by Rick Yancey
Series: Fifth Wave #1
Published by: Penguin
The Passage meets Ender’s Game in an epic new series from award-winning author Rick Yancey. 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
When I read the synopsis and saw “The Passage meets Ender’s Game” I knew I had to read Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave. I am not familiar with Ender’s Game but I am a huge fan of Cronin’s epic novel The Passage. This was an outstanding dystopian that gave me chills with characters I couldn’t help but root for. At almost five hundred pages I quickly consumed this as I slipped into Yancey’s world. Three-word review: epic, believable, genius.
The prologue set in 1995, gave me chills and immediately drew me into the story. Fast forward to present day when the planet is attacked. Through Cassie, we get an account of the events that occurred leading up to the 5th Wave and here our journey with Cassie begins. When her little brother is separated from her she vows to find him. To survive she trust no one that is until she meets Evan Walker. To fulfill her promise, she may just need to take a chance and the tale that unfolds left me breathless.
I love mankind’s ability to lift ourselves up and survive when all seems lost. Granted not everyone does that. Some close their doors and wait for the end, others end it themselves. Then there are those who find a purpose and continue despite the odds and these are the characters that Yancey brings to life. Cassie is a strong character and her voice rang true throughout the novel. She is a fighter, even when she wants to crumble and hide. She isn’t a skilled survivalist, and heck she can’t even shoot, but she promised her brother she would come and with a little luck and kick-ass persistence she sets out to find him. Along the way, she faces conflict and characters who make her question her own rules. We see growth in her throughout the novel and I would be honored to call Cassie my friend. From the squad team at Camp Haven to the boy at the first base camp, Cassie encounters the other characters and perspectives are fleshed–out. Even the briefest of characters have their own distinct voices. There is a romance, and the possibility of a triangle but these do not take center stage and only deepen our understanding of the characters.
Told from multiple perspectives with outstanding, original world building I could not put this novel down. Yancey is an impressive storyteller and his weaving of events seemed so plausible it gave me chills. It blurred the line between fiction and reality. The pacing was perfect and the author gave me a panoramic view of the world through his characters. I didn’t feel rushed nor did I feel we struggled. The details and world description flowed effortlessly from his pen to the pages and allowed me to completely immerse myself. His characters are strong, complex and believable. I found myself rooting for each of them. Yancey brings this tale alive on so many levels from the intense understanding and powerful emotions we feel for Cassie and her family to the horror of what is happening to our world. The waves that occurred are brilliant and the perfect roadmap for anyone looking to destroy Earth’s inhabitants. Trust, being alone, survival and humanity are all questions raised throughout the novel. Yancey even forces us to see the alien’s position. The tale can be dark and depressing at times but humanities will survive uplifts you and compels you to read on. This novel positively blew me away. I could not put it down nor could I stop thinking about it and talking about it. It’s a book whose details you will remember a year from now. It’s one that will pop up every time you recommend a book. I lived it, consumed it and still, I want more.
The 5th Wave is an outstanding dystopian tales that will quickly distinguish itself from this flooded genre. Yancey has created a world and characters that I will want to visit again and again. This tale can be enjoyed by everyone from teens to adults and has excellent cross-over appeal for science-fiction lovers.
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