Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Partials - Dan Wells [Review]

Title: Partials
Author: Dan Wells
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Series: Partials #1
Release Date: February 28th 2012
Pages: 468
Rating: ★★★
The human race is all but extinct after a war with Partials—engineered organic beings identical to humans—has decimated the population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by RM, a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island while the Partials have mysteriously retreated. The threat of the Partials is still imminent, but, worse, no baby has been born immune to RM in more than a decade. Our time is running out.

Kira, a sixteen-year-old medic-in-training, is on the front lines of this battle, seeing RM ravage the community while mandatory pregnancy laws have pushed what's left of humanity to the brink of civil war, and she's not content to stand by and watch. But as she makes a desperate decision to save the last of her race, she will find that the survival of humans and Partials alike rests in her attempts to uncover the connections between them—connections that humanity has forgotten, or perhaps never even knew were there.


Partials is one of those books that I got a long time and everyone seems to have already read and loved it. And after reading, I think to myself, why did I not read this before?

Quick Summary

After human-made creatures named Partials destroyed the Earth and released a virus that killed 99 percent of the population, only a handful of people remain. But every newborn dies of the virus and the human race is dying out. Medic-in-training Kira decides capturing a Partial is the only way to find a cure.  


In some previous reviews I've commented on the bad science in YA sci-fi books. Most of them are either romance books disguised as sci-fi books or have weird, unrealistic, unexplained science. This was luckily not the case in this book!
Our protagonist Kira is a medic and the book has Partials with their inhuman physique and the unexplained RM virus. So we get a lot of medical science and virology. I really loved it and it seemed like Dan Wells did quite a lot of research for this book. The science came over as realistic and was explained well throughout the book.


I really liked Kira. She was a strong heroine. She was very determined to cure the virus RM, although she was only a medic-in-training. She had a mind of her own and did not let anyone keep her from doing what she thought was right, especially not her boyfriend.

Later in the book we meet a Partial: Samm. I won't talk too much about him, because of spoilers, but he certainly was an interesting character. I was constantly questioning his motives and what he was saying, I still haven't figured him out. 

The other characters were not very memorable. Kira's friends supported her through her mission and the adults were obstacles. This book was more plot-driven, than character-driven. Nothing wrong with that, in my opinion, but some may not like it.


I liked that there was not really a love story in this book. I know a lot of you may find this a negative thing in a book, but I liked the change from other sci-fi books that all had some (unnecessary) romance in it. Kira already had a boyfriend in the beginning of the book and yes, there were some issues with their relationship in the book, like the forced pregnancy, but this was only a small part and in the rest of the book their relationship was basically non-existent. The lack of romance meant more focus on the scifi and worldbuilding, which I'm always asking for in reviews.

Plot & World Building

The story was engaging and fast-paced, with quite a few unexpected plot twists.

I really loved the world building in this book. We have a post-apocalyptic society, after almost everyone was killed by the virus or the Partial war. As in most of these societies there is a corrupt government and a rebel organization. But creepy enough the real enemies are still living a few miles away, and everyone is constantly waiting for the Partials to attack again. The government has all sorts of rules to stop the decay of humanity, like forced pregnancy for all women above 18. Although it may not be the most original post-apocalyptic world, it was described in much detail and we discover a lot of secrets about the world throughout the book.

I wouldn't call the end a cliffhanger, but it did leave you needing to read the sequel, because of the many unresolved problems.

Real-life issues

This book made me think about issues that are playing in our society and could be coming up one day. Like: how far can a government go to control its people and maintain a stable environment? It also tackles issues about women's rights and choosing pregnancy. And of course like in most sci-fi books: how far can science go to improve people's lives? 


A great book for those who want books with more emphasis on science in sci-fi and don't need romance.

Stars: 4 out of 5


  1. I'm so excited to read such a good review of this book! I currently have it borrowed out from my library, and the blurb sounded FANTASTIC, so I was pretty keen to get reading.
    I know what you mean about a lot of YA sci-fi novels being centrally a love story, with a side of sci-fi, so I am super happy to read that this is more of a real sci-fi story.
    I can't wait to read it now.
    Lovely review, Eveline :D

  2. I absolutely loved this book and the sequel is even better! I agree with you, the world-building is amazing in this book and I loved all of the sci-fi elements as well. Glad you enjoyed it! ~Pam

  3. I really think I need to read this one! Your review makes it sound right up my alley! I listen to Dan Wells on a writing podcast and he mentioned how this book was considered science-heavy for YA, which piqued my interest, but I'm glad to see a reviewer say that as well.

  4. I think I need to read this book. It sounds great! And I'm with you on the fact that sometimes the lack of a romance can be a good thing. :-)

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  5. Sounds like an epic book. I REALLY want to read it. I love it when the main girl is a good heroine. This book seems to be like ACID which I recently read. I don't mean in plot-line but just the same sort of rating coz I said a lot of things like this in my review for ACID.

  6. Hmm, I am one of those that love romance, so it might not be for me. Although I do have this book on my wish list. Well, I still might give it a try some day, as the synopsis sounds intriguing.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us!


  7. Nice, I'll check that book out!

  8. YES YES YES!! I'm glad you enjoyed Partials :D If you did, then you'll find Fragments even MORE fantastic!! *claps like a seal*
    I also loved it that you shared some takeaways on real life issues. That was a fantastic point. I also find myself thinking sometimes, how far will science go in improving our lives? Will it or will it not? It's a lot to do with ethics as well I think. How far are you willing to push those boundaries?
    Great review Eveline! Looking forward to more!

  9. I loved the sci-fi in this book. I'm going to be a microbiologist and I thought Wells did a great job :)


  10. Great review! I always wanted to read this one, too. I don't need any romance when there's something else equally fascinating. The last real sci fi I read was Ender's Game and I loved it!

    By the way, I really like your blog, the design and your writing. It's an interesting idea to have all your posts go up weekly. Good job!

    Johanna @

  11. Haven't read Ender's Game yet, but I really want to soon :)


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