Title: The 5th Wave
Author: Rick Yancey
Series: The Fifth Wave #1
Published: 2013 by Penguin
After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.
Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.
“Aliens are stupid. I’m not talking about real aliens.”
Oh. My. Gosh. I totally understand the hype now!!
I requested this because I’d heard such good things, but when I read the synopsis it sounded like just another futuristic story with a mysterious boy and a quest. But oh my goodness is it original!
First off, I have not read many, if any, alien stories. I’ve seen the movies (that were so appropriately mentioned in the book) that portray alien attacks as “Rock on humans! These aliens are stupid to attack our might and power!” This is a more “realistic” (because how realistic can it really be?) story of how it would all go down. It has heart and humanity and emotion, because most of it is narrated by people who remember what they JUST lost a few months ago, that normal life that is now gone. They remember all the friends who are probably dead and they can’t trust anyone new. They’re in this alone and for the long haul fighting against something that seems unbeatable.
Cassie’s story starts with her living in a forest alone and unable to trust anyone. She recounts how all of this came to be by explaining the alien attack, sharing stories of her family and friends, and expressing her thoughts on the whole situation. Anyways, after you learn the whole story, the present action starts. She meets a guy named Evan Walker who might be a bit untrustworthy and she sticks to her plan of finding her younger brother. Interspersing Cassie’s narrative are other narratives by other characters which can be a bit confusing at first but overall really add to the story.
Cassie is amazing and realistic and brave and scared and strong. She doesn’t let this whole crazy world that now exists bring her down. She knows what she’s lost but she also knows what she has left to gain if she keeps pressing on. Sure, there are quite a few times where she feels really depressed. It does seem like nothing good will ever happen again. Seems like there is nothing to do to fight against these superior creatures. But that doesn’t mean giving up, it means making each moment count and thinking about those humans who are still left.
I’m not going to discuss the other characters because they are meant to be surprises and plot twists. But every one of the characters is complex with many facets to their personality and motivations. It’s a truly fascinating book that sometimes feels like a character study in the face of chaos. SO GOOD!!
I guess I’m just used to these futuristic books that say, “This is the way life is (blank) years in the future.” But Yancey wrote this like it will happen tomorrow. There are no dates except one in the very beginning that doesn’t do much except tell you that the setting of the book is around now. And that’s not something I’m used to seeing in apocalyptical books. It’s contemporary! But with aliens! It’s basically awesome! Also, it’s pretty long, which I always love.
So, if Rick Yancey could come out with the sequel as quickly as possible (but with enough time to make it perfect) that’d be great. :)
BOTTOM LINE: GO READ THIS. NOW.
Content Warning: Some profanity, including about four “f” words, kissing.