Author: Rick Yancey
Narrators: Brandon Espinoza, Phoebe Strole
Series: The 5th Wave, book #1
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Publication Date: May 7, 2013
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
“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.” -- Stephen Hawking
This is how The 5th Wave opens, with a quote from Stephen Hawking foreshadowing things to come, and immediately, you know that this is not going to be a light story with cute little green aliens as the antagonists. The main character tells us as much in her opening chapter.
-------------THE 1ST WAVE: Lights Out
-------------------THE 2ND WAVE: Surf's Up
-------------------------THE 3RD WAVE: Pestilence
-------------------------------THE 4TH WAVE: Silencer
This begs the question: what will the 5th wave bring? At the end of the 4th wave, the only thing Cassie knows is trust no one. And that one rule has helped her survive the aftermath of the alien invasion up until this point. She may have lost everyone she's ever cared about, but she's surviving.
“But if I'm it, the last of my kind, the last page of human history, like hell I'm going to let the story end this way. I may be the last one, but I am the one still standing. I am the one turning to face the faceless hunter in the woods on an abandoned highway. I am the one not running but facing. Because if I am the last one, then I am humanity. And if this is humanity's last war, then I am the battlefield.”I connected most with Cassie's character. She isn't super strong, she doesn't have amazing accuracy with a bow and arrow...she's not special in any way. Cassie is just an average girl, trying to keep going when all seems lost. She made a promise, and she's not about to break it. That will to live, that strength of character, that's what I loved best about her. The other characters didn't endear themselves to me as much, obviously, but I appreciated their points-of-view and what they brought to the story. At times, the transitions in perspective did get a tad confusing, and it wasn't immediately apparent why it was necessary to include the perspective of Cassie's five-year-old brother Sammy -- especially when his inner thoughts didn't always measure up to what one might expect from someone so young -- but much more time was spent with Cassie than any other character, making it easier for me to wrap my head around the bigger picture here.
Also, the fact that there were two narrators for this audiobook helped a great deal in lessening the confusion during POV switches. The narrative voice of Cassie was, well, phenomenal, and Phoebe Strole nailed it. She voiced Cassie's hopes and concerns with the intensity that one would expect from this situation, as if she herself were living this nightmare. And Brandon Espinoza didn't do such a bad job either. He had several characters to lend his voice to, and he managed to make each one stand out. Even the Silencer. (Yes, you get to read from an alien's perspective for all of about ten pages...but it's worth it. Trust me.) I truly hope both of these narrators return for the sequel's audiobook.
“There's an old saying about truth setting you free. Don't buy it. Sometimes the truth slams the cell door shut and throws a thousand bolts.”Cassie faces many challenges on her quest to keep her promise. But the other characters in this story face no less hardship. Possibly the most difficult challenge any of them faces is who to trust. The dynamic that develops between the different characters as their paths are set to converge is believable, if nothing else. Both Ben and Evan are great male leads -- though, neither holds a candle to that Cassie -- but the romance that develops was a little...unsettling. At first. It goes back to that whole trust no one mantra Cassie repeats to herself for most of the book. I like where it's going, though. But this is not a love story...it's an alien invasion story, and Mr. Yancey won't let you forget it.
“It's an either/or world now.”The 5th Wave is very action-driven, and it keeps you guessing. Sure, some of the twists are easy to predict, but because of how they're written and how they're alluded to, it didn't bother me. In fact, it just made me want to sit in the car and continue listening, to see if I was right and see how those twists affected the story and the characters. This book is intense and riveting -- a real page-turner -- and I expect to see an even more explosive continuation of this story line, come August 2014. This was my first Rick Yancey novel, but it will absolutely, positively not be my last.
“Some things you can never leave behind. They don't belong to the past. They belong to you.”