one and very realistic in his decisions; even hesitant to help his girlfriend, Kira. Kira is quick to anger and super defensive. She has a definite sense of right and wrong and is willing to die for her friends. Isolde is clearly the drunk, lecherous one (she sounds familiar...) and Haru is the cocky jerk that is sometimes agreeable. I could go on and on about Gianna (most definitely a woman with a voice
) or Xochi (wannabe-punk with enough attitude to knock down a mountain), but I'm sure my point is very clear. These characters are really
well-developed simply by their actions or how they say things.It leaves me feeling like I really know each character, in reality (and let me tell you, if I met this Samm character for realsies, I would probably maul his attractive ass).
The initial story is very much like Wither by Lauren Destefano, except the plot is more convoluted, with branching side stories to be resolved (Isolde's pregnancy; Kira's true nature; the nanny's disappearance; the truth behind the Trust; the disagreement between the Partials; etc.) and has less of the lovey-dovey romance in a sick, sad world. Sure, there are couples, but Kira's love for Marcus isn't enough to make her stay behind, get married and pregnant. There is so much more to her than that; she needs to know herself (who she is/what she is) and how to restore some semblance of security of a future to her people.
Here are the issues I had with Partials, whether legit or just weird quirks of my geekiness:
1. What the hell is up with their names? Can they get anymore influenced by nerdiness? Firstly, I can't stop thinking about Kira from Death Note every time the main character is mentioned by name. And then Haru reminds me of Haru from Fruits Basket (especially when he's being an asshole). These are both anime/manga, by the way, for those who are not incredibly well-versed in popular anime.
And then there is Madison (Mads), who is basically Kira's sister/best-friend, much like Sakura and Tomoyo (known as Madison in the English version) from Card Captor Sakura. Tomoyo/Madison also bears an eerie resemblance to Mads in her role as wardrobe specialist (Kira mentions this really early on).
And there's Samm. I was already convinced this story is like a weird, less prophecy-version of Battlestar Galactica, but then Samm showed up and then I expected Cylon warfare and infiltration. Because come on, are you not expecting Mr. Samuel T. Anders (in all his yummy, Cylon goodness) to be lying in Kira's lab, naked?!
What else was a weird name? Marcus, but I suppose it was not impossible to come back into use, in the future. Oh, I know, how about Arwen? If that does not scream G-E-E-K, then nothing does.
2. Why is Long Island the only place with survivors? Why wouldn't there be people with immunity to the RM virus in other parts of the world? Hell, if everybody caught wind of it early enough, especially when all these people started dying, Madagascar (or some other islands) could have cut off flights, etc. and survived.
3. Doctors at 16? Holy pre-mature job placements, Batman. I understand the Hope Act reducing the age of mandatory insemination/impregnation to 18 (and then 16), but there are literally children midwifing it up and researching the RM virus. Their frontal lobes aren't even fully developed for critical thinking, what the cuss. Desperate times?
4. The Oldies seem anti-children for wanting more children. They keep ranting about what was and what they lost and how plague-babies aren't any good and cannot understand. These "plague-babies" are their future, so why even bother complaining? In fact, if a baby lived past the three day mark, would it be like a hate-love thing for the older folks?
5. As soon as the Partials claimed Kira was a Partial, I was like "WHAT?! HALF-BREED?" So I feel like she should consider the possibility of being a combo of human and Partial. Seriously, what's the big deal?
Can't wait until the sequel (and more of Samm)!