The Fifth Wave, Book 1
Synopsis: 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.
Review: It had been ages since I had not read a good sci-fi book about aliens. I’ve read a lot of good reviews about this novel (which will be adapted into a movie soon) in the blogosphere both national and international. So when the opportunity to discover it was offered to me, I did not hesitate for a second and I really did well because this book is excellent. The 5th Wave is a YA novel but I think this book could also interest adult readers because of the hardness of some scenes and the maturity of the characters despite their young age.
The Earth has been invaded by aliens. Do not expect to find in this book little green or hideous creatures that arrive in their flying saucers and destroy everything in their path with laser beams! No, here the invasion was done in a more subtle way and nobody saw it coming. The majority of the human race has been decimated by four successive waves and the aliens do not intend to stop there. Indeed the fifth wave is near. Cassie, a sixteen-year-old teenager is one of the few survivors. Alone, she tries to survive somehow in this chaos by hiding in the woods. But one day, she decides to leave her camp and she finds herself seriously injured. Cassie is saved in extremis by a strange boy, Evan. Meanwhile another teenager, a boy nicknamed Zombie, is also trying to survive.
I must admit that at the beginning I had some difficulties to immerse myself into the story, mainly due to the flashbacks that occur when the heroine is in a very difficult situation. Indeed, in the first part of the novel (around the first 150 pages) the author through a big flashback explains what happened to Cassie before, during and after the first wave. So through Cassie’s point of view we discover how the invasion took place. This may seem very long at first but it’s absolutely necessary for the rest of the story. Once we reach the second section, the rhythm becomes more sustained and the story much more addictive. From there, it’s impossible for us to put this book down in spite of its 600 pages.
The main feature of this novel is the alternation of several narrators. I was quite surprised at first when I realized that Cassie was not the only narrator but I must admit that this multitude of point of view is a good thing. It helps to know the characters better and to like them. I also found that their psychology was well developed and each of them has managed to touch me in its way. I really liked Cassie. She is a brave girl, she is strong and she is a fighter. The promise she made to her little brother Sammy is what kept her alive until now and she is determined to honor it at all costs. She witnessed many atrocities. It was really sad to discover all the things she had to endure. Concerning the boys I adored Evan. He is my favorite character with Cassie and I loved the little moments they share together. Zombie also touched me but I found him less appealing than Evan. Zombie also had to endure terrible experiences that led him to do bad choices but he tries to redeem himself. As for Sammy and Ringer (the other girl in the story), I appreciate them too, especially Ringer for her strength and her lucidity.
The plot is masterfully led by Rick Yancey although the rhythm is a little bit slow. There is just a little something that bothered me however: the lack of unpredictability. Indeed we understand things quickly, long before the revelations come and it’s unfortunate. Rick Yancey details his post-apocalyptic world with a relentless and powerful precision. The first three waves that destroy practically the entire population of the planet are really terrible but the hardest passages are the descriptions of Camp Haven. Camp Haven made me think about the death camps of the Second World War and what happens inside is really chilling. I also enjoyed the idea of “intrusion” of aliens which is pretty original even though I found it complex. I’m not sure I understood everything about them but I hope that we’ll discover more things about these aliens in the next book and with this open ending now I’m curious to find out what happens in the sequel.