Review

The 5th Wave

by Rick Yancey

The 1st Wave: Lights Out

        The 2nd Wave: Surf’s Up

   The 3rd Wave: Pestilence

          The 4th Wave: Silencer

When the mother ship first appeared in the sky, thoughts were confirmed that humans aren’t alone in the universe. After nothing immediately happened, most people took it as a good sign that peaceful contact could be made. News channels exhausted their efforts to make sense of the arrival while viral videos sprung up poking fun at who these “aliens” could be. Most people went on with their lives. Then the first wave hit and turned off all the power. The second wave effectively wiped out the largely populated cities on the world’s coasts. The entire world’s population was nearly wiped out through a mysterious plague in the third wave, and the remaining survivors are now slowly being picked off one by one in the fourth.

"To be honest, an alien invasion isn’t high on the list of things that keep me up at night. I’ve seen enough Hollywood movies to know that there is no way the aliens can win. After reading THE 5TH WAVE, I’m not so sure anymore."

Now, hope is as fleeting as the last humans on earth, and for Cassie, short for Cassiopeia, that means that no one can be trusted. Cassie used to spend her time longing after Ben Parish, a boy who didn’t even know who she was. After watching her mother succumb to the plague, her father killed in a semi sonic blast and her brother kidnapped by the aliens, Cassie has long forgotten about Ben Parish. Her focus now is survival --- survival as potentially the last human on earth and the survival of her brother, Sammy, who she swore to find and rescue.

Ben Parish didn’t know who Cassie was, and it didn’t matter. He was confident he was dead anyway. The plague had taken hold, and with a one in 10 survival rate, the odds were stacked against him. Yet somehow, he was spared and suddenly his life took on new importance. Recruited into what could be the last working military base, Ben is now training to fight back. Stripped of his identity and will, Ben has now become the Zombie, a soldier created specifically to hunt down and kill the aliens who have infested earth. Humanity’s last hope rests on his shoulders.

Singular in their focus, both Cassie and Ben have decided it is time to fight. The first four waves may have tried to snuff out the will to live, but you can never underestimate the human spirit. The 5th wave is coming, though, and no one is prepared for what happens next.  

As the Stephen Hawking quote at the beginning of the book reminds us: “If Aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans.” To be honest, an alien invasion isn’t high on the list of things that keep me up at night. I’ve seen enough Hollywood movies to know that there is no way the aliens can win. After reading THE 5TH WAVE, I’m not so sure anymore. Each wave author Rick Yancey introduces is more devastating than the next, and the 5th wave may be the most terrifying and realistic of them all. I don’t want to spoil anything, though, and if you’ve been paying any attention to new books coming for the summer, then you know this book has been hyped up all over the place as being shocking, terrifying, heartwarming and the next big thing. I’ll just say one thing: Believe the hype.

Reviewed by Benjamin Boche on May 10, 2013

The 5th Wave
by Rick Yancey