What do you do when there is no one left to trust? At least, no one human.
That is exactly what Cassie, a 16 year old girl and potentially the last human on Earth, must come to deal with in Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave.
The Earth has been destroyed by aliens. Not funny green men with three legs and who float. Something far more sinister. These aliens have sent waves of destruction upon humanity, wiping out their technology, their immunity and their will to survive. But not everyone is going down without a fight and Cassie keeps putting one foot in front of the other in order to find her little brother, Sam. He was taken by soldiers… but Cassie knows they are not soldiers. They are Others. Aliens infested within the humans. Nothing more than puppets.
So she can’t trust anyone.
An idea that is easy while she is on her own. But when she meets Evan Walker, Cassie knows all is not fair in love and war, and she has to learn whether to listen to her heart or her head. Meanwhile, Sam is alive…and being trained to become a ruthless soldier at the tender age of five. He is not alone; hundreds of children are in the same situation. Including Cassie’s lifelong school crush, Ben.
Do they have what it takes to survive the invasion when they can no longer be sure of anything, including who they are anymore?
The 5th Wave is a fantastic young adult fantasy book. Written in the first person narrative like many of that genre, Yancey does what other authors can’t seem to do. His narration is that of a sixteen year old, with the swearing and the angst and the anger. It sets it above other young adult novels due to the way it doesn’t patronise its audience, but instead tells the story in a more realistic way. Who wouldn’t swear when everything they have known has been blasted to pieces?
The plot is intriguing, the reader being left in as much doubt as the characters in regards to what is happening, despite having the fortune to follow both Cassie and Ben and so understand the wider picture a little more. The uncertainty keeps you reading, wanting to know which theory about the aliens is right and whether knowing the truth is going to be enough for them to come out of this alive. The notion that humanity might not quite be what it seems any longer instantly makes for a good story. The realistic nature of the narration creates likeable and relatable characters and you simply have to find out whether they are going to make it or not.
An engaging and thoroughly enjoyable book, a real page turner. There is something quite refreshing about reading a young adult’s book about aliens; it just works. A definite recommendation from here and I’m looking forward to seeing if the second book continues to the same high quality as this one.