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.
Earlier this year, I happened to meet the editor of Rick Yancey's The 5th Wave at the ALA Midwinter Meeting. I'm not exaggerating when I say that she accosted me, and forced The 5th Wave into my hands, despite my protests that I'm not really a science fiction reader and that I had major burnout on post-apocalyptic/dystopian novels.
She promised that this one was different, that this wasn't like those other books, that if I liked character-driven stories with lots of moral conundrums, I'd love this book (she clearly had my number on those counts). Then, because I was probably still looking doubtful, she told me that The 5th Wave was her favorite book she'd worked on. There was something that told me that this wasn't a line, that she she loved this book that much.
Just a few days later, my curiosity got the best of me and I cracked open The 5th Wave. Let's just say, I never bring print books with me, instead relying on my ereader or Kindle app to read on the go. However, my review copy of The 5th Wave went everywhere with me while I was reading it--it's simply that excellent.
The 5th Wave opens after aliens have invaded and attacked Earth. First, electricity was destroyed with an electromagnetic pulse; then the coasts were enveloped by rising seas; next, an Ebola-like plague wiped out much of the population; then, what were effectively alien sleeper cells were activated, and the few remaining humans can't trust anyone.
I know what you're thinking: Another post-apocalyptic novel?
The 5th Wave isn't just another post-apocalyptic novel. It's it's character-driven, it's complexly-plotted, it's frightening.
While The 5th Wave is written in multiple points-of-view, Cassie, the teen narrator of the largest chucks of the novel, is the character whose voice will likely receive the most attention. She's one of the few who's managed to stay alive during the invasion, but not without a high, high cost. She lost her mother to the third wave (the viral infection), her father in the fourth wave and her younger brother is now missing--Cassie is alone in the world, dodging snipers and making life and death decisions in order to survive.