I may or may not have written about this before, but I absolutely love books with distrustful narrators. I love being so suspicious that I feel like I’m always on the edge of my seat waiting for more information and/or the other shoe to drop.
To that end, I just finished re-reading Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave. I did this partially in preparation for the movie coming out next month and also because I recently bought the sequel, but couldn’t remember any of the details when I went to actually read it. (Side effect of reading so many other books in the interim, I guess.) Well anyways, the sum total of my review for The 5th Wave could be summed up in three words:
Trust no one.
The entire world is in chaos. An alien race has finally come to earth, but instead of friendly ETs, these Others are hellbent on destroying the human race. The only caveat? It must be done with as little damage to the actual planet as possible.
The first wave was a massive electromagnetic pulse or EMP. Relatively few people died, just half a million or so, but all vehicles abruptly shorted out, including planes in mid-flight. Communications went down, generators were knocked out, and emergency services went permanently offline. Welcome back to the 1800s, world.
The second wave targeted the coasts. If 40% of humans lived within 60 miles of a coastline, how better to eliminate them than with a tsunami? Just drop an enormous rod from the outer atmosphere right onto a fault line and the resulting earthquake will do your job for you. Death count? Three billion.
The third wave might have been expected. Biological warfare is a tale as old as time. However, this well engineered Ebola-like virus took out 97% of any remaining survivors in the span of a few months. Cities began to clog with infected corpses and people fled for refugee camps in the country.
Human instinct is to clump together in times of crisis, but where do you go if you can’t trust that your fellow refugees are actually human? The fourth wave brought the Silencers, human hosts with alien consciousness. The only way to stay completely safe? Isolation. But isolation makes humans weak, makes them vulnerable, and makes them easy to track down and kill. It disheartens them, undermines any remaining will they have to survive; they’re not meant to be alone. The Silencers take out all but the very strongest willed.
But the war isn’t over yet. The fifth wave is yet to come and our main narrators are right in the thick of it.
The book is narrated from the third person, and though it is primarily told from the viewpoint of Cassie Sullivan and Ben Parish, it does occasionally jump around into other characters. But the whole time you’re reading it, you’re never sure if you can trust the information any particular narrator has at any given point. Information is so scattered between the different pockets of humans and often times Cassie and Ben won’t realize what’s happening until they’re fighting the problem head on. And that’s what makes it such an exciting and fast paced read! You never feel like they know more than you do. If anything, you’re watching this all unravel as if you were one of the Others, an outsider holding all the cards while the inevitable plays out.
I loved this book just as much during my reread as I did the first go through and I’m very excited to read the sequel. A solid thumbs up and a five star recommendation from me.
Have you read The 5th Wave? Are you excited for the movie? Let me know in the comments down below!