I used to watch A LOT of science fiction with my dad when I was a kid, but for some reason I’m only now recognizing and embracing my love for literary sci-fi. There are a few science fiction “classics” that I still have a hard time with (Dune is just never going to happen for me), but I can certainly get behind pretty much anything to do with dystopian fic. I’ve already reviewed a few of the dystopian novels that I have recently enjoyed, like Partials and The Postmortal, and The 5th Wave (2013) is another great read.
In Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave, aliens have visited the Earth with four waves of devastation that have reduced the global population to almost nothing. After an unprecedented attack on her camp by the Others, looking just like everyone else, Cassie learns that it’s not safe to trust anyone. She survives in the wilderness, alone, carrying mementos from her past, until she breaks one of her own rules to save the only person she has left to fight for. Cassie realizes she can no longer afford to hide away from what’s left of the world, because the fifth wave isn’t just coming; it’s already here.
Of everything that I’ve read in the last little while, Cassie probably reminds me the most of Katniss Everdeen. She’s tough when she has to be, sensitive when she thinks no one’s looking, and frighteningly self-reliant. That’s not to say that this book reminded me in any other way of The Hunger Games. I find The 5th Wave to be very unique, actually, in the way that it weaves an alien invasion-survivor premise into a road novel. Yancey is also unafraid to show us sides of The 5th Wave characters that are not necessarily likeable. It just drives the point home that everyone is being forced to do things they could never have dreamed of doing in order to survive in this new world and protect the ones they love. It’s a dark message that drives the momentum of this book, and it piqued my interest enough to see where the story goes in the sequel, The Infinite Sea, expected this year.
There’s a pretty cool looking website for this book, and some rumours that Sony has purchased the film rights. This really would make a damn cool movie!
One final thought from Stephen Hawking, who is probably right: