Book Review: Ruins (Partials #3) by Dan Wells
Ruins, the final book in the Partials series, brings us to the conclusion of a long and epic battle between Partials and humans, and I believe it’s a satisfying finale for readers who have been invested in the post-apocalyptic struggle that began in Partials. Kira’s nuclear crew is still going strong—Samm and Heron are sorting through the Denver settlement’s issues with its captive Partials, while Marcus, Xochi, Nandita, Isolde, Ariel and Madison are trying to survive on Long Island after the latest Partial invasion, a task complicated by Delarosa’s plans to nuke the Partials into oblivion. Finding the cure for humanity’s extinction by RM and Partial expiration is second to war on a lot of the higher ups’ minds on both sides, but luckily Kira and her friends can think beyond the near future and their decades-long grudge match.
While not perfect, Ruins is definitely a stronger book than its predecessor, Fragments. I was disappointed in book two for being too sprawling in scope, with unnecessary mini-missions that dragged the pace and made the book overlong. Ruins did meander a bit as well, juggling perhaps one too many storylines and character perspectives to keep the story tight and engaging, but it delivered a riveting final showdown. Some characters’ motivations baffled me, especially Dr. Morgan and Armin, who were at one time intelligent, thoughtful scientists, but I suppose they served their purpose in the story. One character standout in all three books is Heron. While her motivations are shielded from readers for much of the series, she reveals herself in this installment to be one of the most interesting, complexly drawn Partials, and she seems destined to be a fan favorite.
I was impressed with the way the love triangle (if you can even classify it that way, it was relatively angst free and born of circumstance, not hormones) between Samm, Kira and Marcus was resolved. I think in a world like this you’d be rather pragmatic, even about love and heartbreak, and I appreciate that Wells didn’t milk those relationships for silly drama against the backdrop of a much more grave conflict.
Ruins is a fitting end to a rather thought-provoking series, and I’m glad I read it. If you enjoy contemplating sci-fi themes of creation, what it means to be human, personal liberty vs. collective safety and mutually assured destruction/survival, you’ll want to make time for this trilogy.