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

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Review: Erased by Jennifer Rush

Erased
Jennifer Rush

Little, Brown Young Readers
I received an ARC through the Around the World ARC tour in return for a review.
Releases January 7, 2014
275 pages
YA / SciFi / Action

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They thought they had escaped. They were wrong.

After fleeing the Branch with Sam, Cas, and Nick, Anna is trying to make sense of the memories resurfacing from her old life. At the same time, she's learning how to survive in hiding, following Sam's rules: Don't draw attention to yourself. Always carry a weapon. Know your surroundings. Watch your back.

Then a figure from Anna's childhood reappears. Is it a Branch setup, or could it be the reunion Anna has hoped for? Uncertain of where her loyalties lie, Anna must fight to learn the truth -- before she is betrayed again. Ultimately, the answers hinge on one question: What was the real reason her memories were erased?

Jennifer Rush delivers a thrilling sequel to Altered in a novel packed with mysteries, lies, and surprises that are sure to keep readers guessing until the last age is turned.

Last year Altered was one of my top 10 reads of the year. It was everything I wanted in a debut book – a story that felt complete while leaving strands of storyline open for future books, a subtly strong female character with viewable growth, a nice if standoffish male love interest who is a little lost in the middle of everyday life, and mysterious adventure. I wasn’t sure how Rush could build on the success of the first book without either rehashing the Altered or losing some of the magic along the way. While Erased is a little more complicated, a little more convoluted, it still has that balance of excitement and adventure with emotionally complex bombshells that made the first book so difficult to put down.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS FOR ALTERED AHEAD

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Review: Fragments by Dan Wells

Fragments (Partials #2)
Dan Wells

Balzer + Bray
Releases February 26, 2013
564 pages
YA / Dystopia / Genetics

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Kira Walker has found the cure for RM, but the battle for the survival of humans and Partials is just beginning. Kira has left East Meadow in a desperate search for clues to who she is. That the Partials themselves hold the cure for RM in their blood cannot be a coincidence--it must be part of a larger plan, a plan that involves Kira, a plan that could save both races. Her companions are Afa Demoux, an unhinged drifter and former employee of ParaGen, and Samm and Heron, the Partials who betrayed her and saved her life, the only ones who know her secret. But can she trust them?

Meanwhile, back on Long Island, what's left of humanity is gearing up for war with the Partials, and Marcus knows his only hope is to delay them until Kira returns. But Kira's journey will take her deep into the overgrown wasteland of post-apocalyptic America, and Kira and Marcus both will discover that their greatest enemy may be one they didn't even know existed.

The second installment in the pulse-pounding Partials saga is the story of the eleventh hour of humanity's time on Earth, a journey deep into places unknown to discover the means--and even more important, a reason--for our survival.

Partials was one of my favorite books last year because it didn’t treat me like I was dumb. There was a lot of science talk about genetics and medicine and virology that wasn’t written simplistically or with a lot of obvious hand waving, but rather in a way that assumed I could follow complex arguments. Toss in super genetically enhanced soldier Samm, who is equal parts awkward, adorable and badass, and I was completely sold, staying up until way past my bed time to read the book in just a few sittings.

So I was excited for Fragments, especially after the devastating yet mildly hopeful ending of Partials. In the end I was both satisfied yet also a little disappointed.

SPOILERS FOR BOOK ONE, PARTIALS

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Leslie's Favorite Reads of 2012 - Robots, Zombies, and Super Soldiers

Happy 2013! We still don't have jetpacks or personal flying cars, but we do have books and books and more books to keep us occupied until those futuristic achievements come to light. In 2012 I managed to read 84 books, which trailed my year goal of 100 but was nearly 20 more books than in 2011. I think that's pretty good considering 2012 was a year of change and adjustment with a new job that took up more time despite the shorter commute, new friends and new hobbies.

In those 84 books, 13 got a 5 star rating from me on Goodreads, another 45 got 4 stars, 20 received 3 stars and 6 got 2 stars. Luckily I read no 1 star books in 2012 and I hope that's a track record I can keep going into 2013. Last year was a year of surprises - books I thought I would love disappointed me while those I had no real expectations for knocked me off my feet. After some contemplating, these came out as my top 10 reads of 2012.

Robopocalypse by Daniel H Wilson

Is anyone surprised that my favorite read of the year involved robots? But it wasn’t just that this book is about robots. This book is about creepy robots wanting to destroy the human race and robots that have become cognizant of their own existence. There are moments of sheer horror and other moments of cheer-out-loud triumphs. Along with Amped, this book turned me into a huge supporter of Daniel H Wilson in any of his future endeavors, even if he does give me nightmares.

Feed by Mira Grant

If I were giving an award to the one piece of not-real-life culture I consumed this year that left the most emotional scar tissue, Feed would be it. I can’t even talk about this book (or write about it in this case) without tearing up. This book is so much more than another zombie story. So much more and so devastating in it’s amazing storytelling.

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Waiting on Wednesday: Fragments by Dan Wells

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Breaking the Spine and serves to showcase those books we’re not so patiently waiting to arrive!

Fragments (Partials Sequence #2)
Dan Wells

Balzer + Bray
Releases February 23, 2013
352 pages

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Preorder it from Amazon

Kira Walker has found the cure for RM, but the battle for the survival of humans and Partials is only just beginning. Kira has left East Meadow in a desperate search for clues as to who she is. That the Partials themselves hold the cure for RM in their blood cannot be a coincidence—it must be part of a larger plan, a plan that Kira knows she is a part of, a plan that could save both races. Her allies are Afa Demoux, an unhinged drifter and former employee of ParaGen, and Samm and Heron, the Partials who betrayed her and saved her life, the only ones who know her secret. But can she trust them?

Meanwhile, back on Long Island, what’s left of humanity is gearing up for war with the Partials, and Marcus knows his only hope is to delay them until Kira returns. But Kira’s journey will take her deep into the overgrown wasteland of postapocalyptic America, and they will both discover that their greatest enemy may be one they didn’t even know existed.

I could not go to bed when I was reading Partials. I stayed up until 4am just to finish it because I was so emerged into Dan Well's dystopian world of super soldiers and a dying human race. There were equal parts science and adventure, and I absolutely adored Samm beyond all reason. I'm really excited to see where Samm and Kira's adventure goes and how their relationship develops because they were a fun pair to watch together. One of my favorite characters didn't make it to the end of Partials, and that character will be missed, but I'm eager to venture back into Well's world.