Published: 7th May 2013
By: Penguin UK
My rating: 5+ stars
How can I describe a book with words, when there are no words to describe how fantastic this book was. From the first time I read the blurb of The 5th Wave, I wanted it.
The earth has been visited by aliens, and they don't come in peace. And it's not like in the movies, where prominent cities are destroyed but we fight back with nuclear weapons and then we win, no the humans are losing. 7 billion of us are already dead, we're extremely close to becoming extinct, which is apparently, the plan.
The 1st wave hit 11 days after the ship appeared above. After a 2nd, 3rd and 4th wave, the few humans who are left, are waiting on a 5th wave, with no idea what it's going to be. They've turned us against each other. The aliens are now in the guise of humans. There's one rule; trust no one!
Cassie believes she may be the last human left on the planet. She's alone in the woods, believing her father and brother to be dead, her mother having been killed by the 3rd wave, an airborne virus, The Red Death. But a promise made to her brother keeps her going. With his teddy bear in hand, she won't give up until she finds him. Through flash backs into Cassie's past, we glimpse how she was affected by the previous waves. Sitting in school when the 1st wave came, not realising it would be the last time she'd ever see her best friend, her mother's death, leaving home with her father to search for other survivors, and maybe a safer place to survive.
This book isn't just told from the POV of Cassie, though her's is the main voice, we also have the POV from Ben Parish, who was once Cassie's crush, but who has now been taken to an army barracks and trained to fight. And the POV of little Sammy, Cassie's five year old brother, who has been taken to the same place as Ben. There's also an interesting POV from a Silencer, the 4th wave, a silent killer, named Evan Walker. I enjoyed each and every one of these perspectives, but I always looked forward to coming back to Cassie. She is tough, she is snarky and sarcastic, adding a touch of humour to an otherwise dismal narrative. These characters are all doing what they can to survive this hopeless situation, but they aren't very optimistic that they will survive for too much longer.
Yancey built the world around these characters flawlessly, easily going from past to the present, and voice to voice without affecting the flow of the story. I don't usually enjoy books that dip into the past and back again, but it really worked for me here. I loved how he effortlessly brought all these characters together at the end. Myself, I found the ending to be quite traumatic, and as I finished up reading this book, I was left with a feeling of despair.
To say I loved this book is probably an understatement, if you haven't picked it up already, you really need to. It's my favourite book of 2013, so far.
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About this author
aka Richard Yancey
Rick is a native Floridian and a graduate of Roosevelt University in Chicago. He earned a B.A. in English which he put to use as a field officer for the Internal Revenue Service. Inspired and encouraged by his wife, he decided his degree might also be useful in writing books and in 2004 he began writing full-time.
Since then he has launched two critically acclaimed series: The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp, for young readers, and The Highly Effective Detective, for adults. Both books are set in Knoxville, Tennessee, where Rick lived for ten years before returning to Florida.