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BOOK REVIEW: Partials by Dan Wells

BOOK REVIEW: Partials by Dan Wells

The year is 2076 and there are less than 50,000 humans left on the planet Earth. The human race is a dying species; RM, the disease that the Partials engineered to wipe out humanity, has ensured that. Yes, we created the Partials to fight for us, to be killing machines, but we didn’t think they’d turn against us, wiping out most and leaving the rest unable to have children. If we can’t reproduce, we will die; that much is certain.

For Kira, a sixteen-year-old medic, enough is enough. She can’t bear to deliver another baby, to have to tell another hopeful mother that her child is dead. What’s more, the Hope Act, which declares that all women eighteen and over have to be pregnant at all times, uses women as breeding machines with minimal results. Every baby still dies hours after it’s born.

Kira decides that the only answer is to somehow find a cure for RM. Though the world’s best scientists (at least, what’s left of them) have been working on finding a cure and healing humanity, Kira thinks she can do better. She’s clever and resourceful, and she’s willing to take risks that no one else is. Kira puts together a daring, treasonous plan, knowing that she may be the last hope for humanity.

It’s easy to think of Partials as just another post-apocalyptic dystopian YA thriller, but there’s a lot about it that’s very different than much of what’s out there. First of all, though Kira and what’s left of humanity live under an oppressive government, their lives aren’t horrible. They have enough to eat, and because it was a disease that killed humanity, all the infrastructure and resources are intact. It’s unique, which is hard to find these days, and is always fun. Also, it doesn’t really come across as YA. Yes, Kira is sixteen, but she and others her age are expected to act like adults. There’s no real romantic drama, not much teenage angst, and let’s face it: it’s refreshing.

The story Partials is what’s really exciting about the book. Yes, we’ve read a lot of books about robot wars, but this one is different. There are a lot of questions surrounding the book – where are the Partials now? And why haven’t they wiped out what’s left of humanity? Wells does a great job revealing information in a shocking way. While some of the plot twists are predictable, others are jaw dropping. It makes for an incredibly entertaining read.

That’s not to say the book is perfect—the writing can be clunky at times and the dialogue isn’t really realistic. But as the book moves on, these issues move to the background as the story becomes explosive and the stakes are heightened. In the end, they’re minor quibbles, as Partials is a crazy fun novel to read, and the ending will have readers absolutely clamoring for the next book in the series.

What's the last great sci fi book you read?

Tags: sci fi, ya novels, reviews, books-and-comics, partials, dan wells

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About the Author
Swapna Krishna

Swapna is a Washington, DC-based freelance editor who loves all things space and sci fi. You can find her book reviews at S. Krishna’s Books ( and on Twitter at @skrishna.

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