|The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey|
May 7, 2013
Putnam Juvenile Publishing
Genre: Young Adult
(contains some mature language, violence)
Source: Audible personal purchase
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.
First, let me get this off my chest - I LOVED this book. Now, I am not generally an alien fan or sci-fi junkie. I don't follow conspiracy theories on space invaders or dream of space travel and visiting other planets. I'm also not a Doomsday Prepper with a basement full of supplies and ammunition to last my family a year and shoot any looters on sight. I don't dwell on worst case scenarios. But I do love a great book that pulls me into another place and time, even a scary alien invasion world, and won't let me go until I am completely immersed in it. The 5th Wave was that book for me.
From the very start I felt one with these characters. I felt one with their emotions, their story, their fears, their regrets, their confusion, their... everything. I loved the approach of this story. Starting with Cassie's present and past dialogue and perspective, I could completely imagine her circumstances. This wasn't some Independence Day alien invasion with a huge big booming battle. This wasn't Close Encounters of the Third Kind with the friendly mothership and musical aliens. This invasion was so low-key, so underground, so innocuous, that it was initially completely undetected until it was too late. Then it was completely out of control. And then you are left with the very real fact that you don't know what is real, what is the truth, who to trust... so you must trust no one. And that is the scariest of all. I could feel that fear and the real possibilities in this book. The author did an amazing job making me feel like this was actually plausible. I felt it so much that I had to put it down several times in the beginning because it was, quite simply, creeping me out. But then there were so many twists and turns, questions and theories, concerns and predictions - as well as very compelling characters - that eventually I couldn't put this book down.
Speaking of compelling characters, I also really enjoyed the alternating POVs throughout the book. I will say the downside of listening to this on audiobook was that I couldn't just flip back and refresh myself on who read what before and who was who before without skipping around a bunch. At one point I went to my local bookstore just to look at a copy and check a few names. But once I got it all handled, I thoroughly enjoyed the transitions and perspectives. I think if I read the physical book this might not have been as much of an issue, but I still thoroughly enjoyed the audio. But back to the characters - Cassie, Sammy, Ben, and Evan - I loved them all. There was such honesty amongst them that I found truly compelling. These weren't perfect "heroes" who did all the right things and made all the right choices. They weren't always brave. They didn't always make smart decisions. They were real and true and their imperfections made them perfect. But they didn't give up and I loved their tenacity.
Bottomline: This was a fantastic read for me and I absolutely loved it. I enjoyed the audio-version and the narration was great, using both a male and female narrator for the POV changes, who were really able to pull the emotions out of the story. The story felt real and honest, the plot kept me guessing and fully engaged, the characters were compelling and genuine, and the ending was fantastic, leaving us prepared for another book but not crying about a horrendous cliffhanger (hate those!). Thanks to Rick Yancey for giving this non-sci-fi reader a great sci-fi book to dive into!