Author: Dan Wells
Pages: Hardback, 468
Published: February 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Opening Lines: "Newborn #485GA18M died on June 20, 2076, at 6:07 in the morning. She was three days old."
"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 the 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 where there."
Thoughts: This was one of those treasures I found while cleaning my house! This book has been sitting on my wishlist since I first saw it advertised. First of all, post-apocalyptic books are a weakness of mine. Second, I loved the whole concept behind the book.
Eleven years ago, a biological weapon was released on the human race that killed nearly everyone. The primary suspect was the government engineered cyborgs, Partials. The Partials were created to fight a war with China and Iran. However, when RM was released, it was feared that they finally decided to turn on their human creators. Now, after the majority of the human race has died, the survivors are still struggling with the effects of RM: every baby dies after a few days. In order to save the human race, the Senate, the ruling body, enacts the Hope Act—a law the forces all women eighteen years and older to have as many babies as possible. However, even while the Senate is trying to save the human race, the Hope Act threatens to split the people in half and cause a civil war. After witnessing the death of several infants—and fearing that the Senate will lower the required age on the Hope Act—medical intern, Kira, decides that she needs to try and find the elusive cure for RM. This sends her on a journey to find a Partial and reveals secrets that nobody is willing to accept, including her.
From the first lines in this book, I was hooked! After reading many young adult books with insipid heroines who are completely overcome with sexual angst, Kira was refreshing. She was smart, on an amazing career path in the medical field, and had depth. Even though she was in a relationship with Marcus, they had a casual ease about them. There was no sexual tension or angst in their interactions. It was obvious that they have been together for a long time and had the relationship of adults. It was nice not to read the angsty drivel that is usually found in young adult books.
In addition, I felt that most of the main characters in the book had a lot more depth than is typically seen. Granted, I wished the author had spent a little more time with specific characters. That being said, it was obvious that they all had a back story that helped to create who they were in the present. Even if the author never gives the back story, as long as he knows what it is, it will come out in the writing.
The world building was simply amazing! I was totally engrossed in the Long Island of the future and the Partial inhabited Manhattan. The little touches the author used (clothes, iPods, and so on) helped develop the world further. Honestly, when the teens came across the panthers and antelope, I was instantly reminded of I Am Legend. In some ways, that was able to lend credence to the story.
The author tackled some hard issues in this book. I felt that he didn't make the subject matter easy or dumb it down for young adults. The whole concept behind creating the Partials and then forcing them to live in pseudo ghettos, limited their jobs, cutting their wages, and that they could only shop at certain stores reminded me of the Jews in Nazi Germany and how the former slaves were treated in the United States. Further, the forced pregnancy and experimentation on the babies is another big issue. These concepts are heavy hitters! They force the reader to sit down and think about the world they are in. Also, Kira's willingness to die for the cure asks people how far will they go for something that they know is right.
It was rather interesting to see that most, if not all, of the adults in the book were all about control and rather dimwitted. Honestly, this didn't bother me too much. First of all, the adults were still stuck in the old world. Change was hard for them; however, it was forced upon them with the onset of RM. They were afraid to look at other possible solutions. For me, the fact that they called all of the teens plague babies was very poignant. Sometimes it takes an outside prospective to find the solution. Granted, I found it hard to believe that some of the adults weren't a little more understanding or ready to think outside of the box. That being said, it wasn't too far outside of a possible reality.
This book was an amazing read! It was one of those books that you never want to end. I found myself slowing my reading down while struggling at the bit to read faster. Honestly, when the new book comes out later this month, I will have to scrape together enough money to buy it.
Current Pages: 2273