I am not generally a fan of alien invasion books. In fact, I’m not a huge fan in general of sci-fi that involves aliens (with some notable exceptions). “The 5th Wave” is one of those exceptions, and perhaps it is in part due to the notable lack of aliens in the book. While it is indisputable that aliens have come to take over the earth, they remain safely ensconced in their ships, orbiting the earth, waiting for… what, we don’t know. They obviously have it out for the human inhabitants of earth, however. That much is clear. Wave after wave of destruction has been visited on earth, each aimed at killing off more humans.
Cassie, short for Cassiopeia (like the constellation), our 16 year old protagonist, has survived the first four waves, although not with her family intact. She made it through the first two waves — the electromagnetic pulse that knocked out all of the world’s devices that use electricity in any way (imagine cars crashing to a halt, planes falling out of the sky, the end of refrigeration) and the giant steel rods dropped from space that triggered every fault line on earth, obliterating the coastal cities and taking out the vast majority of the world’s 7 billion people. She was not so lucky in the third wave, an avian-borne flu that seemed designed not just to kill, but to do so in the most painful, awful, dehumanizing way possible, took her mother, but left her with her father and 5 year old brother sam. The fourth wave took both her father and her brother from her. Her father, permanently. When the humans who had been secretly implanted with alien consciousness years before (referred to as silencers) awakened and began murdering other humans, her father was among those murdered, right in front of the hiding Cassie. Her brother, along with all of the other children under the age of 14, was taken away by the alien-humans before this massacre, thinking they were being taken to safety.
Cassie, now alone, and possibly the last human on earth, has only one thing left to live for — saving her brother. That is, if the fifth wave doesn’t get them both first. But what will the 5th wave be? What new, horribly twisted way will the aliens think up to deprive the surviving humans of their life and even their humanity? You will have to read to find out.
And you will not regret it. This story is compelling, fast paced, and totally believable. You will live in this crazy new world with Cassie, and you will be disappointed when it ends. But not as disappointed as I was. Because unlike me and others who read this book when it first came out, you will now have the pleasure of immediately jumping into the sequel, “The Infinite Sea.” Enjoy!