Dan Wells is the author of the John Wayne Cleaver trilogy consisting of I Am Not a Serial Killer, Mr. Monster, and I Don't Want to Kill You. If there's a series of books with more intriguing titles, I'm unaware of it. I enjoyed those books a lot and so I was looking forward to whatever he wrote next. When I found out it was a sci-fi book for young adults, it didn't dampen my enthusiasm. I've read a lot of really good books that were written for younger readers. But when I saw the cover of the book, I hesitated. It looked like a lot of the books my 13-year-old daughter reads and I didn't want to appear too creepy reading on the train to and from work each day. So I took the book cover off while reading it.
The book takes place 60 or so years into the future. In a time when there are less than 100,000 people left on earth. During a war with the Partials--genetically engineered beings almost indistinguishable from humans but stronger and with heightened senses, a weaponized virus known as RM was released that killed over 99% of the population and has continued to kill every baby born since then. The youngest people on earth are now teenagers and everyone lives under the constant threat of another attack by the Partials.
Kira is a teenage medic-in-training who works in the maternity ward of the hospital. Every day she sees babies being born knowing full well that they won't live long. She believes that if the humans are going to have any chance of surviving, the research being done on the virus has to change. RM has been analyzed and tested in every possible experiment in order to find a cure, but without success. Kira realizes that the only hope still out there are those who released it--the Partials.
After the war, the Partials retreated and haven't been seen since, but it's understood that they were immune to the virus. If a Partial could be found, captured, and analyzed, maybe a cure could be found.
I enjoyed the book. It was darker and more mature than most books written for young adults are. In fact, if it didn't mention the fact that it was for younger readers on the back of the cover, I never would have picked up on that from reading it. There's some minor profanity here and there, and the subject matter is pretty mature in nature. I won't be letting my daughter read it for another couple of years. But there's a follow-up book coming out soon, so maybe it'll be another trilogy. If so, maybe I'll let her read them all once it's done.