Fragments by Dan Wells

Title: Fragments
Author: Dan Wells
Publication Date: February 26, 2013
Publisher: Balzar + Bray
Source: Purchased

From Goodreads:

Author Dan Wells is back with the sequel to the sci-fi blockbuster Partials, which Pittacus Lore called a “thrilling sci-fi adrenaline rush, with one of the most compelling and frightening visions of Earth’s future I’ve seen yet.”

After discovering the cure for RM, Kira Walker sets off on a terrifying journey into the ruins of postapocalyptic America and the darkest desires of her heart in order to uncover the means—and a reason—for humanity’s survival.

Dan Wells extends his richly imagined, gritty world and introduces new memorable characters in this second installment in the Partials Sequence.

It’s been a long time since I entered Kira Walkers world and when I picked up Fragments I was worried that I had forgotten all the important stuff from Partials. Dan Wells immediately entranced me back into this world and I felt like I had just finished Partials.
This is a mammoth book, almost 600 pages, with a lot of stuff going on, but never once did I feel like I was being bogged down or that something wasn’t needed. Wells showcases several different characters all embroiled in different areas of the war. I found this a really great addition to the story because through these different storylines, Wells is able to show the reader that wars are not straightforward and simple. This seems like such a simple concept, but the reader has to take into consideration that there are not many other authors who go to lengths to show the depth of the war or the toll that it takes on both sides.
Instead of “This is a war between good vs. evil” Wells shows us that each side, human and Partial, has been splintered, fragmented, into separate factions. There are Partials who want to see the humans dead or who don’t care one way or another about their lives, there are those who want to experiment on them to find a cure for the expiration date, and then there are those who feel immense guilt for the decimation of the human race and don’t want to see them killed any further.
The humans are the same way. There was an incredible moment in here, among many, where the human commander has to work together with the Partials he has long thought of as the enemy in order to survive. I loved it because in the face of extinction this is what would need to happen. People would need to put aside their differences for survival.
Kira’s journey was so different than the other stories in the book because she was on a completely different path. She fights for survival in a way totally different from her friends in East Meadow or the other Partials. She travels on a journey that almost reminds me of Martha walking the Earth in Doctor Who. This is Kira’s role in saving humanity. From behind the scenes. She has set forth with Samm and Heron and a new character, Afa, on a perilous journey across the United States to find the cure for RM and the expiration date.
I love Lord of the Rings and Fragments reminded me of it. Kira and Samm are Frodo and Sam, traveling across the world to save it. Behind the scenes. They aren’t on the front lines, but they are equally if not more important in saving the world than those on the front line (Marcus, Ariel, Woolf/Aragon, Gandolf, Legolas, Gimli, etc.) If Kira and Samm fail there is no future for anyone no matter what. If Marcus or Woolf were to fail the humans and Partials wouldn’t be annihilated over night, many of them would die, but there would still be people for Kira and Samm to save.
Besides the parallels to Tolkien and the realism of the war I also really liked how Wells was able to manage the multiple characters. This was a large book and while the cast of characters wasn’t that large the multiple perspectives and storylines had an opportunity to become too much. Wells was able to handle each of them with ease (although I wonder how much effort it took for him to write it just so) and navigated what could have been tricky waters with ease.
I mentioned this before with my Partials review, but Dan Wells puts all the haters in the world who say that men cannot write female characters to shame. Not only does he pull it off, but also he makes it so that the fact that he is writing a female character shouldn’t even come into play. This isn’t something that I should have to comment on, but from comments that I’ve seen online and at events I did want to point it out.
I am not a gooey romantic. I never have been and probably never will be. One of the things that I LOVE about this series is the slow build towards the romantic element. I despise books where the main character seems to fall hopelessly in love with a guy she just met only minutes after meeting him. There is awkwardness to these characters that I love. Kira doesn’t know how to talk to Samm and he doesn’t know how to talk to her. I know I can relate to this much more than the love at first sight books that seem to have taken over YA and I believe that other readers will as well.
This book (and series) is a definite read! 5 stars to an incredible journey. Loved the ride and can’t wait to continue it with Ruins