Author: Dan Wells
Series: Partials Sequence, #2
Release date: March 28th 2013
Publisher: HarperCollins UK
Paperback, 482 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: The Book Depository
Consistently mediocre is not a bad thing for a series to be, not when there are so many bad ones constantly being sold (and praised). Fragments is a story neither better nor worse than Partials, but it is just a bit more ambitious, as it splits into two plotlines that will most assuredly come together in the end.
In Fragments, the narrative is split between Marcus and Kira, and I was very surprised to find myself enjoying Marcus’ point of view more. Far more interesting things were happening on his end, while Kira’s journey seemed endless and monotone after a while. While Marcus was trying to stay alive in the middle of a war and form treaties and alliances at the same time, Kira, Samm and Heron embarked on a journey across the country, through hundreds of miles of toxic wasteland in hopes of finding the cure for both the RM, and the Partials’ expiration date.
I freely admit that I don’t remember much of the first book, but I distinctly remember not liking Marcus much, and yet he was my favorite in Fragments. He was funny and resourceful and ready to take action when action was required. Samm, on the other hand, lost some of his appeal, not because he did something wrong, but because he was mostly passive throughout the book. He just silently followed Kira, and although his reasons were good, it wasn’t very impressive. I respected Heron more for having a a firm opinion and not hesitating to express it loudly, even though she opposed Kira every step of the way.
In Fragments, Dan Wells raised some interesting questions that are easily applicable today, and then did his best to answer them through Kira and Samm, and possibly even Marcus. There were no easy answers for any of them, and making some of the decisions they were forced to make, meant stepping out of morally gray area into complete darkness. Mostly it was Kira who had to make these impossible choices, and I’m still not sure she made the right ones. Neither is she, for that matter, probably because right choices simply didn’t exist.
How easy would it be for a civilization so amazing to reach just a little too far? To do something it shouldn’t? to make one sacrifice or one compromise or one rationalization too many? If you can build a city so great, what’s to stop you from building a person? If you can control a lake, what’s to stop you from controlling a population? If you can subjugate nature itself, why should a sickness ever get out of hand?
Despite all the action and excitement, at least on one end, Fragments was still about 200 pages too long. I’m not one to shy away from long books, but 560 pages (US edition) is far too long, at least when so little is actually going on. What made it even worse was the vicious cliffhanger we were left with. I wish I’d have known about it in advance, I probably would have decided to wait a while.