Audio Run Time: 12 Hrs 41 Mins
After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: Trust no one. Now, it's the dawn of the 5th wave.
On a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth's last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, until Cassie meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan may be her only hope for rescuing her brother and even saving herself. Now she must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up. Cassie Sullivan gets up.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A friend recommended this book to me, but I also received a recommendation from Audible due to my taste in YA dystopian science fiction. Therefore, with my curiosity piqued, I downloaded an audio copy to listen to; I really enjoyed it!
This audio book is narrated by Phoebe Strole and Brandon Espinoza. They both did a wonderful job in bringing the story and the characters to life. Although, I did find the switch from female to male voice a little jarring at first (I am used to listening to one narrator only in most stories), but soon enjoyed the different points of view.
Cassie (short for Cassiopeia) Sullivan is a sixteen year old girl on the run from "the others" - aliens who have invaded the bodies of certain humans, and are the start of the 5th wave in a war to take over the planet. I really liked this character, she has a lot of spirit and determination. However, she also has an irritating habit of being a bit whine-y. I suppose teen angst is expected in characters this age, but what really bugged me about this character is her issue with trust. I won't go into specifics, as that will be a spoiler, but her easy acceptance of a character after all she had been through just didn't sit right with me.
There are three guys as main characters in this story, and each of them have their own quirks and, in the case of the older boys, secrets.
Evan Walker is not all that he seems. He hides a dangerous secret, but when he meets Cassie, something within him changes. However, this character is still a mysterious enigma, even when his secret is revealed. What was it about Cassie that made him change his mind? Why was he alone, rather with others like him who argued against colonization? These and other questions that buzzed in my head remain unanswered as the story continued. Perhaps they will be answered in the next story? I hope so, because I would love to get to understand what he and the others hope to achieve.
Ben "Zombie" Parish is a young man dying from a deadly virus they call "the Plague" from the fourth wave when we meet him. Rescued and healed, he joins the fight in the war against the "infected" - humans who have an alien infesting their brain. I really liked this character. He is quite bright and determined, not to mention charming. He also has a huge heart and takes a young five year old boy under his wing.
Sam (Sammy) is Cassie's young brother, who finds himself being part of Squad 53 and being called "Nugget". I really loved this character! He is so sweet, and what he goes through at such a young age made my heart wrench; I wanted to give him a huge hug! It made me wonder if children this age are as resilient as they say, or would he have problems later on in his life? And then there is bear! I love bear. He is Sammy's one comfort in a world gone to hell, but he gives it to Cassie; I cried when he did that!
This story is very compelling and the characters are quite lifelike. However, having read a few other dystopian novels, some of the scenario's didn't quite ring as believable (mostly the alien invasion and their motivation behind it). But, there are some scarily possible human ones that I could see happening in the not so distant future. Cassie's and Evan's relationship also doesn't seem to have the "spark" necessary to be believable either, which I was surprised at. However, this may be because I was listening to the story and not reading it.
The fifth wave is actually about trust, or the lack thereof. Do the characters believe and trust everything that they have been told or shown by those in power? Or do they question everything and find themselves actually fighting in a war where lines are blurred and things are not as they seem? This theme runs through the whole story. And there are several twists and turns that make you, as the reader, question everything too, never mind the characters. I found myself riveted by the tale. And, even though the audio book is over twelve hours long, I found myself thinking it was too short! I will still have to wait until 2016 before the movie is released though. In the meantime, I can't wait to get my hands on the sequel, The Infinite Sea.
Rick Yancey has written an exciting, fast paced dystopian novel that kept me hooked from the beginning to the end. I love his fast pace writing style and the flow of the story was wonderful. I will definitely read more books by this author in the future.
I highly recommend this book if you love YA dystopian novels like Divergent and The Hunger Games, or TV series like Fallen Skies. - Lynn Worton
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