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Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Lengthy Fragments Just Okay

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

(Note:  While this review will not contain spoilers for Fragments, it may inadvertently reveal plot surprises from its predecessor, Partials.  As always, I recommend reading books in a series in order.)

After discovering that she's an unlinked Partial created by the scientists at ParaGen, Kira Walker struggles to accept the truth of her identity.  It doesn't matter that she has found the cure for RM—the virus that has been killing every newborn human for years—if her friends find out she shares DNA with the enemy robots who are trying to destroy humanity, they'll turn their backs on Kira.  Even Kira doesn't know what to think.  All she knows is that she needs answers.  And she's not finding them in Manhattan.  No one knows what lies beyond the human settlement in New York—anything could be lurking in the untamed, post-apocalyptic western wilderness.  Or worse, there could be nothing out there.  No survivors, no information, no life, no answers.  But Kira has to try.  

In the old world, ParaGen was headquartered in Denver, Colorado.  If there's any information to be had, that's where it will be stored.  If the building is still standing, if the computers can be made to work, if Denver still exists, if ... It's a long shot, but there's where Kira plans to go.  Samm, the Partial boy who confuses Kira's every emotion, insists on going with her.  As does Heron, a combative Partial spy model.  The trio must also drag along Afa Demoux, ParaGen's once-brilliant IT manager.  Now a rambling drifter, he's a necessary, albeit unbalanced companion.

As the group moves further into the ruins of a forgotten world, they encounter every kind of challenge imaginable (as well as some they never could have conjured up).  With the fate of their world hanging in the balance, they must mount every obstacle, fight every battle, and above all, survive.  Before time runs out for them all.

Although I enjoy Dan Wells' unsettling adult novels, I haven't been particularly wowed by his YA offerings.  Partials kept me reading, but not rushing to find out what was going to happen.  I had a similar experience with its sequel, Fragments.  While the novel has flashes of tense, exciting action, not just between the principal characters and their environment, but between the story people themselves, the plot drags.  Quite a lot.  There are a few surprises, sure—I just felt that a good 100 pages could have been chopped from the book without losing anything important.  Character development would have been a good way to use those extra words.  Even after two (long) books, Wells' cast still feels flat to me.  Overall, then, Fragments was just an okay read for me.  If you enjoyed Partials, you'll probably like this one just fine.  If Partials didn't do it for you, this one likely won't either.  A lot of readers adore this series; for me, it's just been so-so.

(Readalikes:  Partials and Ruins by Dan Wells)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language (no F-bombs), violence, and scenes of peril

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of Fragments from the generous folks at HarperCollins.  Thank you!
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