Fragments by Dan Wells
Picking up shortly after the events that conclude Partials, Fragments follows Kira Walker as she seeks answers with nothing but a photo to guide her through America’s post-apocalyptic wasteland. She befriends a drifter who’s convinced he is the last human on Earth, an old IT guy named Afa who knows just where they can find the BioTech information Kira seeks. Meanwhile, on the island, Marcus and others wage war with invading Partials as Dr. Morgan threatens to kill one person for each day that Kira is not returned to her.
The detail in this story is remarkable. This installment, like the first, runs long; but keep in mind this is a post-apocalyptic novel that features trekking clear across the country with nothing but some horses and less than ideal company. Dan Wells successfully nails the scope of this saga. Kira’s journey feels appropriately epic as she uncovers paradoxes and questions which side she will choose if the war brings her to that impossible choice: Partial or human. Marcus’s chapters are a bit shorter. This feels right, as these are often action-packed battle chapters.
Kira’s character development works here, as does Samm’s. Kira comes to realize just how gray ethical dilemmas become when Samm and his partner, Heron, call into question Kira’s insistence on bringing mentally-unbalanced Afa so far from New York just because he knows how to run the old world’s computers. Samm even grows as a character, acting a bit more human by book’s end. The only downside comes with Marcus, who feels oddly flat in this outing. There are spots where it is clear that Wells is trying to remind us of who Marcus is by following up actions that show this with narration that implies Marcus has always been like this. Many of his actions feel forced, and his sense of humor just doesn’t feel genuine here.
I felt quite emotionally invested in Kira’s journey throughout. This book should leave readers clamoring for the next chapter; that’s the effect this had on me. Reading Partials, I realized I was not that book’s biggest fan, but I enjoyed this sequel more and am eager to see what twists Dan Wells brings next. I recommend Fragments to fans of Michael Grant’s Gone, and Divergent fans looking for an even darker read. If you want to sit down and sink into a good, long read, then look no further.
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