Thursday, March 21, 2013

Review: Fragments by Dan Wells (Partials Sequence 2)

Kira 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.
Hardcover, 564 pages
Published February 26th 2013 by Balzer + Bray

There are lots of YA dystopian novels where the premise is a weeeeeee bit farfetched. If the story and characters are engaging, I can overlook it and still enjoy the book.
(Example:  Delirium by Lauren Oliver. Could there come a time when the government looks at the rotten state of humanity and says, "You know what caused this mess? LOVE. It's a disease. We're going to cure our citizens of love and then life will be peachy."

yeah, sure...ok!

(But I still liked Delirium. Man, I need to finish that series!)

And then you've got dystopian societies where the premise sounds like it actually could happen, and it's chilling and worrisome and it adds a new layer to the story.

Partials and Fragments are those kinds of books. A future where genetic modifications, the US's desire for military might, and the public's obsession with improving their health, looks, longevity, etc. all combine into a perfect storm that  DESTROYS CIVILIZATION seems disturbingly plausible.

These books make me think. A lot. Dan Wells keeps the plot moving and at the same time sneaks in thought provoking issues about  the moral ambiguities of war, and makes the reader question what he or she would do in the situations Kira, Samm, Marcus, and the rest of the characters are in. What would you do for freedom? What wouldn't you do? How do you define freedom? Do the needs of many outweigh the few? Is there any price too high to pay for survival? Do I need an Excedrin now?

I did a good bit of thoughtful frowning

 Things I liked: We finally find out what Kira is, we get more info on RM, ParaGen, Nandita, Kira's dad, and how the heck things came to be the disaster that they are. And we get to see more of Samm. I feel stupid typing his name with two M's, I'm not going to lie, but his character really grew on me. I think the idea that Partials experience a full range of human emotions but have no idea how to express them in an acceptable  human fashion is really heartbreaking and fascinating. They're not machines, but their inability to interact (they don't use body language, facial expressions, etc...probably don't have gifs on their blogs) has caused people to think they're less than human.

So what makes a person human? Is human necessarily better than Partial? Why? many questions!

I liked Kira more in this book, although I'm struggling to say why. I kept thinking, "This is a bad idea, Kira!" over and over, but I couldn't figure out what a better option would've been. I admired her ability to just keep moving forward. Kira finds herself in some really terrible situations, most by her own design, but in the end we see that she is a much more selfless character than it first appeared.

Things I wasn't crazy about: The book is long. The ARC I read has 564 pages, and I think it could've been tightened up. Some of the journeying Kira, Samm, Heron, and Afa do got pretty tedious. I wanted them to hurry it  up, and sometimes I skimmed. But you really don't need to skim with this book, because bombshell info or even character deaths will just sneak up on you like a ninja. Or a Partial. Then you'll be all, "WHAT? What just happened?" And you'll have to re-read and be frustrated you didn't get it the first time through.

Because, re-reading the same couple of pages you just read is bothersome...also...

Aint Nobody Got Time for That Aint Nobody Got Time For That
So true.

Content: Not much cursing, plenty of heavy violence, two kissing scenes.

The book ends on a cliffhanger, and I am really invested in these characters so I hope the next book comes out relatively soon.  For those hoping for romance, there's not very much. But if you're trying to save two entire races of sentient beings from extinction, I guess that's understandable.

Have y'all read this book?? Tell me what you thought!


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