In Rick Yancey’s post-apocolyptic novel, The 5th Wave is the first installation of a trilogy predicted to hit theaters in 2016 with an impact as great as the Katniss Everdeen era.
This thrilling dystopian book follows the life of Cassie Sullivan, a sixteen-year-old girl who will do whatever it takes to survive, the possibility of her brother being alive the only reason she still fights for survival in a world devastated by tsunamis and riddled with plague. Unlike most teenage girls you know, Cassie’s best friend is an M16 rifle--which she will use, if provoked. It is her most beloved companion as she makes her journey to Camp Haven--the destination to which her brother had been taken.
Every character fights for the right to live, most notably the army of kids assembled at Camp Haven where we meet the remaining two main characters: Sammy Sullivan and Ben Parish (a.k.a. the hot jock whom every girl in school fantasized about before the whole alien apocolypse thing happened). With four main characters, it’s sometimes difficult to understand whose perspective is being told; The 5th Wave is divided into parts, and each part follows a different character.
This hardly subtracts from the beauty of Yancey’s writing style, however. With his superb use of imagery and his dry, witty humor, the pages turned on their own; the suspense is high, the curiosity unbearable. Admittedly, The 5th Wave does seem dull and predictable at some points. As I read on, however, I realized I had never been so wrong. Underneath the cliché surface, is a web of lies, secrets, and ambiguity that left me begging for more--which I got very quickly when I bought the recently released sequel The Infinite Sea.
The 5th Wave is a thrilling, suspenseful must-read for all fans of post-apocolyptic stories. And I don’t mean the typical zombie apocolypse you see often, like in The Walking Dead or in World War Z. Yancey turns the spotlight to extra-terrestrials whose apparent goal in life is to kill humanity slowly and painfully, just for fun. A story that depicts the raw nature of humanity, where every character--even little six-year-olds--are fearless, almost savage-like, warriors. Twisted, but somehow lovable through all the sharp humor and mystery muddled within the plot, The 5th Wave delivers a gripping message: Sometimes, the real monsters lie within us.
"Forget about flying saucers and little green men and giant mechanical spiders spitting out death rays. Forget about epic battles with tanks and fighter jets and the final victory of us scrappy, unbroken, intrepid humans over the bug-eyed swarm. That’s about as far from the truth as their dying planet was from our living one. The truth is, once they found us, we were toast."