First in a trilogy
By Rick Yancey
Available now from Putnam Juvenile
Sometimes the best books are the hardest to talk about. I mean, I could go on for paragraphs about the structure of THE 5TH WAVE. The book jumps from narrator to narrator. The first hundred pages are spent with Cassie - short for Cassiopeia - and the book leaves her head as soon as she's in mortal danger. Point of view is used to obscure who is an alien, a human, or if there's a difference.
I could talk about how there is a girl with two male love interests (sorta) and a boy with two female love interests (sorta) but none of that matters compared to how much the girl and boy love a little kid and want to protect him even when there's nothing left in the world but survival and saving the kid could mean dying.
I could talk about how this is top notch, classic horror science fiction, told beautifully. That the book itself explores how literature, how we write and read and how that affects us, makes us human. It's a binding experience. How I see little touches of War of the Worlds and other classic "the aliens are here and they're gonna kill us" stories but that THE 5TH WAVE is so absorbing because it does it's own thing. Sure, each of the waves are familiar, but combined they create the effect of a new invasion. This invasion is as intimate as the Yeerks in the Animorphs and as impersonal as the Death Star firing on Alderaan.
Mostly, I think I could talk about how I need a sequel. I don't know if there is going to be a sequel, I haven't checked, and the book certainly ends in a place that could be the end . . . but I want more. Those who survive may not know it, but there is so much left in their world. (Sorry for that awkward phrasing but I'm not giving away who lives and who dies!) (And a little research tells me it will be a trilogy - hooray! Ignore everything I've ever said about wanting more standalone novels.)
I'm writing this review in February. THE 5TH WAVE comes out in May and Penguin has already started some serious publicity efforts. I'm sure by the time the book comes out and I post this review on my blog there will be a huge build-up of hype and backlash to that hype. So just try to ignore all the hype, block out a few quiet hours for yourself, and read THE 5TH WAVE. I know, you're saying it's nearly five hundred pages long and you're going to need more than a few hours, but this puppy flew by. Mostly because I couldn't stop until I knew what happened.