Series: The 5th Wave #1
Published by Putnam Juvenile on 5/7/2013
Genres: Fantasy, Science-fiction, Young Adult
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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.
As soon as I saw The 5th Wave described as “The Passage meets Ender’s Game”, I knew that I absolutely had to read it. While I wouldn’t place it in the same epic category as The Passage, it definitely did not disappoint! The story begins five months after aliens have made themselves known on Earth. But don’t worry – these aren’t your typical little green men, and they definitely did not come in peace. After the 4th wave of their invasion, most of the people on Earth are dead. The best way to survive is to stay alone and trust no one. Or at least that’s what Cassie believes, after she has lost everyone and everything. This is where the story starts, and I really liked that I was thrust straight into the middle of the story, instead of being given a slow build-up.
Cassie is an average teenager, placed in some very extraordinary circumstances. There is certainly no shortage of YA novels with that premise right now, but this book goes way beyond that. There are intersecting story lines told from the perspective of different characters, although I will not say who these characters are, because I don’t want to spoil anything. I enjoyed the different points of view, and thought that they definitely added to the overall plot development, and gave depth to the story and the characters. The story moves quickly and there are a few twists and turns along the way. Some of them I saw coming, but a couple managed to surprise me. The action was very well written – there were times when I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. How can you NOT get sucked in when it’s cool alien technology vs. the relatable underdog?!
Part of what makes this story so good is that it feels so real. If “Others” did invade our world, this is a very logical way that they would do it. Not only are these aliens totally bent on destroying humanity, but they are extremely cunning – hence their patience to not just wipe everyone out, but to use “waves”, and to ultimately isolate and turn humans against one another. Some of their tricks are just creepy, and I wanted to shout at the characters as they were obviously entering a situation that was going to turn very bad very, very quickly. The characters also felt very real – their motivations, reactions, and emotions felt genuine, and I liked that Cassie never seemed to lose her sarcasm and humor, despite that the world was literally falling apart around her.
I am giving this book 4 stars – likeable characters, suspenseful action scenes, some heartbreaking moments, and an ending that left me wanting more. This is book #1 in a series, and I will be anxiously waiting for the next installment!