by Dan Wells
#.5 Isolation (8/28/12 – I pre-ordered it!)
#1 Partials (2/28/12)
#2 Fragments (2/13)
Published by Balzer + Bray
Genre: YA Dystopian/Sci-Fi
Humanity is all but extinguished after a war with partials—engineered organic beings identical to humans—has decimated the world’s 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. The threat of the partials is still imminent, but, worse, no baby has been born immune to the disease in over a decade. Humanity’s time is running out.
When sixteen-year-old Kira learns of her best friend’s pregnancy, she’s determined to find a solution. Then one rash decision forces Kira to flee her community with the unlikeliest of allies. As she tries desperately to save what is left of her race, she discovers that the survival of both humans and partials rests in her attempts to answer questions of the war’s origin that she never knew to ask.
Interest in the book
It’s Dystopian. Need I say more? Ok, I will. Just for you. The first line of the synopsis – “Humanity is all but extinguished after a war with partials—engineered organic beings identical to humans—has decimated the world’s population.” – sucked me in. Engineered organic beings? Oh hells yea! Bring on the science and research and babies that live only days due to a virus that has wiped out most of humanity and creations that turn on their creators. I eat that shit up. And we are questioning what makes us human, what is humanity? Where do I sign up? That, my friends, is WHY I love this genre so damn much.
The year is 2076. Kira, our protagonist, appears confused and saddened and angry. She is a medical intern in the maternity ward, and her emotional output has reached its max. After each baby is ravaged by the RM virus and dies a painful death, Kira slowly loses confidence in saving humanity altogether. If that can’t grip you by the lady balls and urge you on the harrowing journey Kira will soon face…well, I guess you just don’t have lady balls then.
Kira Walker, 16-year-old medical intern, is what the older generations refer to as “plague babies.” In other words, she was too young to remember the Isolation War, a war that brought humanity to its knees. She barely remembers her biological parents, and has been living with an older woman and other teenage girls for some time. Kira is part of the East Meadow community, a small pocket of humans near Manhattan that are trying to survive. Older generations state that plague babies don’t remember the horror and terror that came with the Partial uprising, and discount many of their flippant opinions and nonsensical ideas. Kira, however, will not go unheard. She is the catalyst to what becomes an epic fight to save humanity, and the enemies are not always so easily identified.
Marcus, Kira’s long-term boyfriend, was a great addition to the story. I really enjoyed his witty remarks and his dedication to Kira. I may have teared up a time or two during their serious talks and more serious decisions. I really enjoyed the realistic feel to their relationship. Xochi, one of Kira’s housemates, is a gung-ho chic with enough fire to light a forest ablaze. Jayden, Isolde, Madison, Haru, Nandita and the rest of the characters all left an impression on me.
And then we have Samm. And Samm, my friends, I will leave you to discover.
The Partials are bioengineered sentient beings that are part human (with our DNA) and part machine. They look human, can think, feel, reason. They were created in order to win the Isolation War, and eventually, turned on humanity. The Partials created the RM virus that wiped out 99% of the world’s population. No baby in the past 11 years has survived the RM virus, and thus, the extinction of humanity is imminent.
The political WTFckery in this book is disturbing and keeps the tensions high and the blood flowing. Not to mention the band of humans, aka The Voice, who disapprove strongly with the new government’s laws. Like, for instance, the Hope Act, which is looking to drop the mandatory pregnancy age down to 16. Since, you know, the best way to save humanity is to turn all the women into baby-making factories their entire reproductive lives, no? I mean, looking for a new way to save humanity is stupid and unreasonable and why should we study something different since the last 11 years of doing the same damn thing has turned up nothing useful? Why, Siri, WHY!?
I enjoyed the scientific/medical parts of this book greatly, but I can understand that they may not be exciting for others. They do not overload the story and are extremely important to the plot. All in all, this book is exactly what I look for in this genre. The tons of questions that come tumbling our of Kira’s mind into ours are questions that I would also ask myself, should I find myself in this bleak, desolate, hopeless environment. I was backhanded by the action, gasping at the treachery and discoveries and yes, my jaw made nice with the floor near the end. And I swooned. Not for any one person romantically, but for their PASSION. And their spirit, courage and HUMANITY. And lastly, this book ends with a seriously good entry into the next book. We now know Kira’s next move and I cannot wait for Fragments!
“Well, thanks for not shooting anyone, I guess,” said Marcus. “My contribution was to somehow refrain from peeing myself. You can thank me later.”
If you enjoy Dystopian fiction, this one is a must. What intrigues you about this story? And if you have read it, come squee with me!
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