Review: Ruins by Dan Wells

Ruins
Dan Wells

Balzer + Bray
Released March 11, 2014
464 pages
YA / Sci-Fi / Super Soldiers

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Kira, Samm, and Marcus fight to prevent a final war between Partials and humans in the gripping final installment in the Partials Sequence, a series that combines the thrilling action of The Hunger Games with the provocative themes of Blade Runner and The Stand.

There is no avoiding it—the war to decide the fate of both humans and Partials is at hand. Both sides hold in their possession a weapon that could destroy the other, and Kira Walker has precious little time to prevent that from happening. She has one chance to save both species and the world with them, but it will only come at great personal cost.

Dan Wells’ Partials series started my love of super soldiers. I stayed up all night until 4AM reading the first book in the series and I happily devoured the subsequent volumes as soon as I could get my hands on them. Leading lady Kira was crazy smart, a little reckless and a fascinating person to follow around the country as she tried to figure out how to solve the population problem for both the humans and the Partials. Meanwhile Samm was the super strong, self-reliant yet oddly awkward in human society soldier that I wanted to take home with me and make cookies. Together they have been one of my favorite YA sci-fi couples in recent memory.

So with that said here is my mini review of the final book in Wells’ series.

SPOILERS FOR PARTIALS AND FRAGMENTS AHEAD

The previous book Fragments ended with Kira and Samm being separated, she voluntarily giving herself up for science experiments in an attempt to save both the Partials and the humans and him staying behind in the idyllic community in Colorado to help revive the comatose partials and act as a pheromone factory to save all the babies. This didn’t bode too well for having much in the final volume of the Samm/Kira banter and awkwardness that made me giggle like a silly person. Unfortunately I was right.

There is a severe lack of Samm in Ruins and a heavy focus on several groups of side characters that had previously been passing background players in Kira’s life. While the main story still followed Kira around as she discovered the extent of the Partials program, I’d say the majority of the book followed Kira’s former foster sisters as they tried to escape Long Island, her ex-boyfriend as he tried to stop the war between the Partials and the remaining humans, and various members of the military on both sides.

The lack of Samm made me sad, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t really enjoy Ruins. I found it to be a very satisfying conclusion to the series that answered all the remaining questions while also throwing major wrenches into the works. When a giant monster creature starts crossing the paths of our characters, announcing that snow was coming, I thought I’d stumbled into a different series. Then there was a rampaging murderous character that was just causing havoc all around. Some of the shadier characters from the previous volumes go off the deep end completely and cause massive amounts of chaos.

This was a great conclusion to a great science fiction series that I wish received more recognition. While I can’t attest that the science is accurate, the use of science that sounds plausible while creating a story embedded with drama, tension and truly horrific moments makes the Partials series a unique thing in the softer sci-fi that prevails in YA today. I’m glad that it had a suitably great ending even if it was seriously lacking on the Samm.

And maybe this wasn't such a mini review after all.