Author: Dan Wells
Series: Partials Sequence, #1
Format: Paperback, bought
My rating: 1 / 5
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.
-- As seen on Goodreads
Ahh, Partials, what a disaster you turned out to be. When future-me looks back on this book I can imagine I’ll be classing it amongst some of my most hated books – and I only read 251 pages before I began skim reading to see if things improved. They didn’t. Maybe I missed some of the finer details, but there wasn’t anything that grabbed my attention to make me regret skimming on ahead. Let me explain my hatred. *Cracks knuckles*
Whenever I read a dystopian book, it’s inevitable I’ll compare it to The Hunger Games. Those books are pretty much a blueprint to everything I love about the dystopian genre, and everything I crave to experience when I pick up a dystopian book: fast pace; action packed; a real sense of risk; a bond with the characters; awesome writing etc. They’re my benchmark. Yes, it’s a bit unfair, but it’s how I subconsciously as well as consciously compare how I liked a book overall.
Here’s the thing: Partials is too slow. Slow, slow, slow. I don’t mind a slower pace if there’s an equal amount of heart stopping action popping up throughout the story. The glaring problem I had was that nothing happened. In my copy, on page 158 it says: “but nothing happened” and also on 159 it says “but nothing happened”. Why in the world would you even bother writing an action sequence where, quite literally, nothing happens?! The characters didn't do anything beyond talking to each other for dozens of pages at a time, walking through abandoned streets, or riding horse-drawn carts down even more abandoned streets. It’s tedious. For all the warning we get of how terrible The Voice is, and how lethal and horrible the Partials are, honestly, they didn’t seem very threatening in the grand scheme of things.
I haven’t a clue where this impression came from but I thought Paritals was going to be a zombie book. I was expecting hoards of the undead coming to eat every brain in sight and eradicate every glimmer of humanity left in the world. Colour me surprised when I began reading to discover a breeding programme that every woman is forced to participate in. *Grinds teeth* I’ll be honest here, if I had known about this going into the book, I wouldn’t have read it. Forcing pregnancy on anyone is something that’s guaranteed to unleash my inner fire breathing bitch queen. Ohh, I could just imagine someone coming up to me and telling me it was my responsibility, by some bloody proclamation, that I had to pop out a baby once a year as long as my fertility lasted. Honestly, the expression on my face alone would probably cause the coward to run away in fear, and that would be the sensible thing to do. Oh my good grief, heads would ROLL.
Also, the subtle layer of sexism throughout what I read infuriated me even more. I’m not sure if it’s accidental or intentional, but either way, I have some huge issues with ‘traditionally female activities’ being sneered at or classed as lesser. It doesn’t sit well with me on ANY level, and it makes it even worse when the female main character reinforces these themes. Overall it left me feeling very uncomfortable, and angry.
And speaking of the characters, quite frankly, they were unbearable. Kira was the biggest pain in the arse I’ve ever come across in YA. She’s sixteen, yet she acts like she’s freaking forty-six! And, of course, a sixteen year old will be the one to suggest a new avenue of study to enlighten poor little humanity on how to save itself. Feck all the people that were in the field studying for decades before the Break – they haven’t a clue! But the sixteen year old INTERN with TWO YEARS of study is smarter than the lot of ya. Sorry, I can’t buy this. We’re given the excuse that she’s supposed to be some sort of medical/biological genius. After two years of schooling! *Sigh*, I can’t take this stupidity.
Something else that hindered my suspension of disbelief: the book is set 60 years in the future. ONLY 60 YEARS! Since verbal traditions have been passed down through thousands of years – not to mention that buildings can last in various stages of abandonment for hundreds of years – it makes no sense to me whatsoever that they don’t know what an ice-rink or a weather station is. Or where the State of Georgia was located!! If we’re two, three or four hundred years in the future, then maybe I could try and accept it, but not sixty!
Add in endless info-dumping, stagnant writing and not enough action to stem off the boredom, and there was a never going to be a doubt about my overall feelings toward the book. In short, it was slow, boring, dull and pointless – and that was just the characters. The plot and pacing was even worse. Honestly, you won’t be missing anything if you skip reading Partials.