This review and others are posted at Read, Rinse, Repeat.
No babies have lived more than a few hours after birth in more than a decade. Only a small percentage of the population is alive, and they are headed rapidly towards extinction if someone can't figure out how to save the babies. The morally questionable, yet necessary (as some believe) solution to the low population is to force girls to begin getting pregnant at 18. The government is on the verge of lowering the age to 16. All women must strive for constant pregnancy, even though there's no reason to believe any of the babies will survive, and the mothers' lives are put at great risk for likely no reward. Kira is the only one who realizes that the status quo is not working, and she believes the only way to save all of the unborn babies is to capture and study a Partial.
On its surface, Partials is a dystopian/post-apocalytpic novel with a heavy dose of science fiction. But Partials also tackles a lot of heavy subjects. It deals with women's and teenage girls' right to choose. “We're talking about the government taking full control over your body – what it's for, what you do with it, and what other people can do to it.” This statement could be made by anyone discussing the legality of abortion in the U.S. Or euthanasia, for that matter. But in this case, it refers to a government in a post-apocalytpic world forcing all girls and women of child-bearing age to continually be pregnant. When humans are on the verge of extinction, is it acceptable for the government to intervene in this manner? Or should the right of individuals always take precedence? And does the greater threat to humanity come from within or without?
These are just some of the questions you'll ask yourself as you read Partials.
Kira and her friend, Marcus have differing rules of the role of government. Kira thinks the government oversteps its bounds and is attempting to force its will on the citizens, while Marcus believes “ordering people around is their job.” Those in the government who want more power cite the society's unrest as proof that more control is needed and that society cannot function without a great deal of government intervention. This is an interesting discussion that could probably be had regarding any government, whether in a post-apocalytpic world or not.
There are so many things to love about this book. The eeriness of the crew traveling through deserted NYC reminded me of similar scenes in the films, I Am Legend and 28 Days Later. When they clear out a building, I'm reminded of Zero Dark Thirty. And... that is my third movie reference. But that should give you an idea of the cinematic feel of these scenes. The action throughout is as fantastic as all of the scientific discovery and discussions; if you didn't think viruses, genetic coding, and spores were interesting, you will likely change your mind after reading Partials. To top it all off, we get a stunning, late-inning shock. Did YOU see it coming? I certainly didn't. Gotta love when that happens!