The Fifth Wave, by Rick Yancey, takes readers into a dystopian future where aliens have invaded Earth. There have been four previous waves by aliens in attempt to wipe out the human race. The first wave strikes ten days after the aliens, The Others, arrived, with a concentrated global electromagnetic pulse that destroyed all electrics and knocked the world back into a Stone Age. In the second wave, the Others dropped a huge metal slab into a geological fault line, releasing a tsunami that drowned the world’s coastlines. The third wave hit with a plague known as the Red Death, in which victims literally bleed out. The fourth wave consisted of a group of previously-infested human being (aliens embedded in the consciousness of humans) who are to kill the remaining human population. The fifth wave is about to begin. No one knows what it will bring, but it is coming.
The novel follows the story of Cassie who has witnessed the death of her parents and the capture of her younger brother, Sammy, during the fourth wave. Cassie navigates the deserted country trying to find the military base that her brother has been taken to. Ben Parish, Cassie’s high school crush, just happens to be in the same squadron as Cassie’s brother. Ben is haunted by the memory of abandoning his little sister. The military base is training children, ages five to eighteen, in alien destruction. Cassie encounters Evan Walker who is a handsome, mysterious farm boy who is just a little nit too perfect. Evan seems to care for Cassie as he nurses her back to health after shooting her in the leg. The fifth wave is about to begin. Will Cassie ever be reunited with Sammy? Can Cassie and Ben stop the fifth wave from happening? Can they keep the human race from going extinct?
I loved that the novel’s principle narrator, Cassie, was easy to relate to. She didn’t have any special skills before the invasion. She was just a normal teenage girl. Cassie has to teach herself how to survive in the wild. Cassie is not just a heroine. She has her moments of weakness and makes rash decisions sometimes. She fights for what she believes in and is transformed throughout the novel into a prodigious protagonist. Almost the entire novel no one knows who to trust and this made me compelled to read. Each of the characters has so much to loose, yet they fight in the face adversity and unimaginable tragedy. Courage and bravery are shown in the face of horror and devastation. The Fifth Wave shows that every person matters. The book has a brilliant pace and storyline that left me never knowing when to stop because a new dramatic event would unfold in each chapter.
My only complaint is that sometimes it was a bit difficult to identify who was narrating the novel. Yancey tells the story through four different perspectives. At times the novel gets confusing because the backgrounds of each of the characters is very different. It was also confusing because the lengths of each character’s points of view during the novel were wildly different. There might be one chapter with a character such as Ringer, but then there would be ten chapters with Cassie. There are not that many overlapping themes of the book due to all the changes in perspectives. The themes that do come up are intriguing.What separates human nature and alien nature? What does it mean to be human? The one thing that I did enjoy about the different perspectives is that it helped me get a wider knowledge about the backgrounds of each character and how they felt about the different events that unfolded during the novel.
I would definitely recommend The Fifth Wave. Although it was confusing at times, the plot of the book is truly amazing. Every page compelled me to keep reading. It has four strong leads that narrate the novel and are easily relatable. It is a dark, complicated, and at times violent novel but it never looses sight of hope and humanity. Anyone who loves action-packed books with a hint of romance and science fiction would definitely enjoy this read.
The novel is left with a cliffhanger at the end. I know I will definitely be reading the sequel, The Infinite Sea, soon to find out what happens next. Rick Yancey has said that a third novel will be published and I am looking forward to reading that as well. The Fifth Wave is becoming a movie and will be out in January 2016. I think that the book will be an excellent movie since the different point of views will not be nearly as confusing. The Fifth Wave definitely has huge potential to be the next Harry Potter or The Hunger Games. This post-apocalyptic novel is definitely one to read.


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