The 5th Wave
by Rick Yancey
Narrated by Brandon Espinoza, Phoebe Stro
LENGTH 12 hrs and 41 mins
RELEASE DATE 05-07-13
PUBLISHER Penguin Audio
Genre: Post Apocalyptic
My Rating: 4.25 of 5.0
The Passage meets Ender's Game in an epic new series from award-winning author Rick Yancey.
After the first wave, only darkness remains. After the second, only the lucky escape. And after the third, only the unlucky survive. After the fourth wave, only one rule applies: Trust no one.
Now, it's the dawn of the fifth wave, and 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, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker.
Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie's only hope for rescuing her brother - or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.
©2013 Rick Yancey (P)2013 Penguin Audio.
Cassie (for Cassiopeia NOT Cassandra) is a young teen struggling to survive her world after aliens appeared and wiped out a large portion of the population. First there was loss of electronics resulting in chaos and soon starvation. Then many, including Cassie’s mother, suffered a painful death from a bleeding virus. After the virus survivor’s fled the killing in the cities trying to hide. Cassie, with her father and her younger brother, Sammy, had joined a small community. They are living day to day as they try to hide from the flying drones and avoid the alien assassins whom Cassie calls the ‘Silencers’.
One day buses and military personnel arrive and everyone thinks they are saved. But the bus is only collecting children under 16. Cassie could go with her brother but she refuses to leave her father. They watch Sammy leave and then Cassie goes into the woods to find another friend. She stumbles upon a soldier killing the young boy. When she starts to return to camp she is devastated to see the soldiers killing all of the adult civilians. Now she knows she cannot trust the military or anyone at all. She is on the run, alone, wondering how she can rescue her brother. She is injured by a Silencer and lost in the snow when she is rescued by Evan.
Cassie knows to trust no one but Evan saved her from the snow and fed and clothed her. He is very gentle and tender. Yet he seems to know too much about her and she suspects that he is doing more than hunting as he goes out each night. Cassie slowly regains her strength and Evan reluctantly helps her plan how to get to Sam.
Meanwhile Sam and other young people have been taken to the military base to be trained as warriors to fight. That training includes how to kill the enemy who they are told look just like other humans but have an alien parasite on their brain. Only special tools and glasses help determine who is “green” to be killed or red to recruit. The new recruits are also ‘tagged’ so they cannot be lost or stranded. Or are they being tagged for control purposes? What is the truth and who can be trusted?
I enjoyed the survival elements and the relationship conflicts presented in the story. The premise is really interesting and there is good intensity of action that keeps the listener’s attention. I enjoyed some wonderful phrasing in the writing (with a print I could quote them but that is hard to capture in an audio). I liked Evan’s character even though part of his mind-set is left mysterious. I’m undecided about the ending as it was one that leaves some open issues. But at least there was hope! I recommend this to readers who enjoy a good alien/apocalypse story and the emotional dilemmas of feelings associated with an individual ‘them’ instead of a faceless enemy.
Audio Notes: I initially was annoyed by the “whininess” of Cassie. I wasn’t sure if it was her personality or the narration but I decided it was both and therefore fit the story. I think both narrators did a good job with the personalities they portrayed for the reading. The narration enhanced the story for my enjoyment although I think this would be a fine ‘read’ as well.
This is from my own Audible library.