Wednesday, June 19, 2013


by Dan Wells
480 pages
Middle School+

Kira Walker somehow survived the Partial War and RM- the disease that wiped out over 90% of the population when she was a child.  Banding together with other survivors, they struggle on, trying to avoid the attention of the Partials as well.  Partials are superhuman constructs, that look human but have capacities far beyond the normal human.  Scared of Partials and of RM, humanity huddles and hopes for a uncertain future.

Kira, now 17 years old, works in a maternity ward, watching babies being born, but almost immediately dying of RM.  Heart broken and tired of watching babies dies, she starts researching about the disease and how it can be stopped.  Searching through past research, she can tell almost everything has been tried, with no results.  But she gets an idea.  What about going to the source- the Partials that gave humanity RM?

After approaching her superiors with the proposal- catch a Partial to study it- and being straight away turned down, she can't give up the idea.  This is the only thing that hasn't been tried, why won't they let her try it?  Instead of taking no for an answer, Kira plots to cross into Partial territory, capture one, and study it.  Together with some friends, she sets out.

This was really good!  Took me a little while to get into, but after getting into it, it grabbed me.  I had heard positive and negative reviews, but I am glad I read it!  And I definitely want to find the sequel- while it's not a cliff-hanger ending, there's definitely more to do, and more to discover!  I want to read the next book, which is always a good sign.

One of the huge themes in this book is truth and transparency.  The government is definitely not telling the people the whole truth, let alone being clear on the reasons for their actions.  Kira is keeping secrets, and learns more throughout the book.  Truth changes her, the community, and more.  Truth is a very powerful possession in this book.

Another big theme is personal rights versus survival of the group as a whole.  There is a law in this world that women must be pregnant, in order to help continue the existence of the human race.  And they keep lowering the age; in the novel it starts at 18, and by the end it is lowered to 16 at one point.  Women specifically are expected to give up their person rights in order to just try to continue the human race.  When do individual rights become less or more important that survival?

Overall, pretty good book.  I enjoyed it a lot.  A few things seems a little cliche (evil government officials, evil Partial that might not be so evil), but I liked the style and the overall story.  I will recommend to teens, probably more the later middle school to high school age.  Boys might enjoy, for the action, but I can see girls being more into the issues than boys.  Good book!  If they like The Hunger Games or Maze Runner, this would be another good pick!

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