There is something about alien invasion that I find so utterly terrifying, yet so compelling. When I first heard aboutÂ The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey, I knew without a doubt that I had to read it. Previously, I had read Yancey’sÂ Monstrumologist books and found myself utterly impressed with his writing style – pacing and plot were not sacrificed for syntax. Yancey’s science fiction novel absolutely lived up to the expectations I held for it – namely that it would be strongly written, make me think, and have me invested in the characters.
The Others have attacked humanity through different waves. The first wave of attacks leaves people without use of electricity. The second wave results in coastal destruction. The third wave brings plague. The fourth wave involves the Others, the aliens, hunting the last specks of humanity. So, what does the fifth wave of attack have in store? Yancey’s plot weaves loss, fear, and questions of what comprises humanity in an epic, pulsating story. Told through a variety of point of views,Â The 5th Wave is about a girl, Cassie Sullivan, who decides to save her brother Sammy despite the insurmountable odds against her. Along the way, she meets Evan Walker who is a bit of a mysterious loner dude, but he just may be Cassie’s only shot at rescuing Sammy.Â
Cassie Sullivan is hardcore. With an M-16 she follows the mantra, if something is shooting at you, shoot back. She was not always that way though. Before the invasion, Cassie was a frizzy haired girl that no one noticed. Yet, she adapts to her new life. Straight up, Cassie is incredibly compelling. I rooted for her to come out okay and unscathed for the whole of the book. I loved that she used her brains before she uses her M-16. I love that Yancey paints an interesting image of a girl who is willing to trust and fight to live, when she has every reason not to.Â The 5th Wave is an epic book with an epic main character.
Yancey does not skimp on secondary characterization, either. Evan Walker, for example is characterized as a ‘Noticer’ and this is often repeated throughoutÂ The 5th Wave,Â and backed up with example. Then there is Zombie, a boy who has several point of view chapters and finds himself conscripted, along with other children, to wield weapons and hunt the Others, as though they were adults. Zombie is given a whole backstory and he spends much of the book trying to rectify an awful mistake he made during the invasion. Sammy, Cassie’s brother, is given a point of view section as well. I found it interesting, seeing the invasion from the eyes of a very young child. As a reader, I could not help but hope that Sammy would retain his innocence and not be changed. But of course, that is a lot to ask.
The world built inÂ The 5th Wave is fascinating – what happens during an alien invasion? What happens when the aliens are able to inhabit human bodies? It’s an interesting question that the book postulates and one that allows for a world similar to ours but with key differences. For example, cars no longer work and so, Cassie must travel on foot along lonely highways with no company but abandoned automobiles. It’s a bit terrifying, the thought of our world without people and technology. I also have to admit thatÂ The 5th Wave reminded me a lot ofÂ The Host by Stephanie Meyer, in the way that the Others invade and take over, onlyÂ The 5th Wave is better. Stylistically, I much preferred Yancey’s view of hostile takeover to Meyer’s.
What I really liked aboutÂ The 5th Wave is that it does feel literary without sacrificing pace. I love that Yancey shows one can write an intelligent book that ponders deeper questions and not be boring.Â The 5th Wave is very well-written. It asks questions such as ‘what makes us human?’ and ‘is survival worth it when all hope is lost?’. This is a book that made me think while entertaining me. I found myself tempted to dog ear a few pages as I went along, as the writing is invigorating. For example, there’s a section where Cassie is questioning the existence of God to Evan. It’s not overwritten, yet is still a bit philosophical.
I think if you are looking to be blown away by a science fiction book but have been apprehensive about trying them, giveÂ The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey a shot. It is exciting. It is emotional. It is compelling. It is smart. There’s a lot of hype forÂ The 5th Wave and honestly, that hype is not undeserved. Recommended for readers looking for their next young adult fix.
Disclosure: Received for review via Amazon Vine