Friday, May 2, 2014

Ruins by Dan Wells

The final novel in the Partials series picks up where the second left off. The humans on East Meadows have been ordered to surrender Kira Walker. The message by Dr. McKenna Morgan blares on radios constantly but the residents of East Meadows cannot turn her in because she isn't among them anymore. The penalty for not presenting Kira is the death of another human each day and continuation of the occupation of East Meadows.

On Long Island, Senator Owen Tovar, Mkele, Haru, Senator Hobb debate the use of a recently discovered nuclear warhead aboard a sunken warship. The nuclear warhead is in the hands of Marisol Delarosa, head of the only successful group of human resistance fighters, known as the White Rhinos. Delarosa believes that as long as the Partials exist, the human race will never recover itself and therefore, she's determined to exterminate all Partials. Tovar, Hobb, Mkele and Haru believe her plan is to take the warhead to the Partials homebase in White Plains only forty miles north of East Meadows and detonate it there. The group debates whether this is a justifiable use of such a deadly weapon. They decide that if this is a likely scenario, they need to evacuate East Meadows quietly and quickly. To that end they decide to create a military distraction, while another group leads the humans out of East Meadows.

Unknown to both the humans and the Partials, Kira Walker has returned to Dr. McKenna Morgan to be experimented on to see if she holds the key to turning off the Partials expiration date.

Samm and Heron are in Dr.Vale's old laboratory near the Preserve outside of Denvery, beginning the process of awakening the nine Partials who have been sedated for the past thirteen years. They have been used to provide the Lurker chemical which is the cure for the RM disease that has decimated the human population. Now Samm and Heron are removing the Partials from the basement and taking them to the humans who live in the Preserve. The tenth Partial who has been irreparably modified to produce the sedative that disables any Partial who enters the complex is left.

On Long Island, Nandita Merchant who created the Partials and the RM virus and who kidnapped and experimented on the Partials, Ariel, Kira and Isolde, is preparing to leave the Island. Accompanying her are Ariel, Isolde and Isolde's half-Partial child, Mohammad Khan, Xochi and her adoptive mother, Senator Erin Kessler, Haru's wife Madison and their daughter, Arwen, the first child in the Long Island community to survive in thirteen years.

General Shon, leader of the Partial invasion force on Long Island is watching as his Partial soldiers begin dying from a new bioweapon he believes the humans have unleashed in East Meadows.  The Partials develop boils which turn into rough scaly skin. Shon is told that the illness is a contagious genetic disease. At this time General Shon receives a visit from a strange and terrible creature, hairless, a bruise red and covered in plates of hide like a rhinoceros. It warns them to prepare for snow and then leaves.

Marcus, Commander Woolf, Galen and a Partial named Vinci have failed in their diplomatic mission to the Partials, hoping to form an alliance with friendly Partials to fight back against Dr. Morgan. They need the help of Delarosa's White Rhinos whom they are trying to find in the woods.

After all her tests on Kira, Dr. Morgan realizes that Kira's body does not hold the key to saving the Partials. During her time in the lab, Kira comes to the realization that it is possible the Partials and humans might be linked together through biology and that the cure lies in their mutual cooperation. She theories that while the Partials breathe out the cure for the RM virus, the humans might also provide something to the Partials which will disable the expiration date. When Kira suggests to Dr. Vale that they need to bring a human into the lab to test her theory, Vale refuses. He tells her that Partials and humans can never live together.This leads Kira to slip out of the lab and head north to try to find a group of Partials who might consider working with humans to prove her theory and save both races.

As Wells weaves his complicated storyline which includes these six major threads, the truth about saving both Partials and the last of the humans gradually becomes evident. For Samm and Kira it becomes a race against time. Can they make both factions understand that their only hope lies in living together peacefully?

At times Ruins becomes bogged down by the numerous story lines but eventually Wells ties them all together in an ending filled with hope. There are a few twists along the way but mostly this story plays out in a predictable manner that will leave readers satisfied.

Wells effectively portrays a world that is almost completely in ruin, with the last vestiges of both humans and Partials battling it out, convinced each has no hope but to annihilate the other.  The snow, a last attempt to re-engineer the world back, is a symbol of the hope and rebirth about to occur in this devastated world.

The Partials series is probably one of the more under-rated dystopian series and a pleasantly readable and interesting set of novels. There's a touch of romance, plenty of action-adventure, and a storyline about genetically engineered soldiers that is unique.

Fans of Hunger Games and Divergent will enjoy the Partials series. Once again, a map of the novel's setting would have been beneficial. Nevertheless, Ruins is a well written and fascinating conclusion to Well's series.

Ruins by Dan Wells
New York: HarperCollins Publishers    2014
453 pp.

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