Saturday, March 23, 2013

5 Waves of Pure Genius

There are good authors and then there are authors who have made some kind of Faustian deal. Everything they write is brilliant. For me, Rick Yancey is one of those authors. Having followed the Monstrumologist series from its beginning, I couldn't wait to see what Yancey did with The 5th Wave, an entirely different kind of story. All I have to say is, Rick Yancey, you didn't fail me brother!

No one can predict what would happen if an alien race decided to invade earth, but we can pretty much bet they wouldn't travel all that way to just make friends and coexist. The 1st Wave began when they took out all the power. The 2nd Wave took advantage of our tumultuous planet and its fragile fault lines. The 3rd Wave used our own viruses and spread them through a innocuous and beautiful species, our birds, turning them into the carriers of the plague. After the 4th Wave, no one could be trusted. They looked like us, they talked like us, and the Others had fully infiltrated our kind. But the 5th Wave. That was pure genius. Evil genius, of course, but genius nonetheless. 

Cassie has lost everything, but only her brother could still be alive. After failing the one truth about this new world (Trust No One), she lost her brother to the Others. Now, she will do anything to get him back, but she has no idea where they took him. She misses the days when her biggest worry was whether or not Ben Parrish, the boy she had a crush on, even noticed her. She never anticipated a world where she would be skulking through the countryside with an M-16 strapped to her back. When she is shot by a Silencer, she assumes her promise to find her brother will be broken, but Evan Walker's miraculous appearance could change the tides for Cassie. But will she break the cardinal rule? Can she trust him?

Meanwhile Zombie is at Camp Haven training to fight the Others with the rest of the kids. The training is brutal, but when you have the fate of the human species riding on your shoulders, you do anything you can. When he is saddled with a really young boy named Nugget, he should think of self-preservation and leave the kid to fend for himself, but there is something about Nugget that makes Zombie want to protect him. He can't fully explain it, but there is also something strange about the camp. Of course, digging too deep might reveal information Zombie wasn't ready to learn. 

If I was a lesser person, I would have called into work just to read this book in one sitting. It was that amazing. Despite the length of the book, it read like it was 20 pages. Now, I have read Yancey's Monstrumologist series and loved every minute of it. It was witty and sharp. But this series takes Yancey to a whole new level. I don't throw the word genius around often, but Yancey truly earns that title. He knows how to write dialogue, suspense, human emotion, and everything in between. If you haven't read Yancey's work before, this is the place to start. You won't be sorry.

This world Yancey built is so twisted and so frightening, I couldn't stop reading but was simultaneously terrified to keep going. The Waves of destruction the Others washed down upon the world were so brilliant and horrendous at the same time, you will find yourself praying we never make that first encounter! But the tricky part is that the aliens, while the premise for the story, are really more of a background to the true story: the humans. The people on earth, fighting for their planet and their species, are the true meat to this story. The unflappable nature of people when all hope seems lost to pick themselves up and march on makes for a truly inspiring story. I loved this book, and I know you will too. It would be great for a variety of readers, adult and young adult. It is so exciting and enthralling, and no one's attention would wan from start to finish. So, my dearest Yancey, you are either a brilliant Other, or you are one tricky genius! Keep the stories coming, because brilliance needs to step out into the world!

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