First Lines: Newborn #485GA18M died on June 30, 2076, at 6:07 in the morning. She was three days old. The average lifespan of a human child, in the time since the Break, was fifty-six hours.
It’s like throw-back dystopian week over here. This is a book that I truly had no intention of reading, except for the fact that one of my best friends from college is constantly telling me I needed to read this. We tend to enjoy the same kind of books, except I lean more toward romances and she favors sci-fi, and neither one of us really likes to jump that divide. But I finally picked it up going, “If I read this, I can finally get Heather off my back about it.”
Because the plot is a bit complicated, I’m going to copy the summary from Goodreads: 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.
I really hate to say this, but Heather was right. I enjoyed this book a lot. (Isn’t that always kind of galling? Like you hate to be wrong, but you’re also happy about it??)
Kira definitely steals the spotlight in this book. She’s tough and gutsy, always pushing to do what’s right. She realizes what she needs to sacrifice in order to do something big like saving the human race from extinction. Even when that path is filled with danger and possible death, she charges forward because someone has to and it might as well be her. What I thought was interesting was that Kira isn’t necessarily the most physical, the smartest, or the most take-no-prisoners heroine, but she’s driven and determined. That goes a long way to helping her throughout the story. Sometimes bravery and determination get you farther than brains can.
And actually, the minor characters brought a lot to the story too. They all felt really well-developed, which doesn’t always happen when there are a lot of characters. I was really attached to characters like the warrior Jayden, the fierce Xochi, the charming Marcus, and the secretive Samm. (There are also tons of minor characters with weird quirks: enter a man who shall remain nameless with his pet camel.) They all helped make the story so much fun.
Also a good note? There’s not a huge focus here on romance. Surprisingly enough, Kira is not interested in finding love while she’s being shot at. Crazy, I know. (Please tell me you picked up on my sarcasm.) There are some underlying character shifts that you know could lead something, but it’s not the crux of the book. And that actually seemed to fit Kira’s personality and situation really well.
The plot really plays out well and comes together well. …That sounds a bit strange. But what I mean is that it was always so fast paced; there was always something going on. Sometimes that came in political maneuvering, Kira figuring out why certain things are happening, or legit fights with explosions and weapons. Something was always happening. But it was always happening with a purpose, and it tied together really well at the end.
My reluctance toward this book really stemmed from the Partials. I was afraid they were going to come across like aliens or something, humanoid in features but something truly Other, like in a 1960s B movie. Turns out I didn’t need to worry about that. The Partials are actually really interesting to read about. They aren’t the alien-figures I thought they would be; they have depth. Thank God.
Overall, this is actually a really good read. It goes fast, it’s mysterious and funny, and it’s really hard to put down.