Review: Partials by Dan Wells (Spoiler Free)

Partials by Dan Wells
Read: October 21 – October 25, 2012
Format: Ebook (library book), 335 pages
ISBN: 978-0-06-207106-4

Publisher: Balzer + Bray (HarperCollins), 2012

Personal read.

Book Blurb: 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.

My Opinion: Partials by Dan Wells was hands down the best YA I have read in a long time. The plot is original, the writing is engaging, and the characters are likeable. That said, the book is definitely not without its flaws. But let me gush a little bit first.

The plot. OK, so we have biological robots, a super virus, and a corrupt government all wrapped into one shiny package. These things definitely all belong in the same sand box. I haven’t encountered a plot like this before. Dystopian fiction is usually a dime a dozen, but Wells has injected a fresh twist.

Tied into the plot are the characters. Partials is one of very few YA books where the main female character is not a snivelling twit. Thank you Dan Wells for writing a character that I not only don’t want to smack upside the head, but that I actually like. Kira is a gun-toting, medical genius badass. I love it. However, a lot of the secondary characters failed to stand out in the same way. I didn’t really feel connected to any of the cast other than Kira and Samm. Marcus, Jayden, Madison… they were all fine, but they weren’t awesome in the same way I found Kira to be. Also, the characters really didn’t read like 16-17 year olds. The plot relies on the forced pregnancy, and the main characters not remembering much of the Partial War… but a lot of the time I had to remind myself that I was reading about teenagers and not twenty-somethings.

The writing in Partials is great. There is some comedic relief, the action and story move at a good pace, and I got all the information I needed without ever feeling like the victim of an infodump. And the author really keeps you guessing.

On the flip-side, there were some pretty glaring inconsistencies that irked me a lot. When Kira is planning her great plan to go get a Partial, she talks to Marcus about leaving tomorrow, when they all agreed that it would take a while to set up, and the next section is called “Three months later”.

Bottom Line: Not without flaws, but a great read, especially if you are a fan of science fiction, dystopian fiction, stories with medical themes, or young adult reads.

(Image and book blurb courtesy of http://www.goodreads.com)

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Review: Zombie Fallout by Mark Tufo

Zombie Fallout by Mark Tufo
Read: July 28 – August 5, 2012
Other Information: Owned book, e-book, 278 pages, personal read

Book Blurb: Late Fall 2010 Reuters Estimates say that nearly three thousand people nationwide, and fifteen thousand people worldwide have died of the H1N1 virus or Swine flu and nearly eighty thousand cases have been confirmed in hospitals and clinics across the United States and the world, the World Heath Organization reported.

This will NOT be a spoiler free review. There is too much that I can’t figure out how to address without talking about it in detail. That said, I honestly don’t think you will be missing much by reading my spoilered version of the review versus the actual book.

Continue reading

Review: Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin (Spoiler Free)

Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin
Read: July 26 – July 28, 2012
Other Information: Library book, e-book, 203 pages, personal read

Book Blurb: Everything is in ruins.

A devastating plague has decimated the population. And those who are left live in fear of catching it as the city crumbles to pieces around them.

So what does Araby Worth have to live for?

Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery make-up . . . and tantalizing ways to forget it all.

But in the depths of the club—in the depths of her own despair—Araby will find more than oblivion. She will find Will, the terribly handsome proprietor of the club. And Elliott, the wickedly smart aristocrat. Neither boy is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does.

And Araby may find something not just to live for, but to fight for—no matter what it costs her.

My Opinion: First off, before I started this book, I hadn’t read the Poe original. I have read a handful of Poe’s works, but The Masque of the Red Death wasn’t one of them. However, before I got halfway through this book, I went online and tried to find the original story. I still haven’t really read it, but I did skim it.

Why did I skim it? Because Griffin’s work was very incoherent, and I had to check if I was missing something vital with not having read the original work. I wasn’t. In fact, all this book really borrows from the Poe original is names, and a basic plot device (sickness). Poe’s original is about the inevitability of death, the arrogance of the rich… and that is all I got from skimming it. Griffin’s derivative work doesn’t share any of that depth.

Some of the imagery she creates is great. I love the gothic feel and how the steampunk touches are a) just touches and b) in the background. Araby is far from a bluestocking. She is actually kind of a ditz.

The story itself was all over the place, and I was left with far more questions than answers. It feels like I read the book, and nothing really interesting happened. I didn’t get that moment of heart racing, palms sweating, “Oh my gosh, this is it!” that happens a lot of the time. To be fair, it is a series, but there have been other series’ that have given me that climactic moment while reading.

Araby is fickle and vapid. The romance (because it is YA, so there IS a romance) is very odd, and didn’t flow at all. Made zero sense to have those two people together.

Also, attention to detail is lacking. The blurb says Will is the proprietor of the club, but he is just a worker there. I guess that could be a mild spoiler, but there you have it.

Bottom Line: So much potential for a really awesome story… but it fell extremely short of the mark.