THE 5TH WAVE by Rick Yancey

The 5th Wave
The 5th Wave

Rick Yancey’s THE 5TH WAVE
Release Date: May 7, 2013
Review By: Daniel Boucher

From the cover:

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.

Ok, I’m a sucker for a good alien story. If it’s about an alien invasion, then even better. I love to read books and watch movies about alien invasions–it’s a personal favorite.

(Side note: that’s also why FALLING SKIES never connected with me. It skipped the most thrilling piece: the invasion (sorry Doug J. if you happen to read this :)))

With SyFy’s recent mini-series of Arthur C. Clarke’s CHILDHOOD’S END and the upcoming reboot of THE X-FILES, I’ve found myself longing for these types of stories all over again.

Surprisingly, or maybe not so surprisingly, there are a vast amount of alien invasion novels out there. Having said that, very few have managed to be more than a throwaway read for me. For every Childhood’s End, Lucifer’s Hammer or War of the Worlds, there are mountains of post apocalyptic crap that lack the simplest of ingredients, like character development–well, that or me actually giving a shit about their warmed-over, regurgitation of a tired story.

(man I’m resisting the urge to name titles here, but so much effort goes into writing a novel–even a crappy one–that I can’t do it!)

Fortunately, character development is something that Yancey scores high marks on in THE 5th WAVE.

Okay, okay, so before you start in on me: Yes. I am well aware that we’re back to yet another #TeamPickABoy that the Twilight novels thrived on. I get it. It bugged me in Twilight, and it bugs me here, but the difference between The 5th Wave and the afore mentioned sparkly mess is that I actually cared for Cassie and her brother Sam. I found myself worried when Sam rode off in the bus with the other kids as Cassie watched on with uncertainty. It’s a tough scene that dares to invoke a deeper emotion than the which boy do I choose? theme that plagues the many YA books that haunt the bargain bins at your local bookstore.

Required YA teenage-love-triangle aside, Yancey pulls off a terrific story of a sister’s determination to reach her brother set against the backdrop of an invasion. Think Red Dawn with aliens. His take on the “alien” is fantastic and adds a rather complex and interesting angle to the whole us-vs-them thing that’s not typical of a YA read. Kudos to him.

Here’s the long of the short: THE 5th WAVE is worth your time. Give it a read.

And yes, I’ve read the follow-up to it, THE INFINITE SEA. I won’t go into detail here, but it did leave me confused and I’ve reached out to Rick in hopes to have some clarity in time for my review.

Anyway, the film releases this Friday. I’m looking forward to it. It’ll be interesting to see Blakeson’s take on Yancey’s work and I’ll be sure to add my thoughts on the movie after I’ve seen it.

At the time of this writing the critics over to Rotten Tomatoes have been quick to dismiss the movie, but–and I can’t say this enough–don’t let that stop you from reading the novel.

THE 5TH WAVE Opens in Theaters January 22, 2016

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