Title: The 5th Wave
Author: Rick Yancey
Release Date: May 7, 2013
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile (Penguin imprint)
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 is on the run from Them, the beings who only
look human and roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have
scattered Earth’s last survivors. Cassie believes she will only stay alive if she stays alone, until she meets someone. This person may be Cassie's only hope for rescuing her brother Sam, or saving herself, but she has to choose between trust and despair, between
defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.
The 5th Wave is a rather powerful and dangerous book, a look at what could happen to Earth and it's inhabitants if aliens do come with motives not so peaceful and pure. The world is shattered, millions are dead. The future for those left alive and on the run is bleak, but there are glimmers of hope. Some are still alive, still surviving, still fighting, still pushing to take back what was ripped from their hands.
It must be said that the summary of the book is misleading. It's not just about Cassie. Cassie's voice is crucial, vital, prominent, but it's not the one one. There are others who tell different sides of the same overarching story, others with different perspectives, different motives, different journeys. Different realizations. Different lessons. All the same story.
The human condition is a curious thing. We push and strive to survive, to stay on top. We don't seem to die away or stay down for long. We will fight for as long as we can, pushing through barriers, moving forward when it appears that all hope is lost.
Cassie is strong, she has immense courage and drive, but she is, in some ways, weak. Her love for her family, for her brother, both drives her and holds her back. Everything is for Sammy, but only as long as he's alive. His being alive is what fuels her.
I wonder if I've done this book any justice with this review. It's dark and twisted and complicated, dripping with death and secrets and lies. It's a very volatile and powerful book. It's not about the aliens, it's about the humans, it's about those who are still alive who have the strength to carry on fighting. They still have hopes for a future that doesn't smell like blood or fire or death. This book is about getting up and moving on, continuing that hard journey, and that kind of story transcends genre and connects with every single reader on a lever they never expected.
(I acquired an advance copy of this title at ALA Midwinter.)