Monday, March 10, 2014

The Full Fragment

It isn't a far stretch to find a world that has been ravaged by the greed and hubris of humans. In Dan Wells' Partials series, the development of humanoid soldiers, the Partials, was just the beginning of the end. When the Partials rebelled against their creators, a war like no other ravaged the face of the planet, leaving humans and Partials alike desperately clinging to life. In Fragments, that fight gets even more desperate. 

Kira's astonishing discovery that she isn't completely human was life-altering. She grew up fearing Partials only to find out she was some kind of Partial, but no one knew exactly what she was. She aged like a human, and didn't seem to have the same weaknesses of a Partial, but she certainly had the strength of a Partial. Kira was the one who realized the Partial pheromone was the key to inoculation against RM, the virus that kills all babies within days of birth and is effectively phasing out the human race. When she saves her friend's baby, the first child to survive since The Break, she realizes there is more to the story. With Samm, the first Partial who made her realize just how human the created beings were, and his Partial friend Heron, Kira takes off across the country to get to the heart of ParaGen's motives behind their current situation. The Partials are about to reach their expiration date, the twenty year mark when they will all degrade and die, and with them goes the cure for RM. They are in a race against time. 

While Kira is off trying to save the world, Marcus is trying desperately to hold onto their little piece of the world. The humans on Long Island have seen a baby live, but without a cure to replicate, they have lost more baby since then. The Partial army is closing in on them and threaten an invasion with every bated breath. Marcus is worried about Kira off in the dangerous world, but he is more terrified Dr. Morgan will find her. Dr. Morgan, the crazy Partial doctor who thinks Kira holds the cure to the Partial expiration date and isn't afraid to experiment on her to find it, is ripping apart their world to find Kira. While she waits for Kira's arrival, she is using humans as her guinea pigs to find a cure. Morgan thinks she is untouchable, but Marcus has a plan to stop her, however crazy it might be. 

It had been a long time since I read Partials, so I was glad this story began with a brief refresher to the first story without being too repetitive for a reader who didn't need a reminder. Then it quickly jumped into the fray and started with an action-packed story that never let up, which is pretty impressive for a 500+ page book. The story alternates between Kira's journey and life back on Long Island, neither of which are stable situations. Kira's journey is terrifying as she evades Partials and survives in a world with any number of horrors awaiting her around every corner. I always liked Kira, so watching her determination to save both the Partials and the humans was a winner in my book. All the other characters question the best way to save one or the other, but Kira will not abandon one population for the other, and her quest for answers about the origin of RM is fascinating. 

This book is rife with moral ambiguities that make the story relevant to our current political and cultural climate. There are moments when Kira's moral compass is sent reeling with the choices that are forced upon her, and she she consistently has to decide if sacrificing one is acceptable when it means saving the many. For a character like Kira who doesn't deal well with moral ambiguity, these crises of confidence are both difficult and fascinating to read about. Wells did a great job with this series, and I can't wait to see how it all wraps up in the final book!

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