- Audio CD
- Publisher: Blackstone Pub; Unabridged edition (11 March 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 148299240X
- ISBN-13: 978-1482992403
- Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 3.8 x 15.2 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 363 g
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
Ruins: Library Edition Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
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About the Author
Dan Wells is the author of the Partials Sequence, as well as the John Cleaver series: I Am Not a Serial Killer, Mr. Monster, and I Don't Want to Kill You. He has been nominated for both the Hugo and the Campbell Award and has won two Parsec Awards for his podcast, Writing Excuses. He plays a lot of games, reads a lot of books, and eats a lot of food, which is pretty much the ideal life he imagined for himself as a child.
Julia Whelan, winner of numerous Earphones Awards, won the prestigious Audie Award for Best Romance Narration in 2013 and has also been a finalist for an Audie Award in other years. She was named one of AudioFile magazine's Best Voices of 2010, and two of her audio narrations were shortlisted for the American Library Association's notable recordings of 2010. Her narration of Jandy Nelson's The Sky Is Everywhere earned a place in the first round of 2011 Grammy nominations for Best Spoken Word Album. She is a former child actor who has appeared in multiple films and television shows, most notably ABC's Once and Again. After receiving her college degree, she returned to the film industry and is also a writer.
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If I could rate the ideas and the execution separately, I’d give the plot a five and the execution a three. Since I can’t, I have to go with the three, because that really defines the experience.
First, good things:
I appreciate a strong female lead who isn’t constantly looking for a man to direct her. Kira is nothing if not strong, determined, and self-directed. She does lean on support from some of the men in her bleak world, but it doesn’t feel like she constantly needs rescuing. Or rather, *everyone* in this world needs constant rescuing, including the men, so she’s in good company. She rescues as much as she is rescued.
Second, quite a few plot points took me by surprise. Some were predictable, but I was impressed that the author didn’t telegraph every punch. I was pleasantly surprised more than once. (By pleasant, I don’t mean happy character outcomes as much as the satisfaction of being surprised and intrigued.)
Also, given the utter bleakness of the material (it starts with dead babies and just keeps deteriorating), I was surprised I could hang in there through all three books. I’m not really a big fan of super dark; I can watch the news or read comments on Facebook for free if I want to be depressed.
The story premise is interesting at the outset and each new layer is more interesting. Sadly, despite the dystopian sci-fi of it all, I have no doubt that this is exactly what humanity would do with that set of circumstances. So while it’s fantastical to a degree, it’s also utterly believable.
Now for the disappointments:
There were just too many rabbit holes leading nowhere. There were multiple characters and plot lines introduced throughout the series that did not serve a unique or relevant purpose. One in particular stuck around for nearly all of book two before being unceremoniously dumped without fulfilling the supposedly critical role s/he was introduced for. Another was introduced in book three to create a plot line that was left completely unresolved/ignored by the end. Another random person popped in to work out some mommy issues in the middle of the literal end of the world - like, who is she and why do we care that she is angry all the way in book three when we barely remember her, and every sentient being on the planet is about to die forever? (PS that’s not a spoiler; that’s the deal since the beginning, not news.)
Another thing; while I appreciate that the writer was merciless with character deaths as a device for underlining the bleakness of the world he created, after a while it started to become meaningless. Characters would appear, develop a bit, then get cut down and replaced with another one you wouldn’t have time to connect with. It felt like the author couldn’t find the balance between minimal fleshing out of minor characters and the deep connections the main characters need with some of the casualties so the reader can feel the impact of the deaths.
Basically, it reads like a rough draft. Not a first draft, but it still lacks some necessary editing. Useless plot points and characters need trimming, and details like mistakes of gender and physical descriptions that were missed in the editing process.
Overall it was good and I’ve recommended it to others, but it’s disappointing that it’s not as airtight as it could be. It would rank up there with Hunger Games if it were.
The book focuses on several characters, Kira, Samm, Marcus, and Kira’s sisters’ Isolde and Xochi and Ariel. For everyone, it picks up exactly where the 2nd book left off. Throughout the series, we have seen Kira’s determination to save humans from RM, but now her determination is turned to saving both races. She’s arguably the best human in the book, because she no longer purely hates Partials based on the fact that they were engineered and not “really” human. No, she sees a way to save everyone and she won’t stand back and let humanity destroy itself, no matter how hard it tried.
Usually, I’m not a huge fan of multiple storylines, because I find some of them tedious. I felt the same way at the start of this book, but my opinion changed as I read as the individual storylines began merging with one another, or as one revelation is revealed in one POV but not yet in another POV. The pacing might be a bit slow in places because Dan Wells does not skimp on the world building, the science, or the moral issues at hand. Also, I have to mention the romance, the little bit there was. I’m so happy Kira chose who she did, but it was predictable. Yes, there’s just a tiny bit of love triangle, but I didn’t mind because the triangle wasn’t dragged out over three books and most of the story is not focused on the romance at all.
Ruins also include some new revelations about the people who created the Partials, the Trust. It was interesting and saddening to see how each of the Trust reacted to the consequences of their creations. They had the best intentions when they created Partials and RM, but sometimes even the best plans go awry, especially when you consider the unpredictable reaction of humans.
If you enjoy sci-fi, complex characters, and deeper moral issues in your books then Partials is the story for you. If you’re all about the romance and want a story revolved around that, then this probably won’t be your thing. Overall, I love this series and hope Dan Wells’ future works will be equally as enjoyable as this one!
Dan Wells does a great job of showing what can happen when people allow their differences to drive a wedge between them and also of showing what can happen when people work together to iron out the differences. Our world is interlaced with racism, bigotry and hate not unlike that which the partials and humans face; and this book could serve as a dire warning of what might happen if we continue on in our current actions. Wells does a great job of bringing the series to a close and tying up lose ends. I would have liked to see a positive glimpse into the future of the main characters, but that's probably because, as I said, I didn't want it to end.
(Maybe it could be written as a side book like 'Isolation'.)