Goodreads summary with spoilers for Partials removed: “Kira has left East Meadow in a desperate search for clues to who she is… Her companions are Afa Demoux, an unhinged drifter and former employee of ParaGen, and Samm and Heron… the only ones who know her secret. But can she trust them?
Meanwhile, back on Long Island, what’s left of humanity is gearing up for war with the Partials, and Marcus knows his only hope is to delay them until Kira returns. But Kira’s journey will take her deep into the overgrown wasteland of postapocalyptic America, and Kira and Marcus both will discover that their greatest enemy may be one they didn’t even know existed.
The second installment in the pulse-pounding Partials saga is the story of the eleventh hour of humanity’s time on Earth, a journey deep into places unknown to discover the means–and even more important, a reason–for our survival.”
In case it wasn’t clear, this is the sequel to Partials, a book which I reviewed here for CBR4 and quite liked. I read Fragments fairly quickly, like I did Partials, but it was a little less engaging than the first. It suffers a bit from the sophomore slump: stuck between the opening novel that piques the imagination by introducing the world, characters, and story; and the finale, with its climax and resolution.
As you can see from the plot description, much of this novel is the main character and her companions traveling across the country, and though the landscape is fraught with peril and all that, stories just about journeys need to really be done well to be extremely compelling. This one wasn’t badly done, but it did lose steam and feel repetitive at times. Wells’ writing is sometimes a bit clinical, so even though I’m invested in the characters’ journeys simply because I find the plotline interesting, I haven’t really connected with any of them much emotionally, even after two books. The tepid emotional connection is especially apparent when Wells dances around the love triangle between Samm, Kira, and Marcus — I gathered that Kira and Samm were feeling increasing tension between each other not necessarily because it was written to express that tension, but, frankly, just because I expected it from the circumstances.
I think that the slight flatness of the writing may be what has prevented this series from being as well known as some of the other YA dystopias, but even with that said, I still do like the characters well enough as people and the world Wells has built well enough to finish the series. I also would like to give credit where it’s due to Wells for what I see as being pretty egalitarian writing when it comes to gender and race. The protagonist is a woman of color, and she’s not a token — there are lots of other important women and POC in the story. Overall, I think YA dystopia fans will enjoy this series, and I’ll be looking forward to the third novel.