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Isolation (Partials) [Kindle Edition]

Dan Wells
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: CDN$ 2.99 includes free international wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers CA
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Product Description

Product Description

Two decades before the events of Partials, the world was locked in a different battle for survival: a global war for the last remaining oil reserves on the planet. It was for the Isolation War that the American government contracted the ParaGen Corporation to manufacture the Partials—our last hope in reclaiming energy independence from China. And it was on these fields of battle that the seeds of humanity's eventual destruction were sown.

Isolation takes us back to the front lines of this war, a time when mankind's ambition far outstripped its foresight. Heron, a newly trained Partial soldier who specializes in infiltration, is sent on a mission deep behind enemy lines. What she discovers there has far-reaching implications—not only for the Isolation War, but for Partials and humans alike long after this war is over.

A powerful take of our world on the brink, Isolation gives readers a glimpse into the history from which Partials was born—as well as clues to where the Partials Sequence is heading next.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 679 KB
  • Print Length: 75 pages
  • Publisher: Balzer + Bray (Aug. 28 2012)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers CA
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #11,897 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome June 11 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
This Novella was really good and really insight full to the series as a whole. I really enjoyed it and recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading about dystopian societies and the human race in general.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Some background story July 31 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is just a short story to show how the partials were trained and why they turned on the humans. After reading this, I can't say that I blame them. I would hate humans too.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting YA book Jan. 4 2014
By tvnut
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I really liked the characters in this book. A well written and exciting story.
I am really looking forward to the third book in the trilogy.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars  62 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Why Does The Chinese Dialogue Sound Like Poor Subtitiles? Dec 14 2012
By Lilian @ A Novel Toybox - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
Isolation is a prequel novella in Dan Well's Partials series. Although it is technically a prequel and can be read alone, I still recommend reading it after the first book, Partials, because there is a bit of jargon, but more importantly, it's clearly a supplement to the series and it's just not very strong story by itself. The story is from the point of view of Heron, an assassin Partial created to infiltrate Chinese headquarters.

I admit I might be a bit biased since this novella is set in China, and me being Chinese is especially keen to how my culture is depicted, especially when they are supposed to be the "enemy." Which brings me to this:

Why Do All The Chinese People Have Awkward Dialogue That Sounds Like Poor Movie Subtitles?
I am not sure if this is intentional to emphasize the foreign nature of Chinese, but I couldn't help catching that all Chinese dialogue sounded forced, unfitting for the rough, ruthless, army men I imagined the characters to be.
For example, in one scene the Chinese general says, "A decisive blow...could destroy them utterly...Then we must flee in the Rotors."
Even I don't even use "utterly" or "flee" in colloquial language.

The Chinese names were also inaccurately romanized. There are no "Do" or "Po" sounds. But then maybe I'm asking for too much. All the Chinese names were ridiculous that I almost burst out laughing.

Chinese Men Are Also Stereotypical Misogynists
I have no idea why this story is set in 2060, yet it seems like China has moved backwards in gender equality. I admit that in rural China, males are valued more than females, but in Isolation, the Chinese men detest women.
Blast all devils to hell, and devil women to the deepest part of it.

Yes, the Chinese also call their enemies "devils," which seems to portray them as superstitious fools more than using the term as a derogatory term. Never mind that their dialogue sounds like something from a bad video game trying desperately to sound epic. *sigh*

To be fair, the Americans don't sound like great people either. Basically, the purpose of the Isolation War is unveiled, which turns out to just be greedy people who want to wage war for resources. China holds these precious resources, but have turned themselves into North Korea, where they've isolated themselves from international trade. And Americans, being power-hungry, have to wreck havoc until they get what they want.

The Perspective of a Partial:
The main attraction of this novella is to give readers background information about Partials, how they are formed, and the way they think. These herons are built to be soldiers, cold, unfeeling creatures built to follow orders. Heron isn't a hero because she wants to, but because she is following orders...and because she is angry. So Partials don't give a damn about anyone, or even their own and will do destructive things out of anger--which makes me question why would her creators take away empathy but leave "anger." I fear that Dan Wells has defaulted back to the sociopaths he has written many times before. *points to John Cleaver*

In the end we have a novel filled to the brim with a bunch of unlikable people and a messy plot that's supposed to be action-packed and filled with brilliant military strategy, but left me confused half the time. Perhaps if it was a movie, it would've worked better--I could imagine Heron as Anne Hathaway's Cat Woman from Dark Knight Rises (especially the scene where she pretends to be helpless.) But while I appreciated the action and the backstory, I couldn't relate to any of the characters to be invested in the story. The stereotypical portrayal of Chinese and Americans left me wincing till the end. As a fan of Partials, I am disappointed. Even 75 pages felt too long.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars thetas are all powerful Aug. 31 2012
By Kelli - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This story explains how partials were utilized in the Isolation War. It provides valuable information about how they were used and why they were created. It also provides an explanation of how the partials would be able to revolt against their human makers.

While this was a short story, it was well written. It was on point and succinct. The characters were well explained. It clearly fulfills the description provided by the author.

We already knew that the partials were used to wage war, and they had somehow subverted their programming. I was kind of disappointed there was no subversion required. Humans had created an espionage or theta model that was not required to take commands from humans. (Stupid human trick of the day). Then I learned that the theta's commands would override human commands to partial soldiers. (Stupid human trick of the week). We add smart free thinking, trained to kill, trained to strategize to humans treating them as slaves and discarding them like trash, and we get really angry machines revolting against human makers. (Stupid human trick of the year).

And I give this a 3 because I don't find it believable that anyone is this dumb.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Short Yet Substantial Dec 27 2012
By Hannibal0020 - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
In all of my years of reading fiction, Dan Wells's Partials was one of the very few books that was able to take me by surprise with its absolute brilliance. It was a book that did everything right; it was an incredibly entertaining novel filled to the brim with exciting high-stakes action, memorable characters, and a plot that was just as entertaining to read as it was to contemplate its higher issues of transhumanism and survival via ends that justify the means. It was brilliant all around and I'm clamoring for the sequel to arrive. Fortunately it seems Wells has heard my pleas, for he's given his fans a short-story in the form of Isolation, a novella which explores the dark days of the Isolation War and the creation of the Partials before their inevitable conflict with humanity and its near extinction. Isolation may be on the short side, but it's definitely substantial in all the most important areas.

The most immediate strong point I noticed about Isolation was Wells's emphasis on the character Heron, a figure which fans will recall from a few scenes in Partials. The character was certainly underutilized in the previous book yet even with her minor appearance she left a strong impression, hence giving her the spotlight was a good call. As the protagonist of the story, she not only represents her own ideals and upbringing but also the entirety of the Partial consensus. The trials she faces, the enemies she's forced to overcome, and her inherent expendability are all covered in great detail which really helps flesh out her character for her larger role in the upcoming Fragments. But most importantly, it succeeds in providing an alternate perspective on the events and the world at large than the ones seen through the eyes of a human being. The Partials were certainly demonized as monsters by their victims in Partials, yet after reading Isolation that slander couldn't be further from the truth.

Despite its short length Isolation is actually comprised of two juxtaposed stories that create one cohesive narrative that flips between the two every chapter. The first takes place during the United States' invasion of China with the Partial army doing the grunt work. Through the eyes of Heron, she must follow the orders of her superiors in order to effectively sabotage the Chinese war machine while maintaining her facade as a Chinese assistant to their most illustrious generals. The second story follows Heron from her artificial birth and her eventual training. This story highlights how the individual Partial archetypes were utilized during the war, as well as Heron's personal experiences and arduous training regiments.

Yet what Isolation does the best is illustrate a gradual distain for humanity from the Partial perspective. From their blatant disregard for the Partials as mere expendable tools of war, to their superiors' inhumane and outright cowardly tactics on the battlefield, the reader is given a complete understanding of the Partial point of view which only reinforces the series' impressive morally ambiguous tone. In Partials, no one was inherently wrong in their approach, nor did they believe they were unjust or doing the wrong thing. Their actions were merely driven by the importance of survival; Isolation merely feeds into these key undertones and helps reinforce them, serving as an optimal jumping on point for new fans or an insightful introspective for older ones who've already completed the first book. In the end, the Partials' genocide of humanity was unjustified, but their hatred and eventual rebellion certainly were.

Any fan of Partials should definitely give Isolation a try. Its emphasis on Heron was a great move, for it provides keen insight into the Partial train of thought and their harsh upbringing as weapons of war. Though it's the consensus the reader reaches with the Partials regarding their burning hatred for mankind that makes it so substantial and truly adds to the Partial Sequence's storyline. With such a great entry I'm even more excited to see Kira and Samm return in Fragments, along with Heron at their side, wherever that may take them.
4.0 out of 5 stars Fans and non-fans of Partials will enjoy Isolation Oct. 21 2012
By Ryan - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Of all the Novella / Novelette size stories I have read recently, Isolation is one of the better ones. Isolation is a prequel of sorts to Partials, centred around the actions of Theta-class Partial Heron (who we met at the end of Partials). Set during the Isolation War, we get alternating chapters between the infiltration of / battle with the Chinese army, and birth / training of new Partials.

The birth / training scenes provide some fascinating background knowledge and eventually insight into how the Partials tick, while infiltration / battle scenes shows how the Isolation War planted the seeds of self worth within the Partials - the realisation that they should be treated better than just tools in a human war for resources.

Heron is probably the best developed character in the Partials Sequence so far, and like all of Wells' best developed characters, it probably has something to do with her non-standard brain. John Cleaver is sociopathic, Michael Shipman is schizophrenic, and Heron has been designed without an empathy module (which I guess makes her the Partial version of a sociopath). Wells just has a way of giving these characters strong conflict arcs with "normal" humanity, getting them to realise they aren't normal, forcing them to try and be normal, and then watching what happens as they try to come to terms with not being normal and accept who they are.

Fans of Partials will love Isolation. For people who were luke-warm on Partials but really enjoy Wells' other work (like me), I think you will enjoy this story much more than Partials. For those who haven't read Partials... I think things are pretty well explained and there aren't too many little in-jokes so there is a good chance you will enjoy it.
5.0 out of 5 stars Action-packed with plenty of moral conundrums Sept. 8 2012
By Bookphile - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed Partials and have been eagerly awaiting the next book in the series, so when I saw that there would be a novella that would provide some more background about the Isolation War, I was all over it. If you haven't read Partials yet, you could conceivably read this one first, as it deals with events that take place before the timeline in Partials. However, I'd recommend reading Partials before this novella, as the character this novella focuses on plays a small role in Partials, and reading this novella gave me a whole new appreciation for her. Some spoilers to follow.

First off, I think Dan Wells is frankly awesome at creating female characters. I loved Kira in Partials, and I loved most of the secondary women as well. They are fully-formed people with minds of their own, and they make their own decisions in life. I really, really wish more authors would create such great female characters.

Heron is certainly no exception. In fact, after reading this novella, I think Heron has become one of my favorite characters in the series. She is awesome. Wells really knows how to do an ominous character, to write one in such a way that their motivations are easily understandable and believable. Told in alternating chapters, the novella switches back and forth between Heron's creation and initial training, and the role she plays in the Isolation War.

This book poses a lot of very interesting questions. Heron does bad things, but does the blame lie with her? There are a lot of ethical questions swirling around in this novella, and none of them are easy to answer. I think Wells does a great job of pointing out the dangers in using technologies of war that remove actual human beings further and further from the front lines. True, human lives are saved in this book, but at what cost to humanity's sense of morality? By the time the novella ended, I found myself wondering if I could really blame Heron for her actions in Partials. I certainly am not excusing the atrocities she commits, but this novella really makes it a lot easier to see what led her to act as she does.

The other strong point about this novella's contribution to the series is that it gives the reader a much better sense of the world. I thought Wells did a really good job of world building in Partials, but this book provides background that helps really flesh out the setting. It was interesting to learn what had driven the creation of the Partials in the first place, as well as to realize what had led to their act of rebellion. With this novella, Wells answers the questions about what's going on in the rest of the world, giving the localized struggle in Partials a broader context.

I was completely immersed in this story the whole time I read it. It's very fast-paced and packs a lot of interesting detail without the narrative ever getting bogged down. I'm looking forward to the next installment in the series now more than ever, thanks to this novella.
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