Posts Tagged ‘Dan Wells’

Fragments

Dan Wells

fragmentsKira Walker has found the cure for RM, but the battle for the survival of humans and Partials is just beginning. Kira has left East Meadow in a desperate search for clues to who she is. That the Partials themselves hold the cure for RM in their blood cannot be a coincidence—it must be part of a larger plan, a plan that involves Kira, a plan that could save both races. Her companions are Afa Demoux, an unhinged drifter and former employee of ParaGen, and Samm and Heron, the Partials who betrayed her and saved her life, the only ones who know her secret. But can she trust them?
Meanwhile, back on Long Island, what’s left of humanity is gearing up for war with the Partials, and Marcus knows his only hope is to delay them until Kira returns. But Kira’s journey will take her deep into the overgrown wasteland of postapocalyptic America, and Kira and Marcus both will discover that their greatest enemy may be one they didn’t even know existed.
The second installment in the pulse-pounding Partials saga is the story of the eleventh hour of humanity’s time on Earth, a journey deep into places unknown to discover the means—and even more important, a reason—for our survival.

Please note, this book is second in the series, if you haven’t read the first there may be spoilers.

Picking up a couple of weeks after the events of ‘Partials’ ‘Fragments’ is a very strong second book in a series. It holds a hint of nostalgia for me as ‘Partials’ was the first book I was given to review by the Big Book Little Book team, as soon as the galley for ‘Fragments’ appeared I was very eager to get my hands on it, the book didn’t disappoint.

Partials was very heavy on the sci fi, Fragments has moved away a bit from this. It’s still an incredibly strong theme in the book, it always going to be when you are writing about biologically engineered robots, but much of the science has already been established so I suppose it doesn’t need explaining in quite the same way. There is also a move away from the dystopian topics of control, this book looks at individuals and their relationships to a much greater extent. It’s almost as Dan Wells felt as though he needed a book to establish his world and then he could concentrate on his characters. That’s not to say that the characters aren’t well drawn or one dimensional in Partials, but in Fragments we did see a greater depth to them and some relationships were explored in more detail. This was fantastic, as for me it’s the characters that really make a book. Fragments also had more of a sense of adventure to it with some incredible action packed scenes. This isn’t just a book for the girls, even with a female central character this is a book that I should be able to sell to the boys too.

There is still the crucial element of Romance and the hints of that ever present YA device, the love triangle, but this doesn’t take over the book. It’s there in the background, enough to satisfy those who like a little romance in their books but not enough to overwhelm the story. Just the way I like it.

Fragments has built such a believable future world that you can’t help but be drawn into the story. It isn’t a short book, but despite the length and fairly complicated storyline it is a fairly easy read. The writing draws you in and you really start to care about the characters. I found that I needed to know more and had to carry on reading.

The book also raises some interesting arguments over morality. The entire premise of the series, the creation of bioengineered robots, who think for themselves, being made for military purposes is always going to raise some interesting questions into the ethic of such a thing. What I have found incredibly interesting in both books is that Wells has decided to set the book after a virus has wiped out most of the human species, rather than the event itself. This means that both sides have had chance to evaluate their actions and how different camps have come to different conclusions is very interesting. The preconceptions of each side towards the other could be applied to so many issues that affect the human race, it becomes an interesting study of what it means to be human, even though one side technically isn’t. This really comes to the fore in Kira’s internal struggle, raised as human until she finds out that she is actually a partial as a teen, she feels that she doesn’t fit in either world. Human’s would see the robot whose kind almost destroy the human race, where as the partials just see someone is thinks like a human. I’m really looking forward to seeing how all of this can be resolved in the next book.

Verdict: A well built world, fantastic characters and some interesting moral issues, what more could you ask for?

Reviewed by Alison

Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s
Publication Date: March 2013
Format: eARC
Pages: 576
Genre: Dystopian, Sci Fi, Adventure
Age: YA
Reviewer: Alison
Source: Netgalley
Challenge: None
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Partials

Dan Wells

Sixteen-year-old Kira is trapped on Long Island. Her community clings to survival, but what hope can they have when no baby survives for more than three days?
Kira is determined to make a difference, to find a cure. Her best friend is pregnant and Kira cannot let that baby die. Time is running out and finding a cure means capturing a Partial…

‘Partials’ is set on Long Island in America at some time in the future. 99.996% of the population has been wiped out by the RM virus, believed to be released by the Partials, biological robots created by humans to fight in their wars. Partials were immune to the virus and now live on the mainland of America, the humans that remain on the Island may be the only survivors left in the world. But even these humans are split, those who support the senate that controls them and ‘The Voice’ who opposes them. In the middle of this is Kira, a sixteen year old medical student who has dreams of finding a cure for RM. In the eleven years since the virus was unleashed there has not been a single baby who has survived for more than a few hours. Then Kira’s best friend gets pregnant and finding a cure becomes that much more important.

This is another dystopian novel, in the wave that follows The Hunger Games, but this is a little different. Partials reminds me more of a traditional dystopian novel that pays homage to its sci-fi roots. This becomes very clear in the first couple of chapter and as I’m not really a lover of sci-fi I thought it would put me off but it didn’t. This book contains all the elements that you would expect from a dystopian novel all in one book. It’s set in a world unrecognisable to the one today due to one event that changed everything. It deals with governments who want to fully control the lives of their citizens and touches upon those who oppose them. It also deals with reproductive rights and the question of whether women should be forced to have babies to ensure the future of mankind. It also goes into the study of virology to give it more of an element of sci-fi (I will admit to not paying as much attention as I could have to these bits). The Partials are also pure sci-fi biological robots that think and feel and look exactly like humans, but aren’t.

The writing is incredibly fast paced, at nearly 500 pages it is quite long for a YA book, but reading it never feels like a chore. The characters are very well written and very believable, there could have been a danger that the characters would take second place to the storyline in a book like this, but that really isn’t the case. Character development is good and by the end you really feel as though you really know and can relate to the main characters, particularly Kira, the main protagonist. Not all the characters are all that likeable but that is to be expected in a book where control over others is such a strong theme. Dan Wells doesn’t pull any punches either and there is plenty of violence and death. None of it is gratuitous and it’s all in keeping with the storyline, but this probably isn’t a book for younger children. Despite reservations at the start, I found myself completely absorbed in the story. Partials covers a huge amount of threads throughout the book but is never confusing. Most of all, it will definitely make you think. The ending sets it up very nicely for another book in a way that guarantees that the stakes will be higher. I can’t wait.

Verdict: A fast paced book that deals with a number of issues. Sometimes challenging but very much worth it.

Reviewed by Alison

Publisher: Harper Collin’s Children’s
Publication Date: March 2012
Format: Paperback
Pages: 470
Genre: Dystopian, Sci-Fi
Age: YA
Reviewer: Alison
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: None
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