Humanity has been devastated by a war with the Partials (synthetic beings created by man to fight another war who rebelled against their creators). There are less than 50,000 humans left all huddled together on Long Island trying to survive. But humanity is not surviving; they can’t have children. During the war a virus called RM was released that killed 99% of the population and is still killing the babies born today. The survivors are immune but their children are not. In order to combat this disease the government has enacted the Hope Act which decrease all women age 18 and older must give birth as often as possible. It doesn’t matter the babies still die. The harsh dictates of the government have given rise to a rebel regime called the Voice and a civil war is imminent. No one has seen the Partials in 11 years since the end of the war.
Kira Walker is a 16-year old maternity medic. She is tired of watching baby after baby die. She wants to study the RM virus and find a cure. What she discovers is that researchers have studied every possible cure and there is no hope. Everyone is infected. Her idea is to capture a Partial and find a cure through their immunity. The government denies her request but that doesn’t stop her. What she finds will change everything; how she views herself, her world, her government, the Partials.
I have to admit that I had a hard time getting into this book. It starts out pretty slow and the action doesn’t really ramp up until the second half of the book. Once it gets going though it is pretty good. I like the implications of who is responsible for the war and RM and the downfall of humanity. Are humans culpable in their own demise? Where the Partials victims just trying to get a better life when they rebelled? I also really enjoyed the the look at what the human government has become. It is basically a totalitarian regime taking away peoples rights, for the good of the people and the state of course, but isn’t that how all these types of governments start. They send people to work camps, they search people’s homes, people disappear, they force women to get pregnant. I thought the society was fascinating and wish it had been explored a little bit more.
I guess that is my biggest complaint. There was a lot of time spent on the science of RM, which was interesting but not that interesting, but some of the world building/society stuff of the humans and partials was just barely touched on. Even some of the characters could have been more developed. Xochi for instance…why did she hate her mother so much, why did she want to rebel, what were her motivations? Then you have the Partial society which I am sure Wells is saving for book 2, but that was fascinating but just barely mentioned. I did enjoy the fact that this book, unlike other dystopians did not dwell on romantic interests even though they are present, and that the lead Kira was not a weak character. She knew what she wanted and went after it no matter what. She was determined, intelligent, strong and heroic. I liked her as a character. I am interested in this world but I am not sure I will read more about it. We will just have to see.