Staff Review: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey


The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Putnam, $18.99

Published May 2013*

Can we please be done with vampires, please?

What would you do if aliens invaded the earth, but you couldn’t see them? What if the aliens had no corporeal presence, and instead were implanted in some humans like sleeper cells? Whom could you trust?

In The 5th Wave, most of humanity has been eliminated by aliens in four waves of death, starting with a complete cessation of power, followed by a tsunami, a plague virus, and finally the activation of the dormant aliens. The fifth wave is when things get interesting, since now nobody can tell who the real humans are, and the alien/human people use this confusion to manipulate the remaining humans to kill each other.

However (you know there has to be a however) the alien inhabitants are now part of their host, in a kind of symbiotic relationship. They are now corporeal; therefore they have all of their human memories; they feel what humans feel; and they won’t survive if their host dies. It’s not clear who is human and who is more than human. Maybe it doesn’t matter because in the end the aliens will be changed just as much as their human hosts. So what defines a person? Who is really human?

In case you’re thinking that this book is some sort of metaphysical treatise, fear not: it’s a YA novel, so there are some laugh-out-loud moments, mostly involving 16-year-old sarcasm, which I happen to find extremely funny, having teenagers myself. Also included is a truly amusing Donald Rumsfeld ramble, a kickass heroine, an old high school crush, and a mysterious new love interest.

Fans of I am Number FourPassageDivergentThe Hunger Games, and Battlestar Galactica should enjoy this book.


*Note from Eight Cousins: Books that are pre-ordered more than 10 days before publication will receive a 20% discount.

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