Saturday, June 22, 2013


I received a galley for Rick Yancey's The 5th Wave from my library's book supplier. I was skeptical because I'm kind of tired of the "other" in YA books-- vampires, werewolves, and in this case, aliens. I just want to read about some actual humans, you know? However, I was pretty gripped by this book from the start because of the plausibility of the writing. If we were to be set upon by aliens, I think this is how it would go down. Also, Yancey assumes a very high level of alien intelligence, which I think is unique. I will try not to reveal any spoilers, so read on...
There have been four "waves" since the Others arrived-- loss of electricity, destruction of the coastal areas, plague, and the few remaining humans being hunted. Still alive in the fifth wave, Cassie Sullivan, a sixteen-year-old girl, carries an M-16 and shoots at anything. After being wounded by a "Silencer"-- basically an alien sniper-- she's discovered by dreamboat Evan and wakes up in his family's farmhouse. He says he'll help her find her young brother at the military base she assumes he's been taken to.
In a dual narrative, we learn what is going on at the military base through Ben, a former classmate of Cassie's. He's ended up at the base, being trained to take out the rest of the alien force. Descriptions of training and warfare are grim in this book since the "recruits" are about age 5 and up. It isn't clear how these kids will take out the aliens, but they're the last best hope for humanity.
Since I said I didn't want to spoil the ending, I will just say this-- I don't consider myself a sci-fi fan, but this was a gripping read. There are a lot of grey areas about who is good or bad, right or wrong. There are surprises. I bought this for the library but it immediately went out and is now on the New York Times bestseller list. It does require a sufficient suspension of disbelief, and I do have some qualms about some characterizations (specifically Evan, who is just too pretty), but I recommend it. Get it at your library if it's available.

Ex libris,