Monday, April 22, 2013

Isolation ~ Dan Wells review

Isolation (Partials #0.5)
Balzer + Bray
August 28, 2012
~75 pages (enovella)
add to Goodreads/buy on Kindle/or Nook

Two decades before the events of Partials, the world was locked in a different battle for survival: a global war for the last remaining oil reserves on the planet. It was for the Isolation War that the American government contracted the ParaGen Corporation to manufacture the Partials—our last hope in reclaiming energy independence from China. And it was on these fields of battle that the seeds of humanity's eventual destruction were sown.

Isolation takes us back to the front lines of this war, a time when mankind’s ambition far outstripped its foresight. Heron, a newly trained Partial soldier who specializes in infiltration, is sent on a mission deep behind enemy lines. What she discovers there has far-reaching implications—not only for the Isolation War, but for Partials and humans alike long after this war is over.

A powerful take of our world on the brink, Isolation gives readers a glimpse into the history from which Partials was born—as well as clues to where the Partials Sequence is heading next.

After reading Partials last February, I was really excited to read both Fragments, the sequel and "Isolation", the prequel novella. Though, "Isolation", is set prior to Partials, it was released just this past August -- between the releases of the two full length novels in the series.

If you've already read Partials and are looking for some more insight into how the Partials are made, how they come to be and a bit of insight into the Isolation War, I would recommend, "Isolation".

The story is told through Heron and alternates between her inception as a Partial and her assignment inside the Chinese military.

As a stand-alone tale or as an introduction to the series, I'm not sure I would recommend "Isolation." I loved Partials, the characters, their interactions, the plot, the way things unfolded, but, "Isolation" didn't really work for me.

The Chinese generals felt almost like we were hearing the dubbed version of them, if that makes sense. Their dialogue didn't really flow and seemed like it was Chinese translated (a bit oddly) into English before we read it.

That was on top of, perhaps, my bigger trouble with, "Isolation." What was going on with the gender roles in this story? 2060 China and 2060 military is apparently more misogynistic than 2013, which, okay plausible, I guess. But the ease with which Heron knows, accepts and plays into this as well as another place it was part of the story . . . Yes, it worked for what needed to be accomplished, but was it the only way? It felt cheap. Contrasting the treatment of Heron, the only female character, with Kira, Partials main character left me really disappointed.

I liked learning how the Partials were 'conceived' and trained, but I don't feel that this short story was crucial to Partials and I'll see if it plays a role in Fragments as I read it.

Rating: 5/10

A Novel Toybox does, possibly, a better job making some of my same points in her review

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