The 1st wave sends darkness, the 2nd wave destruction and death. The 3rd is pestilence and more death. But they aren’t done yet. The 4th wave is insidious and unknown and more terrifying than the any other. It comes from within. And after the 4th wave, the enemy can be anywhere, and anyone. Trust no one. What will be the 5th?
The first book in The 5th Wave series will shake your belief in reality.
Six months after the ship appears, it is the dawn of the 5th wave. The aliens have become human, or at least, taken over humans, so there is no way to tell. They roam the earth, looking for survivors, looking to wipe out the last vestiges of humanity. Except for the children; the children are shipped off to safety. Or so everyone is led to believe.
16 year old Cassie thinks she might be the last human on earth. She hasn’t seen another since the aliens shot her father and wiped out their refugee camp with an out-of-this-world green bomb. So she runs, toward the one place she believes she might be safe, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, where the children were sent.
She has to stay alone, she can’t trust anyone, it is the only chance she has to survive. But one of Them, a Shark in her mind, makes it his mission to take her down, and she narrowly avoids being shot to death on a lonely stretch of highway. Rescued by a mysterious boy, Cassie has to choose between trusting someone and accepting help, or going on alone, to her certain death.
The characters are odd in this story, perhaps because the reader never knows if the character is a human or one of Them. But the cast was varied and interesting, and the children at the Air Force base are perhaps the most intriguing, as they train to fight the alien war. My feelings for Cassie went back and forth; some scenes, I really liked her, and found her kick-ass and strong. Others, she came across as whiny and weak, and just annoyed me.
The romance was unbelievable after Cassie spent months alone and trusting no one. She doesn’t actually trust him. It seemed random, as if author Rick Yancey (or his editor) was checking off a box. He has a pretty odd idea of what girls think and how they behave, and don’t give me this crap she’s alone and in a war zone.
Let me get this straight. I trust no one. I think I might be the last human on earth. I saw my father murdered by what appeared to be a human but was an alien. I can’t tell by looking if someone is an alien. I killed someone who might have been human because I don’t trust anyone. I found dead bodies on the highway, was shot in the leg, and almost died. But oh! You’re hot, and hot boys don’t usually look at me, so please kiss me. Seriously?!?!??
Aside from that, the psychological themes that run through the novel are well developed: Who can you trust when the enemy looks exactly like you? As a soldier tasked with saving humanity, when do you start questioning orders, and just follow your instincts? And the idea of likening the alien invasion to the colonization of North America is an intense comparison.
Fantastic world-building. Yancey perfectly captures the atmosphere of distrust and fear and loneliness and horror. Stretches of isolated highway with piles of vehicles, burning cities with no humans in sight, looted and abandoned homes and stores really drag the reader into the story.
The idea of birds as a delivery system for a destructive virus is awesome. They are EVERYWHERE on earth. There is no escaping birds. Excuse me while I go outside and chase the little buggers from my feeder right now. Friggin’ little traitors.
The story is a bit repetitive in places, but is good for those with a love for sci-fi and aliens. There is creepiness and gore and violence and a good, solid punch to the brain.
The 5th Wave was published May 7th 2013 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers.