The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
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.
I am completely fascinated with the “They Walk Among Us” genre. Probably because of an unhealthy obsession with Animorphs at a young age. Regardless, I was really excited when I found out what this book was about, and almost immediately went out to the bookstore and bought it. I knew it was a Young Adult novel, but I guess I didn’t really know what to expect. Certainly not what I got.
The 5th Wave is quite disturbing for a YA book. It’s very gory, probably to goriest YA book I’ve ever read. Not all people shooting each other, mind. It’s more that the sickness that spreads through the land is described pretty graphically. But it’s not really the blood and guts that makes it disturbing. It’s the very difficult themes. Cassie doesn’t know who to trust, and it turns her into a killer. Watching her trust and belief in humanity degenerate is hard. And the brainwashing of children to become killers was really disturbing to me too.
That aside, The 5th Wave was certainly the most fascinating YA action/adventure novel I’ve read in a long time. While I don’t know whether I would say I enjoyed it, it is brilliantly written. It was like watching a train-wreck, disturbing or not I just couldn’t look away. The end of the world was so realistically written, I couldn’t put it down.
The characters are flawlessly executed, both believable and dynamic. The plot unfolds at just the right pace, revealing bits of the secret at a time, never quite slow enough for you to see them coming, but not fast enough to feel like you’re racing either. The romance is a little hokey, but at least reflects the truth that you don’t always fall for the people you might expect. There is no doubt that I’m going to have to go read The Endless Sea.