By Kayla Whittle
Alien invasions. Families separated. An apocalyptic world. Hearing these descriptions might bring to mind any of the terrible (or terribly entertaining) sci-fi novels. Aliens just aren’t as scary as they once were to audiences. But “The 5th Wave,” is packed with enough action and suspense to scare even the most skeptical readers.
The hit young adult novel by Rick Yancy, “The 5th Wave” is the first in a trilogy about life on Earth after five waves of an alien invasion. The first wave takes out all technology — electricity, phones and cars included. The second wave sets off a tsunami that affects all continents. The third wave starts a plague and in the fourth wave, aliens arrive on Earth. But they don’t look like the kind of space monsters you might picture when you think of alien invasions. The aliens can look and act human — they could even be your best friend. No one can trust anyone else when they may secretly be an alien willing to betray and kill them.
“The 5th Wave” begins after most of this devastation, when humanity is struggling to regroup and survive long enough to understand what the invaders may try to throw at them next. As soon as the book begins, it never pauses for a breath. The main character Cassie spends the novel traveling through alien-occupied territory searching for her brother, Sammy. As the story unfolds, it is revealed that he was taken by the aliens for unknown purposes and more sinister pieces of the plot fall into place. Cassie needs to decide who can be trusted to help her reach her brother before it is too late.
The book is so intense that you’ll find yourself questioning every person and situation that comes up and it’s easy to see why all of the characters are so paranoid. You’ll identify with them as you navigate the plot twists and try to come out on top. It’s impossible to guess what could happen next — and there are two books that take place after this first installment. With great characters and a better plot to support them, anything is possible.
Recent plans to adapt the series into a film triology is a smart and sure-to-be successful idea. “The 5th Wave” reads like it could be a movie — the writing is so well-done that the characters and scenes, battles included, can easily be visualized. As with any young adult book-to-movie adaptation, it seems like it will be up to the support or denouncement of the fans to determine whether “The 5th Wave” will be a lasting phenomenon.