Ruins: The Partials Sequence, Book 3

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
Ruins: The Partials Sequence, Book 3 Book Poster Image
Smart postapocalyptic tale reaches rousing conclusion.

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age 14+
Based on 1 review

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The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Ruins takes pains to be scientifically plausible as it continues to chronicle the last bitter struggles between humans and genetically engineered Partials. The ecological forces that have reshaped North America are presented logically. The novel raises interesting questions about bioethics, civil rights, and environmental change.

Positive Messages

Ruins emphasizes that the worth of an individual has to do with who they are on the inside rather than their genetic makeup or upbringing. There are often no easy answers, however, when the good of the many has to be balanced against the welfare of a few. As one character notes, if you want to survive in this world, you need to stop asking why people work together -- and just start working together.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Kira, Samm, and Marcus each struggle with loyalties to friends, family, and species. Deep down, they want to find a way for humans and Partials to coexist, but sometimes the obstacles facing them seem insurmountable. Their bravery and compassion are tried time and again throughout Ruins, but they manage to maintain their basic decency.


Ruins contains many scenes of violence, which range from hand-to-hand combat to gunfights to a showdown with nuclear weapons. The violence is usually not described in graphic detail, but there are a few exceptions, especially in scenes concerning the "Blood Man," a maniac who cuts up his victims for biological samples.


The level of sexual content in Ruins is fairly low. The characters are too busy staying alive to have much time for romance, although Kira professes her love for both Samm and Marcus. Love scenes do not proceed beyond passionate kissing and hugging.


A handful of instances each of "damn," "bitch," and "s--t." "Hell" and "bastard" are used around a dozen times.


There is no consumer-related content in Ruins.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Samm gives a Partials general a bottle of whiskey but does not share a drink with him.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Dan WellsRuins is a suspenseful, engaging continuation of the science-fiction adventure begun in Partials and continued in Fragments, about the struggles between humans and genetically engineered​ Partials. Although set in a dystopian future, the novel takes pains to be plausible and raises interesting questions about bioethics and civil rights. There are a handful of instances each of "damn," "bitch," and "s--t." ("Hell" and "bastard" are used around a dozen times.) Alcohol is consumed in one scene. Sexual content is low, and scenes of romance progress no further than passionate kissing and hugging. 

User Reviews

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Teen, 15 years old Written byDoodles3 June 14, 2018

Easy To Read and Exciting

I really liked this series. However, there were some parts that were questionable: a scientist called the "Blood Man" chopped off several fingers from... Continue reading

What's the story?

RUINS finds its large cast of characters scattered across half the country, from Long Island to beyond the poisonous barrens of the Midwest. Kira is in the hands of Dr. Morgan, who will do whatever it takes to save the remaining Partials. Samm's thousands of miles away, dealing with a hidden cache of upgraded supersoldiers. And a human resistance fighter has a nuclear warhead and intends to wipe out the Partials in one catastrophic move. Will Kira and Samm be able to form an alliance between humankind and the Partials before time runs out and they all face certain death?

Is it any good?

Ruins provides a rousing ending to the Partials Sequence series. Author Dan Wells piles on the plot complications, maintaining a high level of suspense without unduly stretching plausibility. There are surprising plot twists, satisfying reunions, and a sense of well-earned completion. In a market where so many dystopian sci-fi sagas sputter out after a volume and a half, Ruins demonstrates how to keep a complicated story on track for nearly 1,500 pages.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can discuss why dystopian science fiction is so popular. Why is "the end of the world" so interesting to so many readers?

  • What are some of the dangers of bioengineering? What restrictions should be put on experiments that involve human subjects?

  • What kinds of conflicts arise between people from different cultures? What strategies offer a better chance of defusing those conflicts?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love science-fiction and dystopian novels

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