"The Hum is gone.
You remember the Hum.
Unless you grew up on top of a mountain or lived in a cave your whole life, the Hum was always around you. That's what life was. It was the sea we swam in. The constant sound of all the things we built to make life easy and little less boring. The mechanical song. The electronic symphony. The Hum of all our things and all of us. Gone.
This is the sound of the Earth before we conquered it."
The world, as it was known before, has been destroyed in waves. The first wave took the lights out, making everything that needs electricity or battery, everything we are used to, garbage. Cars are lying around the roads, cellphones do not work anymore, the Internet has crashed. After the 1st wave, there has been three more waves - we are now up the the fourth wave, "the silencer". Is the fifth wave going to come? Are there any humans left on the planet to suffer from the possible wave?
The 5th Wave has been so hyped that my expectations were super high. Luckily, Yancey was able to fulfill my expectations, BIG TIME. I don't think I have actually read that many alien books, so I cannot really compare this to something else I have read, but hey, if other alien books are like this, count me in! I had not read anything else by Rick Yancey either before this one, but I am definitely looking forward to reading his other novels.
The book has different narrative point of views. After a page of "epilogue", which by the way sets the tone for the book perfectly and got me interested right away, we first get to see things from Cassie's point of view. I instantly started to like Cassie - she is strong, intelligent, but also very realistic with her high school crushes and worries about how Ben, her crush sees her etc. She is also pretty sarcastic, which I loved, because I am an avid fan of sarcasm. I am happy the other character point of views ended up being interesting as well, because Cassie's POV was a hell of a start for the novel. "The Zombie" is an interesting character in the sense that he is inside the action for most of the time. He forms a relationship with Nugget (also known as Sammy) which thus forms a link between him and Cassie. And then there is Evan - mysterious, handsome Evan with his beautiful hands and hamburgers with home baked buns. I loved the sections of the book that focused on Cassie and Evan and their relationship - it is not instalove, but there definitely are sparks there.
"There's a quote from Stalin," he says. " 'A single death is a tragedy; a million is a statistic'. Can you imagine seven billion of anything? I have trouble doing it. It pushes the limits of our ability to comprehend. And that's exactly why they did it. Like running up the score in football. You played football, right? It isn't about destroying our capacity to fight so much as crushing our will to fight."
The world of the book is an interesting one. It is not chaotic in the sense that people are running around etc. It is chaotic in the sense that it is extremely quiet and the only sounds you hear are gun shots and bombs. Most of the people are dead. The military is working on saving the children first - they are forming bases in which the children are safe. But it seems that you cannot consider being completely safe anywhere.
What I really loved about this book were the twists and turns - I was never quite sure who I can trust. This really made me want to keep turning the pages in order to see what happens next. The pacing of the novel is also incredibly well done - you stay "at the edge of your seat" for the whole time, wondering what will happen next. The incredible story, with likable characters, world building and well-written language truly is a recipe for a great read.
The 5th Wave is an YA book, but I think that it has potential to reach readers also from other age/interest groups. The little details, such as Wonderland, the devices they use and just the general atmosphere of a mystery story will no doubt attract also fans of science fiction and mysteries, not only fans of YA novels. I personally cannot wait for the second book - The 5th Wave would have worked as a standalone novel very well, but since the characters and the world were so well built, I can't wait to read more.