I found this book extremely, extremely entertaining.
It’s not great literature, for sure. It’s not even super-fantastical literary-wise amongst those in it’s genre. However, it is a lot of fun to read.
Partials takes on the trope of YA aftermath novels and gives it a new and unique twist. Not only is it more than a decade after the end of the world, but the end of the world is pretty unique. Oh, okay, war and plague are not unique, but the idea that they were created by a unique race of people/machines called Partials – genetically engineered humans designed to fight wars so humans don’t have to do the jobs of infantrymen – well, that’s unique. And it has led to some extraordinarily interesting circumstances for this book.
The war is over, yes, but humans haven’t been able to procreate since. The children born to the survivors of the plague die within three days of birth, having no immunity to the disease themselves. To try and get as many chances of survival as possible, the senate has created The Hope Act, which requires all women over 18 to be pregnant as often as possible to see if eventually someone’s baby will survive. Obviously, this has been a huge failure and – not surprisingly – has caused certain factions to rebel against the government.
In the middle of all this is Kira. She’s 16, has a boyfriend, and is studying to be a medic. She’s smart, serious, one of several orphaned kids being raised by an adoptive grandmother. One of her adopted sisters is pregnant, and she’s absolutely determined to save her baby, no matter what it takes.
The characters in this book are well-developed for YA. The world-building is fantastic, and I loved the moments when the group was trooping through an overgrown Manhattan. It felt very real. It also has some great dark humor moments.
“Well, thanks for not shooting anyone, I guess”, said Marcus. “My contribution was to somehow refrain from peeing myself. You can thank me later.”
“I’ve never been this wet in my life, ” said Kira. “Even immersed in a bathtub I swear I was dryer than I am now. ”
“Look on the bright side, ” said Marcus.
“This is the point at which you would traditionally suggest a bright side. ”
“I’ve never been a real traditional guy,” said Marcus. “Besides, I’m not saying I know a bright side, I just think this would be a great time to look at one.”
One of the best things of this book, is that unlike some series’ I’ve read recently, it tied up the main story lines enough that you got satisfaction from finishing the book. That’s the sign of a good writer. I was left with enough interest to want to delve right into the next edition, but happy enough with the way the storylines were finished to feel “complete”. Too many writers want to leave everything hanging to try to force you into reading the next book in the series. I hate that so much.
One of my biggest pet peeves. Seriously. I swear off all books by an author when they pull that stuff.
“Happiness is the most natural thing in the world when you have it, and the slowest, strangest, most impossible thing when you don’t. It’s like learning a foreign language: You can think about the words all you want, but you’ll never be able to speak it until you suck up your courage and say them out loud.”