Thursday, January 14, 2016

The 5th Wave (Rick Yancey)

The 5th Wave
(The 5th Wave series, Book 1)
Rick Yancey
Fiction, YA Sci-Fi
**** (Good)

DESCRIPTION: When the aliens came, they didn't send robot ambassadors or bring magic technology or even land in conveniently combustible invasion machines. They just hung in orbit, a pale green eye over the world, utterly silent and inert. It was almost as though they had no interest in the blue planet below.
Until the First Wave.
In a series of devastating attacks, the Others take out over ninety percent of the human population in a matter of months. First they knocked out the electric grid and machinery with a simple electromagnetic pulse. Then they flooded the coasts, destroying the world's biggest, most powerful cities. Then came the plague... and, just as the survivors were crawling back, the Fourth Wave: sleeper agents, aliens in human bodies, hunting down their own kind. What will the Fifth Wave bring?
Cassie Sullivan used to be a normal high school girl, worried about grades and whether she'd ever work up the nerve to talk to her crush, sports star Ben. Now she's the last human on Earth, or may as well be. There's no way to tell friend from foe, and the last time she thought she and her family were saved, she watched that salvation steal her brother and shoot her father dead in cold blood. It's only a matter of time before she's too slow with her stolen guns, or runs out of water, or succumbs to exposure. She might just get it over with herself - but for one last promise.
Cassie may have done many things she never thought herself capable of - scavenging, surviving alone in the woods, even killing - but one thing she won't ever do is abandon Sammy... even if rescuing him is the last thing she, or any human, ever does.

REVIEW: Reading like The Hunger Games crossed with the later books in the Animorphs series, with a touch of The X-Files and general apocalyptic grit, despair, and paranoia for seasoning, The 5th Wave grabbed me fast and didn't let go until the end. Cassie's not perfect, clearly scarred by her experiences, and the people she pulls the trigger on aren't always aliens; indeed, every character in the book has killed at least one other being by the end, even children as young as five or six. Still, she refuses to give up, even in the face of seemingly-certain doom. Meanwhile, Ben finds himself at Camp Haven, on the grounds of a military base that managed to survive the four waves. Here, he and fellow survivors are being trained to take the fight to the Others, a glimpse into how child soldiers are indoctrinated in the face of utter devastation and the breakdown of civilization. It's not a bloodless process, to say the least. As Cassie struggles to keep her promise and determine whom to trust (tested sorely when she finds herself in the company of the stranger Evan), Ben pushes to prove himself worthy of avenging his family - a family he blames himself for losing. But the truth, for both Cassie and Ben, has some dark twists in store... If you look too close, there are some logic flaws in the alien invasion plan, and of course luck has a way of being on the heroes' side (after nearly deserting them), but that's true of many such stories. Ultimately, I found it an enjoyable, intense read. Now I'll have to track down the second book... and the third.

You Might Also Enjoy:
The Animorphs series (K. A. Applegate) - My Review
The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins) - My Review
Life As We Knew It (Susan Beth Pfeffer) - My Review

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