“We’re here, and then we’re gone, and it’s not about the time we’re here, but what we do with the time.” ― Rick Yancey, The 5th Wave
The Fifth Wave is a young adult sci-fi/dystopian book about aliens called 'The Others' taking over the world. On paper, totally NOT my kind of book, however once I picked it up I found it hard to put down.
The plot follows multiple characters; Cassie, the 16 year old sassy heroine, Sammy, her 5 year old brother, Ben (Cassie’s high school crush) and Evan (older, mysterious guy) and details how they cope with the changing world under invasion by The Others.
The alien take over of the world comes in ‘waves’, the First Wave involves The Others releasing an EMP which causes major electric failure across the world, the Second Wave wipes out three billion people by causing multiple tsunamis, the Third Wave brings a plague. After the 3rd wave, the remaining human population tries to survive off whatever resources remain by looting, and hunting, hoping that the "the people in charge" are working toward a solution. This belief seems legitimate when a battalion of soldiers arrives at the makeshift camp where Cassie, Sam, and her father are staying. The soldiers however, only take the children before herding all the adults into the camp barracks where they are massacred. Cassie, however, escapes. To stay alone is to stay alive, is Cassie's new motto until she meets Evan Walker who helps to rescue her and go back and rescue her little brother. Ben, meanwhile contracts the plague after the 3rd Wave but is "rescued" by soldiers who take him to Camp Haven. There, he becomes leader of a child solider group and is re-named Zombie. Zombie soon discovers the "soldiers" are actually aliens in disguise and he and his squad need to survive at all costs.
Although aimed at young adults, I thought the book (mainly) avoided becoming cheesy or clichéd and Yancey did have some good nuggets of adult wisdom interspersed throughout the book. The theme is similar to many other young adult novels such as Hunger Games, Maze Runner, but the book is well written (infinitely better than Twilight) and the characters are likeable and well developed. Cassie’s humour and determination in particular makes the book an easy read.