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Partials [Hardcover]

Dan Wells
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Feb. 17 2012 Partials Sequence (Book 1)

For fans of The Hunger Games, Battlestar Galactica, and Blade Runner comes the first book in the Partials Sequence, a fast-paced, action-packed, and riveting sci-fi teen series, by acclaimed author Dan Wells.

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.

Supports the Common Core State Standards


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From Amazon

Robison Wells Interviews His Brother, Dan Wells

Dan Wells is the acclaimed author of the John Cleaver series: I Am Not a Serial Killer, Mr. Monster, and I Don’t Want to Kill You. He has been nominated for both the Hugo and the Campbell Award and has won two Parsec Awards for his podcast Writing Excuses. Robison Wells, Dan’s younger brother, is the author of Variant, which Publishers Weekly called “a chilling, masterful debut” in a starred review, and its sequel, Feedback (available Fall 2012). Here, Robison interviews his brother about Partials, Dan’s pulse-pounding first book in his post-apocalyptic series that questions the very concept of what it means to be human.

Robison: Dan is my brother, exactly 13 months older than me. He and I shared a room our entire childhood, took the same classes, even dated the same girls. Dan got me into writing about twelve years ago, and ever since we’ve critiqued each other’s work, brainstormed new ideas, and told each other how terrible he is. So, with such a long background together, I’m particularly interested to see if I can learn anything new in this interview.

I’ve read so much of your writing over the years, from your poem about turkeys in the fifth grade to your first epic fantasy to your literary farce to your horror, and now your YA post-apocalyptic Partials. Is there anything you’ve written that I’d be surprised to hear about?

Dan: I wrote some Rifts fan fiction in high school—I don’t know if you knew about that. I actually reused a part of it for Partials.

Robison:What part?

Dan: I won’t say, but it’s in the first third.

Robison: You’ve written in all these different genres: Is it because you’re still looking for the perfect fit? Or are you just interested in writing lots of different things?

Dan: Almost every book I write is a new genre, or a weird combination of genres, because I like to branch out and try new things. I never would have imagined that I’d write a horror series, but that was the first book I published. I never would have found that character, or the audience that loves him, if I’d forced myself to stick to one thing.

Robison: How was the transition from supernatural to sci-fi?

Dan: Not too bad, since I see them as very connected—the only real difference between fantasy and SF is the explanation of where the weird stuff comes from. SF ended up being a lot harder, in some ways, because I had to make those explanations scientifically sound. In my horror series I could just say, “It’s a monster!” With SF I had to do a ton of research into genetics, biology, and the science of decay.

Robison: How did you do your research?

Dan: A lot of my research started online, including Wikipedia—people make fun of it as a research tool, and I admit that it’s a terrible place to end your research, but it’s a fantastic place to start. From there I found more detailed websites, and eventually some great connections to books. One of the most useful books I read was The World Without Us by Alan Weisman, about what would happen to the things we leave behind if we suddenly weren’t there to take care of them. It’s a very detailed combination of scientific research and thought experiment.

In Partials, the apocalypse wasn’t a bomb or a war or anything physically destructive, just a disease: We died, but all our stuff is still just sitting there. It was a fun situation to study, and a blast to depict in a book.

Robison: So, having done all that research, what tips would you give for surviving an apocalyptic pandemic? Let’s assume you’re immune to the virus.

Dan: I don’t know how you’re going to work that out, but there you go. Once you have that taken care of, you live in a combination of paradise and medieval squalor. You will have no electricity or running water, but almost everything else will be free. Canned food can last for a decade or more before going bad, so you can live at a subsistence level just by scavenging the local stores.

Robison: Why do you think your society of survivors ended up being organized and civil and less Mad Max-ish?

Dan: A big part of it is the scarcity issue. Mad Max and similar apocalyptic scenarios start with the premise that everything is destroyed. The survivors have to fight tooth and nail for what little resources are left. In Partials, everything you could ever want is just there for the taking.

Robison: What books/movies/music/TV influenced Partials?

Dan: Some of the influences are obvious, like Battlestar Galactica and Children of Men. Others are harder to spot. I listened to a steady diet of protest songs and revolutionary music while writing, stuff like “Uprising” by Muse, because they got my blood going and helped me get into the main character’s fiery personality. And some of my influences didn’t really end up in the book, though I still count them—things like Mad Max and A Canticle for Leibowitz that inspired my love of post-apocalyptic stories, but which didn’t really apply in this case.

The biggest influence may have been our own history and current events. Partials is, at times, a very angry book, and that’s a reflection of my own feelings about a lot of the stuff I see going on in the world.

Robison: Let’s talk about that. You’ve said before that you think one of the reasons dystopia is so popular right now is because our world is becoming more dystopian. What current events influenced you in Partials?

Dan: For example, the story is set eleven years after a devastating catastrophe—and in 2012, my readers are also eleven years after their own devastating catastrophe. The events of 9/11 changed the way we do almost everything in this country, and to a lesser extent the rest of the world. One of the things I tried to do in the book was show that the adults, who remember what life was like before the end of the world, have a very different attitude about it than the kids who’ve never really known any other life.

I also tried to throw in a lot of the extreme measures our government and our culture in general have taken in response to terrorism—reduced privacy, indefinite detention, torture, and so on. I think there are arguments on both sides of all these issues, and I tried to give each side a fair shake. Kira, the main character, has very strong ideas about what’s justifiable and what’s not, and just because she’s the main character doesn’t mean she’s always right. If anyone’s actually “right” at all.

Robison: So, on a happier note, why do you think I’m so awesome?

Dan: Because you take after your brother.

Review

“A thrilling sci-fi adrenaline rush, with one of the most compelling and frightening visions of Earth’s future I’ve seen yet. I couldn’t put it down.” (Pittacus Lore, #1 New York Times bestselling author of I Am Number Four)

“Wells creates a compelling, fantastically complex post-apocalyptic landscape, adding thought-provoking twists to a classic story of humanity creating its own doom...With broad cross-genre appeal and an engaging balance of thematic depth and rip-roaring action, this winner will leave readers clamoring for sequels.” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)

“A dark, wild ride.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Readers who enjoy headstrong feminist leads making their way . . . in the not-too-distant future will find plenty to like in Partials.” (Los Angeles Times)

“Mr. Wells has recombined familiar dystopian elements, added original ones and thrown in dashes of dry wit to create a sprawling, action-packed medical thriller full of big ideas and exciting reversals.” (Wall Street Journal)

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars definitely better than expected Aug. 18 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Gotta say, definitely better than expected. The premise is another end of the world type thing. And then they're running out of babies, population is dying, etc. Throw in the enemy - super human clones - the Partials. If you like reading apocalyptic type adventures, then this is definitely for you. It seems these days there's a love triangle in every YA book. Is that a requirement for the publishers or something?
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastically different dystopian April 7 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
Find the original review here: http://thisisthestoryofmyreadinglife.blogspot.ca/2014/04/miniviews-7-winners-curse-partials.html

This is another series that I decided would be best read in one go. So I impatiently waited for the last book to be released and than I started Partials. And I'm glad I waited. Not only is Partials pretty action packed but it's also full of different plot points that I've discovered become more important as the series goes on. Different bits you don't want to forget about. Which can easily happen with a year between readings. Anyhow, Partials is a dystopian set years after the world has been reduced to a wasteland. Like any good dystopian the past government has decided in all their intelligence that there was a better way to control its people. Which of course backfired. In this case they created Partials. Part humans part controllable machines. Every thing started out perfect until the Partials decided they didn't like being controlled and didn't fit into society. So they rebelled. The advantage the government gave the Partials was being super human and not easily killed. Needless to say, they easily destroyed most of the human race. This is where we meet Kira, 12 years after the war, living in a small community of what is the last humans on earth. The humans haven't had contact with the Partials since the war. But they know they're out there. There's also a bigger problem, there's been no babies born since the war. Women can carry to term, but two or three days after birth the baby dies.
Kira works in the maternity ward, but her real passion is in the research it takes to figure out why these babies are dying. Kira is beyond determined and knows that the researchers have done all they can with the information they have.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Post-apocalyptic Read April 26 2012
By Jessica Strider TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Pros: realistic societal tensions in a post-apocalyptic world, compelling quests, strong female protagonist

Cons: don't learn as much about the partials as you'd like, the protagonists get out of several tough situations with surprising ease

For Parents: no sex, no swearing, lots of violence, but nothing too graphic (shooting/death, off stage torture)

It's been 11 years since the genetically engineered partials rose up against their human creators, unleashing a virus that decimated the human population. Now, the remaining survivors live on Long Island, most in the community of East Meadow, which, due to its Hope Act of forcing all women 18 and over to give birth as often as possible, has created a resistance movement called the Voice. Into this turmoil comes a brilliant young hospital intern, Kira. She wants to study the one thus far unstudied aspect of the plague that still kills all human children born. Partials.

Partials is quite an adrenaline rush. There's a lot of action and several quests, starting, but not ending, with Kira's quest to find and capture a partial. While I wasn't always convinced that their plans would work as well as they did, enough things went wrong that I was willing to overlook how often enough went right.

Kira herself was an interesting character. She's borderline irritating, in that she's stubborn and 'knows' the best course of action, despite only being 16 and a 'plague baby' (ie, someone born just before the end of the modern world and too young to know what happened with the partials from personal experience). What redeems her is her reliance on her friends and her willingness to accept a change of plans when necessary.

What really sets this book apart is in its realistic depiction of society.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Partials Feb. 28 2012
By Avery Greaves TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
This book was one of my most highly anticipated books of 2012- everything about it intrigued me (especially the tagline, "The only hope for humanity isn't human"), however, after having finished it I must admit that I am a tad disappointed with it (I can't help but wonder, did I set my expectations too high? To an almost unattainable level?).

My largest complaint about this book would be how militaristic and science-y the storyline was and how in-depth of detail the author went into said parts. While I was reading all of the science-y stuff I constantly found my mind drifting off/ my eyes crossing, for instance portions of the book such as this: "... a screen full of viral images, a series of reports on the viral structure. It had two forms, one for blood and one for air; the Blob and the Spore, the yellow and the blue... The Spore was tiny, perfect for traveling through the air..." (46%). If I had to guesstimate I would say that at least a quarter of the book involved Kira standing in front of a computer screen analyzing the Paritals blood (while reading these parts I was super grateful that I have some background knowledge of how the human body works because had I not I know that I would have been even more so lost).

That being said, I LOVED the characters of this book- main characters and secondary characters alike! I think that this batch of characters is actually the strongest (mentally, physically, and emotionally) that I have ever read before (from Kira, to Samm, to Isolde, to Madison and Xochi).
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  377 reviews
91 of 108 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Riveting Dec 21 2011
By J. Meegan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
I'm really not into dystopian/post-apocalyptic books (unless they feature zombies...go figure) but I decided to give this one a try when the pickings were slim on the most recent Vine newsletter. At roughly 472 pages, this is a hefty read and the subject matter is rather intense/dark at times so if you're looking for something light and upbeat, look elsewhere. This is an ambitious book and for the most part I really enjoyed it....but it did have its flaws.

The Good:
- Had it not been for the cover blurb and the cover illustration, I wouldn't have realized this was a YA-targeted book until a good portion of the way into the story. First off, the characters are expected to behave and act like adults in this brave, new world...so most of the teen angst nonsense so prevalent in many YA books is simply not here at all. Also the author presumes the intelligence of his readers...nothing gets "dumbed down" and the science and technology in the book are fairly detailed and sophisticated. The author also doesn't pull any punches when it comes to presenting the reality of a world in which the human race is rapidly heading towards extinction...there are some uncomfortable truths the characters (and readers) will face but I think this adds to the richness of the story.
- Kira is a very smart and easy-to-like heroine. In fact, most of the key young adult characters are multifaceted, richly layered, and given a level of complexity not often found in books for teens. Not all the main characters are likeable....but they are presented in such a way that you can at least understand where they're coming from even if you don't like them very much.
- When the suspense starts, it's action-packed, full of tension, and pretty awesome. It felt cinematic at times....which made it easier for me to picture the scenes in my mind's eye.
- I love how the book starts out with a very tight focus and then expands to include all the details of Kira's world (and beyond) as her understanding of the world she knows and herself begin to change. The world building is detailed and nicely done...especially the attention to detail surrounding the aftermath of the virus and how everything fell apart.

Needs Improvement:
- Many of the adult characters came off as two-dimensional, especially the ones involved in the political spectrum. One of my pet peeves with regards to YA books is when the majority of adults get portrayed as losers. I don't think it does young adults any favors to reinforce the stereotype that grown-ups are complete idiots and unworthy of respect. I think a story can explore the idea of an empowered teen without having to turn the over-thirties into cartoon characters or buffoons.
- At times I found it difficult to keep track of the numerous characters. I also felt the author/editor could have easily trimmed or even cut an entire chapter or scene and the story wouldn't have suffered as a result.
- I liked where the story went in the last third of the book.....but I'm not sure I fully understand why it happened, nor did I find some of the revelations believable. It seemed to me the author could have used some additional foreshadowing to at least hint at some of the things we discover, especially in the final two chapters. As it stands, Kira's discoveries about herself and her family seemed totally out of the blue given what we already knew of her and of the Partials.

One thing to keep in mind, while this book does feature a relationship between Kira and her boyfriend, Marcus...the whole romance thing takes a big backseat and this is most definitely not a book in which the romance is a main part of the story. The two characters feel like very old friends and clearly have a deep feelings for one another...but there's zero romantic tension. Possible this will be explored further in the next book, especially with regards to Samm...but for now, don't buy this book if you're looking for a strong romance angle.

PS for those of you who are fans of the most recent Battlestar Galactica series, the underlying themes--especially with regards to the Partials vs. the humans (think Cylons vs. humans)--are quite similar.
89 of 107 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars End-of-the-world YA entry Jan. 3 2012
By Mary Jo DiBella - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Lately I seem to have run across an awful lot of YA novels with the same basic plot: Humanity is in danger of extinction because of something incredibly stupid done by the adults...and the only hope is for the teens to breed like rabbits at the same time as they figure out how to fix whatever was done.

That's pretty much the story here. A group of 'people' (or not) genetically engineered for the sole purpose of fighting wars decide they've had enough, and they release a virus that kills most of the human race. Newborn babies live only days before they die of the virus, so there are no human children under the age of 14. The remaining humans have banded together (on Long Island?) for protection and commence to forcing the kids to make as many babies as they can, in the hopes that eventually some of them will survive.

Nobody seems to consider doing some research on the immune human survivors to find the source of their immunity. Well, nobody until 16-year-old Kira thinks of it. ummmm OK.

Kira is interested in saving humanity but she's also strongly driven by the desire not to be forced into repeated pregnancies resulting in dead babies. That works, but why the heck is everyone else so stupid? After thousands of babies have been born (and died), it seems fairly clear that the approach taken (by the stupid adults) is not going to work.

Eh, OK, it's a YA book. I am 62 so I guess I am not in the target audience. But it just bothers me to see books aimed at teens that are so full of plot holes because this isn't the way to encourage teens to enjoy reading.

(edited on Jan 5) Let me please add that I am not in any way criticizing Mr Wells' talent. In fact I have read and really enjoyed his John Cleaver series. This particular book just didn't click for me. Just my opinion, YMMV, all of the standard caveats apply when reading any review.
63 of 76 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Partials, where adults are stupid and teens are rational May 12 2012
By Mathachew - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
I have read Dan Wells' John Cleaver series and thoroughly enjoyed them. I was excited about what he could do with Partials, but was sorely disappointed. There are certain aspects to the setting that are a positive, but there are a plethora of other issues that make this a mediocre read. Mild spoilers are forthcoming.

The United States created androids, called Partials, to fight a war against the Iranians and Chinese. Once the war was over, the Partials turned on their creators, releasing an airborne virus that kills off all but about 40,000 humans. The virus has also caused all newborn babies to die shortly after birth for the last 11 years. Kira, a 16 year old intern at the hospital, becomes determined to find a cure to this virus after repeatedly witnessing newborn deaths. The Hope Act, a law requiring all women 18 years or older to become pregnant as often as possible, pushes the remaining survivors to the brink of civil war. Kira embarks on a journey to find the Partials, believing their unaffected bodies are the key to curing the virus. After embarking on this mission, what she learns and witnesses can have devastating effects not only on her, but the surviving humans and the Partials themselves.

Almost immediately we are treated to an "adults are stupid, teenagers are rational" mentality. This is a constantly running theme that did not make the book any more enjoyable to read. You are continually reminded that, obviously, only teenagers think outside the box, that only teenagers can provide rational thoughts, that only teenagers are capable of pulling off what the foolish adults brush off as suicide, ridiculous or outrageous. There are many examples of this throughout the book. I can accept that, to a point, mid to late teenagers would be forced to grow up sooner than in today's society, this being in a post apocalyptic world and all. But Wells took it two steps further where the adults would rather seize more power than make the obvious right decisions for the human race's survival, repeatedly.

There are some positive aspects to the book, some, but the ongoing negatives makes this book difficult to enjoy. There are instances where page upon page, too much attention to details are given for Kira's research. Too much credibility is given to these different teenagers skills in both medical and military areas. It is a hard pill to swallow and the constant reminder of just how much these teenagers know make the plausibility factor harder to accept. There are a number specifics that I could point out, but I would rather not ramble. I found Partials to be a disappointment and doubt that I will give the rest of the series consideration. I know it is a YA book, but does that really mean things have to make less sense or be illogical? I debated between two and three stars, but ultimately went with two because the bottom line is, I did not like this book. I would rather Wells focus more on his John Cleaver series because that was far more entertaining.
27 of 33 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars YA that is so not YA Feb. 22 2012
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
My copy of this book has a letter to the reader in the front that says: "Teen fiction has transported us to many incredible worlds these last few years. But in these last few weeks, we at HarperCollins Children's Books have been taken somewhere unlike any place we've been before--by the book you're holding in your hands right now."

I say they are both right and wrong.

The concept of this is not new. At all. Killer virus, everyone dying, it's up to the teens to survive and try to save the world. Do you have any idea how many books off the top of my head I can name that have the same concept? After I read this, I began to wonder if HarperCollins Children's Books editors actually read any of the YA fiction that is out there.

But the book IS nothing like the YA out there--it's written like an adult novel. With no hint of a teen voice. It's too technical, too dry, and completely unrealistic for a teenager not matter her upbringing. Teens can talk like adults, but they still feel like teens inside. That is missing.

There is also too much description. It's simply too wordy. Other reviewers found it "fast paced"--I did not. I found it rather drudgerous.

A strong, smart teen protagonist is fine. And I appreciate that the romance takes a back seat with so many teen novels being very romance focused, but there needs to be passion in the writing in teen novels, and this one has none.
25 of 32 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lengthy...and not in a good way. Feb. 28 2012
By Jacinda - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Lengthy. I complained about the length of this story from start to finish. I went into reading Partials knowing it was 472 pages. In knowing that, I was also hoping it was going to be a fast-passed read and I wouldn't care it was that long. Partials ended up being one of the most drawn out novels I've read.

Let's talk about what I did like about the book. The concept behind Partials was interesting. It's what kept me reading and not DNF'ing it. I was just plain curious. I have a favorite character...Marcus. His humor made this book more enjoyable to read. I hated the parts of the book that didn't include him. I'll give it to Dan Wells on his research. I'm sure he had to do hours and hours of research to write so much detail on viruses and the military.

Let's talk about what I didn't necessarily like about this book. Military strategy should be expected in a book like this one. Seriously, it was overly done. I could have NOT read any of the talks of covert operations and still understood what was happening. The characters would discuss what to do for pages (seriously, pages!) and then go do it. I feel like we could have had the dialogue between the characters about what to do in a situation or them actually doing it...not both. It was just overdone and was just blah to me.

Who might want to read Partials? If you like books with much military jargon and medical jargon and everything that goes with it, you might really like this one. I guess even if you love books in this genre you should give this one a go...who knows, you may love it!
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