I read a little of everything. From YA to Romance to Classic Science Fiction to Fantasy and all the good stuff in between. But the bulk of my reading lately has been in the Young Adult genre. I didn’t realize how much YA I read until listing the books I would review for this site. And quite possibly THE BEST YA I’ve read in a LONG time is The Fifth Wave.
I’ve tried my best to shout praise for this book to the masses, but people often look at me like I have three heads when I say it’s a YA dystopian/scifi novel about an alien invasion. I might as well have said it was a paranormal YA novel about sparkly vampires. Most people roll their eyes and I want to shake them until they GET IT. But they won’t get it. Not until they read this book.
This isn’t a story about green creatures from another planet. Think Ender’s Game meets Walking Dead (minus the Zombies) meets Invasion of the Body Snatchers meets War of the Worlds. Yeah. THAT.
I edit books. I write books. So, naturally, I tend to dissect them down to their most fundamental aspects, which can really screw with how a book comes across. It might sag in the middle, it might lack internal conflict, or the writing is just eh. The major plot points might be weak or missing for that matter, or characters may not be fully developed. In the case of The Fifth Wave, I can tell you this: This book is a TOOL for writers everywhere. My inner editor was gagged and duck taped to a chair in some dark corner of my mind through the entire read and Rick Yancey was teaching me one hell of a lesson.
I was in awe as I read brilliant examples of thematic significance and experienced the deft way Yancey manipulates narrative and exposition. POV’s shift through multiple characters without a pattern, a typical no-no in Writer Land, but Yancey NAILS it. Tense changes? Yep. And he makes them seamless.
From a reader standpoint, I was on the edge of my seat throughout the read. Chapter 4, guys. At that point, you couldn’t have ripped the book from my fingers without a fight. It was a plausible premise that I bought into from page one. My disbelief in aliens was suspended long enough to get me completely absorbed in the story, because Yancey built such a solid world I could sink in to and experience.
SO here’s the lowdown (and I’ll be vague for non-spoilery purposes):
The Others attacked the world in waves. The first wave used an electromagnetic pulse to wipe out electricity. The second brought a tsunami that demolished coastlines around the world. The third diminished what was left of the world population by 99% using an avian virus. The fourth wave consisted of The Others hiding where no one would look: in humans. The Fifth Wave? You have to read the book to find out!
Cassie Sullivan survived. But not without devastating loss. Still, she’s one of the strongest female characters I’ve read in some time. She’s hardcore. She trusts no one. Her M16 is her baby. She takes whatever means necessary to survive. Her experience during the waves altered her and we see that boldly in the first chapters. Cassie is on a mission to find her little brother and nothing will stop her.
Is there a love triangle? Well, sort-of-not-really. (EVAN…sigh…) I’m sure it will be explored in the sequel, The Infinite Sea. (Which I’m DYING for.) AND! There’s gonna be a movie. Casting is taking place now. I can’t tell you how excited that makes me. You know you want to get in on the book before the movie comes out, right? *winky face*
But for me, being the writer and deeply analytical human that I am, the questions The Fifth Wave asks are as addicting as the story. Yancey makes you think and there is little better a writer can do for a reader. A book that resonates is remembered.
Here’s a quote, because I adore quotes, and you can expect them in my reviews always 🙂
But if I’m it, the last of my kind, the last page of human history, like hell I’m going to let the story end this way. I may be the last one, but I am the one still standing. I am the one turning to face the faceless hunter in the woods on an abandoned highway. I am the one not running but facing. Because if I am the last one, then I am humanity. And if this is humanity’s last war, then I am the battlefield. -Cassie for Cassiopeia
Yancey is my man. He has previous series I plan on inhaling, so maybe you’ll see a review of those here, too!
From my bookshelf to yours,
blurb from goodreads:
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.