“The 5th Wave,” by Rick Yancey is a thrilling alien-apocalypse tale told by multiple perspectives.
Here is the Goodreads summary:
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.
Sounds cool, right? That’s right! It is cool!
The writing was amazing. I didn’t realize that it would be written in different perspectives, so when it changed from Cassie to Ben I was like, “Wait, what?” Caught me off guard. But then when it changed to Sammy I knew right away it was him and was like, “Awwwww. I love you, Sams!” It was pretty impressive that Rick was able to be a narrator from four different points of view. Sammy’s POV was downright adorable and a little heartbreaking. (Especially the Pesky Ants.) And Ben! My has he changed from when he was high school’s popular boy. We get to see him go through the transition of boy to man. I liked the alternating perspectives even more so when I read Cassie’s parts because it felt like it was really coming from a girl’s mind. And Cassie was also wonderful to read. She’s a tough heroine trying to make it in this messed up world of hers. Her thoughts are so relatable and/or clever. Exhibit A: “It’s like a cockroach working up a plan to defeat the shoe on its way down to crush it.” I definitely smiled when she thought that. Exhibit B: “That’s one of my night thoughts. You know, the three-in-the-morning, oh-my-God-I’m-screwed thoughts. When I curl into a little ball, so scared I can’t close my eyes, drowning in fear so intense I have to remind myself to breathe, will my heart to keep beating. When my brain checks out and begins to skip like a scratched CD.” I get these “night thoughts” (though probably not as intense) creeping up on me all the time, but Rick/Cassie puts it in such great terms.
The story starts from the middle of the 4th Wave–Silencers–but readers want to know what happened during the first three waves. Well, we soon find out through some info-logue and flashbacks that are seamlessly tied in. Flashbacks of the 1st Wave give you insight into Cassie’s normal life before the aliens came. Wave 2 didn’t really affect her, but we learn of the disastrous effects of it. And Wave 3, the Pestilence, or as Sammy says, “Pesky Ants,” gets thrown at you through morbid and extremely sad flashbacks. Oh the feels.
So who is this Evan Walker? We do get a snippet of his perspective in the middle of the book. He’s definitely mysterious and had me going back and forth as to who he was. Rick had me doubting what kind of guy Evan was, but my gut instinct was right. Evan’s a pretty complex dude. I liked seeing Cassie react to him. She went from being all alone to getting the company of a very good-looking, protective guy.
If you’re into stories that encompass world apocalypse, dystopia, disasters, this book is for you. Step right up, boys and girls, and see what the world, what humanity, really becomes when the aliens strike.
Bonus: I attended Alachua County Headquarter Library’s annual Battle of the Books and Rick Yancey was the guest speaker! He gave a very funny and thoughtful speech, which I will try to transcribe soon for you. I feel very lucky that I was able to listen to him speak. And I still feel the excitement that came from meeting him to get my book signed!