Archive for June, 2012


Partials by Dan Wells

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Partials by Dan Wells

Published by HarperCollins Publishing on 2/28/12

Synopsis from Barnes & Noble website:

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.

Review:

Once again, let me warn you this review may contain spoilers, pretty much everything I post probably will!  I was really excited about this book.  I saw it on the shelf at the bookstore and I thought it looked interesting and then when I picked it up and read the quote on the back I was sold.  I took the book home that day and eagerly waited for the right moment for me to read it.  Overall, I will give this book a solid 3 stars, maybe closer to 3 and a half (out of 5).  I enjoyed it even though I felt that some of the plot was very flawed.

The main problem with this book was the predictability of it.  Pretty much everything I thought would happen, happened.  No matter how passing the thought might have been, it came true.  I really doubt that I’m that good of a guesser!  Just being a writer doesn’t mean I know secret plot formulas for books and movies, I can be surprised just like anyone else.  For example,the author makes it a point to tell you that Kira is different from everyone else around her.  My first thought was, well maybe she’s a Partial.  I was correct and I didn’t want to be correct since it seemed like a cliche.  Another terrible cliche in this book was the old “the government is the real bad guy”.  I spent most of the book praying that wasn’t the case.  I have read that plot a million times and I didn’t want this to be one of those books.  To a certain extent I was correct on that aspect as well, though not in the way I expected.

However, even though I felt the plot had many flaws and holes, there were some moments of brilliance that I just loved.  The world building in this book is above reproach. You can see everything that is being described to you and you can feel what the characters must be thinking and feeling.  It takes a talented writer to achieve that without falling into the trap of just telling you what’s going on rather than showing you.  The characters were equally well constructed and I emotionally connected to all of them by the end.  Kira was the most likable character and that was a good thing since she’s the main narrator.  But I also found myself liking characters who weren’t quite a likable like Marcus or Jayden.  They were a bit more objectionable and had more annoying qualities but I still liked them.  Samm presented an interesting dilemma as a character because you are not supposed to like or trust him, but you can’t help it.  And that lulls you into trusting him, even when you know you shouldn’t, and then a potential betrayal from him is all the more emotionally jarring.

The ending of this book was what clinched it for me however.  Up until that last chapter or two I was not liking the book nearly as much as I expected.  But that last 30 pages was spectacular!  I never suspected it was going that way and I felt caught off guard by the last sentence.  It was a great way to end the book and made me ravenous for the sequel just to get some answers for the questions that were raised.  Unfortunately I will have to wait for February 2013, the expected publication date of Fragments.  I will also have to read Isolation, a short story, available as an ebook only, about the events which led to the Partials War and the release of the RM virus.

Warning: This post may contain spoilers for the movie Prometheus.  If you do not wish to be spoiled, please read no further.

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Alright, now that everyone has been properly warned, let me begin by saying that I really really wanted to go see Prometheus.  The previews made it look spectacular!  The premise and the idea of it really excited me.  And I had heard it was set in the same world as the Alien movies, although director Ridley Scott insists it is not a prequel to Alien just set in the same universe.  So, when it was suggested last night at dinner that we go see a movie, this is what popped into my head.  I went and bought the tickets and grabbed a drink and suffered through the terrible previews, anxiously awaiting the brilliance.  And…..it never happened.

But allow me to start with the good things first.  The effects were great, I really liked everything I saw on screen as far as special effects and CG go.  And the settings and surroundings were fantastic.  The locations they used were stunning.  And it has Charlize Theron, one of the most perfect human beings on the planet.  Unfortunately she didn’t do much except walk around in neoprene and acting pissed off.  So men, go see this, you get several hours of Charlize Theron in neoprene!

The first bad point is how horribly predictable this movie was.  We, humans, find proof of an alien race that they believe created human beings.  So, like the morons they are, decide to go find these creators and find out more about them, kind of like a search for the deadbeat dad that never pays child support.  And these dummies actually expect to be welcomed with open arms!  If humans are going to be this dumb in the future we’d be better off exterminating ourselves now.  But I digress.  They get funding from a man who is terminally ill and wants them to go find these creators even though he’ll be long dead before they arrive at the alien planet.  But he sends along his cyborg David, who is like a son to him, to oversee things and help them.  At this point it doesn’t take a genius to assume that this man is not dead and that David will be the saboteur of the mission.  I know I guessed that, and if you did too then you’d be correct.

More horrible predictability came along when, after being infected by David, the male scientist sleeps with the female scientist.  Again, if you guessed she gets pregnant with the alien baby you’d be correct again!  If you further guess that she’ll perform her own cesarean to remove it then you are really racking up point here!  So David releases the bad aliens and people die.  Then they discover that these aliens are the ones who killed the creators, except for one.  And surprise of all surprises, their funder is on the ship and perfectly alive!  And he wants to meet this creator with David’s help and ask them to make him immortal.  Yes, it’s dumb I know.  Then we get an Empire Strikes Back moment when the ship’s captain (or whoever Charlize Theron was supposed to be) cries in this man’s lap about how the natural course of life is to die and the new generation take over and we learn this is her dad.  I was honestly expecting the line, “Luke, I am your father”.  It was supposed to be dramatic and it was just laughable.

Needless to say the creator alien kills funder man and tears David’s head off and then starts up his ship to go destroy earth.  The aliens that killed the creators were going to be brought to earth to exterminate the humans they created.  In the typical sci-fi movie moment, the rest of the survivors on the ship decide to sacrifice themselves to disable the creator alien’s ship and save earth.  Female scientist is not in the ship at this point, and spends an hour of the film running around like a marathon runner even though she just gave herself a cesarean and has staples all across her belly.  The ship crashes and David (remember he’s a cyborg so he’s not dead) tell her that creator alien is still alive and coming after her.  She traps it with baby alien who is not so baby anymore.  Then she collects the pieces of David and tells him that he is going to help her pilot the other alien ship to go find the race who created the creators.  Because she wants to know why they changed their minds about earth.  Again, I couldn’t help getting the “Why did daddy abandon me!’ vibe.  They fly off into outer space and we discover that baby alien has impregnated creator alien, and the new spawn is….wait for it…..this is really good…..no I promise!…..the aliens that are in the movie Alien!  Okay, so maybe it wasn’t that good, sorry.

Also, I am very concerned with Ridley Scott and his obvious penis envy issues.  Most of the aliens look like penises and repeatedly shove themselves down people’s throats and inject something toxic into their body which makes them explode.  Did that sentence make anyone else uncomfortable?  I was too!

Overall this was a very disappointing movie and I really wish I could have asked for my money back simply because it was bad.

I am just kicking myself for yet again neglecting this blog.  It’s not acceptable really.  In my defense however, that overtime I was talking about this time last year…yeah it hasn’t stopped yet. Basically for the last year I’ve been working 10 hours a day, with 2 hour commute each way, plus Saturdays.  It has killed me and I have hardly had the energy to wake up and get out of bed, let alone do anything else!  However, I am trying a new tactic.  In addition to making this my update spot for me as a writer, I am making it my update spot for me as a reader.  In the last year I’ve reviewed over 115 books on other sites…but not here!  It’s ludicrous, so I am changing that today. Well not today because I have no review to post today, but soon.

And as a disclaimer: Most of the books I review are ones I have purchased with my own money or gotten from my library, however sometimes I accept print copies or digital copies from authors and publishers to read and review.  I am in no way compensated for these reviews (except the free copy of the book), and I am not obligated to provide a positive review or indeed any review at all.  All reviews are my own honest feelings and responses to the books I read, and when I received a copy from the publisher or author I will be sure to note it.