Author: Rick Yancey
Series: The 5th Wave, #1
When the Others arrived, humanity was utterly unprepared. It was pathetic to think the human race ever stood a chance against a smarter, stronger, and far superior race. The 1st Wave left us in darkness, the 2nd caused a natural disaster that wiped out millions, the 3rd infected and killed nearly everyone else. Now only a mere remnant of humanity is left.
Cassie Sullivan watched both her parents die and the only family she has left, her little brother Sammy, has been taken away by a convey of soldiers who’ve promised to protect him and the other children who have survived. When the 4th Wave begins, Cassie finds herself all alone and hunted by Silencers. The Silencers are smart, they’re merciless, and they look just like us. The 4th Wave has isolated Cassie from any other survivors and all she can do is run. But Cassie cannot outrun the Silencer who is hunting her and just when she believes death is imminent, the stranger Evan Walker saves her. Cassie can’t trust anyone, even Evan, but she might have to in order to find her brother. What she doesn’t realize is the 5th Wave will be even more merciless than the ones before it.
“Forget about flying saucers and little green men and giant mechanical spiders spitting out death rays. Forget about epic battles with tanks and fighter jets and the final victory of us scrappy, unbroken, intrepid humans over the bug-eyed swarm. That’s about as far from the truth as their dying planet was from our living one.
The truth is, once they found us, we were toast.”
Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave is one of those books that is just as good the second time around. The second book in this series, The Infinite Sea, is being released today, so I wanted to revisit this first book. Our protagonist, Cassie, is one of the strongest female characters I’ve ever come across. She’s this fearless, determined girl who will do anything to keep the promise she made to her little brother. She’s lost everything and still she pushes forward despite those moments of doubt and hopelessness.
I love Evan Walker. My heart swells at the thought of this lost, puppy-dog eyed boy. Whatever humanity Evan might have lost during this war with the Others, he gains back through his relationship with Cassie. He clings to her because he knows she is his last refuge, his anchor, and his mayfly. Ben Parish is another character I was immediately drawn to. He’s this charming, reluctant leader who is haunted by a horrible choice he made when the world was falling apart, but grows as a character and proves to be a better person when given another chance. I’m also a huge fan of Ringer, who we aren’t introduced to until later in the book. If I’m ever in a fight for my life, I want this girl on my team.
Every character in The 5th Wave is desperate to hang on to their sanity and their humanity in a world that tells them that being human is a liability. Life has become one of survival, you do what you have to do, you show no mercy. But at every turn it isn’t this ruthlessness that shines through, it’s a person’s humanity. It’s the human race’s capacity to love and sacrifice, to know that there is something worth dying for that separates it from the alien race bent on destroying it. The enemy is smart, ferocious, and inescapable. I’m not sure if humanity will ever win this fight, but I am eager to find out what happens next.
The 5th Wave is a smart, action-packed, emotionally moving read. It balances story and character remarkably well and I literally have nothing bad to say about it. This is the second time I’ve read this book and I found it to be even more thrilling and heart-pounding than the first time.