Author: Dan Wells
Date of Release: February 28, 2012
Synopsis: The human race is all but extinct after a war with Partials—engineered organic beings identical to humans—has decimated the population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by RM, a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island while the Partials have mysteriously retreated. The threat of the Partials is still imminent, but, worse, no baby has been born immune to RM in more than a decade. Our time is running out.
Kira, a sixteen-year-old medic-in-training, is on the front lines of this battle, seeing RM ravage the community while mandatory pregnancy laws have pushed what's left of humanity to the brink of civil war, and she's not content to stand by and watch. But as she makes a desperate decision to save the last of her race, she will find that the survival of humans and Partials alike rests in her attempts to uncover the connections between them—connections that humanity has forgotten, or perhaps never even knew were there.
~ ~I know today is supposed to be a writing-tip day, but I had a library trip yesterday and nabbed this little beauty off the shelf. It's synopsis intrigued me and I read the entire 500 pages in nine hours. May I note this genre of book is my absolute star-crossed favorite. That being said, not everything was sunshine and roses with this book.
The main character of the book is Kira, a sixteen year old medic/researcher. Even though she's a teenager, in her world she is treated as an adult and expected to act like one, so we don't get any whiny teens in this story, which is a refreshing change for a YA novel. That being said, Kira can be obstinately stubborn, which can get a little annoying.
Her boyfriend, Marcus, didn't hit it off with me. His character plays the whole humor angle, and while there are some chuckle-worthy jokes he makes, sometimes it's off color and that jarred me from the depths of the book to make me read over the jokes again, trying to 'get it'. While he does lighten the mood of the otherwise dark book, his humor can get a little annoying.
Xochi is one of the best characters of this book. She's funny and cool, and reminds the reader that even though this is set in post-apocalypse, teenagers are still the same, music-blasting, rebellious, sometimes a bit too full of themselves. I enjoyed her throughout the whole novel.
Altogether, the characters weren't my favorite part of the book. I found that I didn't care a whole lot about them. They got a little bit annoying after a while, and that's the main reason I deducted points from the overall score. The two characters I liked were Xochi and another person, for who the sake of spoilers I won't mention in this review. Rest assured that there is another person who I couldn't help loving.
The plot, though, takes the cake of this entire book. The reason I couldn't put this down was the interesting plot. Sure, sometimes it dragged and sometimes it sped too fast, but the story is what roped me to my chair to keep reading. Just when you think all the secrets are out in the open, another one hurtles into you like a runaway bus.
I had only two gripes with the plot. One, there are a lot of travel sequences, which dragged on a bit. I found myself trying to skip through those paragraphs and had to more or less force myself to read every word. As soon as the action or tension comes, your back into the world of Kira and the others, but the scenes where they're just hanging out in a wagon were definitely not my favorite.
The other one was the scientific jargon. This was more of a personal taste issue, but as Kira is a medical researcher there are more then a few pages of her musing on the nature of some small particle. While the jargon did help me get into her world, at some points it made me feel like I was reading a medical biography. Again, this is a personal taste issue, and not everyone will feel the same as me. It is SCIENCE fiction. But I just thought I'd throw that out there.
One of the biggest points that I liked where that you never knew who the 'bad guy' was until the end. It's not a clear cut, traditional, over-bearing government-we-must-rebel-against-dystopian.
Altogether this was a solid book. I enjoyed it (as I think would be evident from reading it in nine hours). There were some slow parts that I feel could have been cut, but I would recommend it as a fun, dystopian science-fiction book.
Final Rating out of Ten: 8