WARNING: This post may contain spoilers! I will try my very, very best not to spoil anything but that might not be completely possible!
Hey y’all! I’m would first like to apologize for the lack of posting this past week. My new Chloe and Isabel business has kept me a little more busy than I had initially planned. The upside: I’m loving it. Anyways, today I’m introducing a monthly series called To Be Read! Yep, it’s exactly what it sounds like. I’m going to give you a book that should ABSOLUTELY be added to your To Be Read list. This month’s book (and well, let’s be honest, the entire series) is: Partials by Dan Wells! Enjoy the official book trailer before diving into this post!
“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.”
I apologize for writing about (another) YA Dystopia series but what can I say, they’re my guiltiest of guilty pleasures. I actually got this from Audible for my latest trip down to WV. I spent the entire time there and back listening to it and, for once, didn’t almost fall asleep at the wheel. There are so many layers to this story that I can’t wait to read the other two novels in the series to see what comes next. Now here’s some of my thoughts:
Things I Love!
Kira Walker – Kira Walker is the protagonist of the series. Now, I know what you’re thinking and before you go there she’s definitely no Katniss, Tris, or any other female protagonist in a dystopian society that you’ve read thus far. No, Kira is intellectually gifted so if you’re a fan of women in the medical field, you’re really going to enjoy her as a character. She’s super smart but not overly smart in a way where she comes across as having it all figured out. Kira is totally an idealist which reminds the reader of her age and inexperience in the world.
Serious World Building – The world of Partials is amazing. I mean, I know next to nothing about science so I’m sure there’s a ton of people who read this and go “Um, yeah, that wouldn’t happen” but I am not one of those people. One of the things I loved most about this story was the fact that the time between “The Break” (aka the apocalypse) and present day in the story is only 10-11 years apart. That’s very unusual for a dystopian novel! Creating a divide between characters who were old enough to understand/remember “The Break” and those who were too young to remember is a great way to build tension in the novel and is a very strong theme that runs throughout. While the drama from this tension is often times subtle, you can still track the theme throughout the novel. I really think the world building in this novel is what made the book so great (for me at least) and I hope it continues throughout the series (I just downloaded book #2)!
Themes – If you’ve read my review of The 100 Series, then you know how much I appreciate good themes that appear throughout a book or series. I’ve touched a bit on one of them in the last section but this book is saturated with great themes, ready to be discussed and dissected (I’m currently trying to bribe Justin into reading it). Some of the themes are your standard dystopian troupes: iron-fist ruling government, people ready to rebellion, civil war, etc. but Partials also has a lot of themes that are darker than the standard YA dystopia novel, we’re talking Hunger Games level stuff, people. Without giving much away, in this world women are basically forced by law to reproduce once they reach a certain age, but that age keeps getting lower… and lower… and lower. Nice nod to The Handmaid’s Tale, eh? Going along with the darker themes we also have a form of racism that exists between the humans and Partials. It is interesting to see themes like these play out in a futuristic setting. Aside from the dark themes, the story is also threaded with typical young adult themes. Kira has relationships troubles, struggles to find her own identity in relation to the world, and tests boundaries with authority figures. (Fun fact: This book meets all the standards for common core). These are just a few of my favorites that I picked out. If you read the book, definitely shoot me some of your favorite themes as well!
Not So Much…
Pacing – I seriously don’t understand (okay, I really do get it but still) why so many reviews of this book start out with “But it’s soooooooo boring!” Alright, yes, the story can be a little slow at times but for crying out loud the first chapter is about an newborn dying almost immediately after birth. If that doesn’t rope you into the story, then I’m not really sure what will. That being said, the pacing of this first book is a little slow for my taste but that doesn’t make it any less great of a book. The last 25% of the book is fantastic, just when you think it’s over, it goes on a complete other arc (especially in audiobook form when you can’t tell how many pages are left). There were parts in the middle of the story that could have easily been taken out to make the pacing better but I think Wells was really trying to build up the world in this novel.
Characters – This is the one truly terrible flaw I see with Partials. Dan Wells, bless his heart, put so much into the background and world building that he… like totally forgot about his characters. Yeah, other than Kira, there’s really no one who’s truly that memorable. Honestly, I think my favorite side character is actually Nandita or the camel (yes, there’s a camel). But I hate Marcus, I mean, he might as well be a stalker. Even Samm, the partial, isn’t that interesting. The rest of the cast of characters are even less stellar, although I do really like Isolde for some reason (she reminds me of my college self I think). This story is definitely not character driven but what the characters do have is diversity. While ethnicity and race (aside from being a Partial) aren’t really mentioned too often, the cast of characters is definitely not white washed. Kira in one line actually refers to herself as Indian and Nandita is described as always wearing a sari. Other characters also appear to be of other ethnic groups though the younger generation does not mention traditions or anything like that. Though I don’t think it is enough to simply mention the fact that these characters are from different ethnic groups. I would have liked to see some of this tie into their dinners, conversation, etc. but again with the world building, it’s easy to see why this could have gotten knocked off of the priority list.
Man, I was really trying to come up with one more thing that I didn’t like but I’m drawing a huge blank. Anyways, I hope you add this to your TBR list and I really hope you decide to read it. I just started Fragments, book #2 in the series and I can’t wait to hear what happens next! What are you currently reading or what’s on your list to read for the month? I want to know! Comment below or hit me up on social media!