The 5th wave

Richard Yancey

eAudio - 2013

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, 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.

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[United States] : Dreamscape Media, LLC 2013.
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hoopla digital
Main Author
Richard Yancey (author)
Corporate Author
hoopla digital (-)
Other Authors
Brandon Espinoza, 1982- (narrator)
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Instantly available on hoopla.
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1 online resource (1 audio file (12hr., 42 min.)) : digital
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
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Review by New York Times Review

IN a post-Potter, post-Katniss era, the line between young adult and mainstream fiction often blurs. Novels that once would have slipped beneath the radar of adult readers are now proudly displayed by middle-aged commuters on public transit; books that not so long ago wouldn't have made it past the P.T.A. into the middle school library are, for a generation raised on endless reruns of "Law and Order: SVU," just another day at the office. Thirteen isn't what it used to be - nor, apparently, is the 30 it's become. Finding a manuscript that will satisfy both audiences has become the holy grail of publishing. It's a tricky line to walk, and few succeed. But Rick Yancey's wildly entertaining new novel, "The 5th Wave," is such a book. Yancey's tale begins with the arrival of a huge, alien mother ship in Earth's orbit. (Pause to wonder: Why isn't it ever a father ship?) No word is forthcoming from its inhabitants, leaving humanity to speculate on their intentions; then the fun begins. I say "fun" because Yancey isn't content with just one brand of Armageddon, and delivers the apocalypse with multivalent gusto. (Hence the "waves" of the title.) The first wave: an electromagnetic pulse that plunges the planet into preindustrial chaos. The second: a giant metal slab, sent crashing from high orbit into a major geological fault line, releasing a tsunami that drowns the world's coastlines. The third: an avian virus that wipes out 99 percent of the remaining populace. The fourth: body-snatched humans, implanted with alien consciousnesses, who stalk the few survivors that remain. (I'll leave the fifth alone.) Just about everything here is borrowed from one venerable pop culture source or another, but it's a rip-roaring setup, and as the bodies accumulate, the pages turn themselves. It's hard to recall a novel - Y.A. or otherwise - in which more bad things happen to more good people in such a short span of time. The novel's action boils down to four main characters: Cassie, the spunky, underappreciated 12-year-old tomboy; Sam, her deliciously adorable little brother; Ben, the high school football star she's worshiped from afar; and Evan, the mysterious hunk who looks like "a teenage version of the Brawny paper towel guy." Nothing new, in other words, for anybody who's ever been to the octoplex, but Yancey sets them into energetic motion like a pro. After her parents die - her mother from the plague, her father at the hands of a soldier who may or may not be human - Cassie, armed with an M-16, embarks on a quest to find her brother, who has been taken away in a busload of children. Wounded by an unseen alien sniper, she is rescued by Evan; the two join forces, even as his explanation about how he's survived doesn't seem to wash. Not far away, Ben, tortured by memories of abandoning his little sister, is recruited to lead a unit of child soldiers to go after "the infested" - humans whose bodies have been co-opted by the enemy. The convergence of their story lines leads to a final action set piece that ties everything together with Bond-movie brio. This is a world in which adults don't really figure - a staple of young adult literature. It's also structured like Y.A., employing a rotating first-person narration told in the present tense. This may be a fair representation of the way young people experience the world, but it makes for some ungainly moments, and cuts off the narrative from the richer, more reflective emotional texture it deserves. This is a story in which truly awful things happen and truly daring deeds are performed; beneath the teenage angst, it's serious fare, and yet its depictions of horror and moments of courage often feel dulled by the limitations of its point of view. One has the sense that Yancey was a little too conscious of trying to win over both audiences at the same time. That said, it's a testament to Yancey's skill that for the duration of this grownup's reading, I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. A setup like this would be hard to resolve in one book, and Yancey doesn't try; there's plenty of room left for a sequel or two. Smart man. Justin Cronin is the author of "The Passage" and "The Twelve."

Copyright (c) The New York Times Company [May 26, 2013]
Review by Booklist Review

*Starred Review* The Monstrumologist series set a bar for YA horror nearly impossible to match. Can Yancey do the same for sci-fi? He makes a hell of an effort with this ambitious series starter set in the aftermath of a crushing alien invasion in which the aliens themselves never appeared. Seven billion humans have died in the months following the appearance of a giant mother ship. Wave 1: an electromagnetic pulse rendering all machines useless. Wave 2: tsunamis wiping out coastal cities. Wave 3: the Red Death, a deadly plague carried by birds. Wave 4: Silencers, humans who were implanted with alien intelligence as fetuses. We don't even want to know about Wave 5 do we? Monstrumologist fans will be surprised to discover that Yancey grounds his multiperspective survivalist thriller in two fairly conventional YA voices: Cassie, 16, whose grim solitary existence changes when she is rescued by hunky but mysterious Evan; and Zombie, 17, ex-sports star thrown into a brutal boot camp to train as an alien killer. Yancey's heartfelt, violent, paranoid epic, filled with big heroics and bigger surprises, is part War of the Worlds, part Starship Troopers, part Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and part The Stand, but just close enough to dystopic trends to make this a sure thing for reviewers and readers alike. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Hype has been heavy since a big preempt sale and an announced 500,000 first printing. Film rights are sold, tours are planned, ads will be omnipresent need we say more?--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

The alien invasion did not happen the way anyone expected, and the few hundred thousand humans left standing are trying to understand how the fifth attack wave will play out. Sixteen-year-old Cassi lost her father and is trying to stay alive to eventually save her younger brother, but to do so, she'll have to rely on others. Narrators Brandon Espinoza and Phoebe Strole are superb and keep listeners riveted throughout. Espinoza covers the various chapters told from male points of view, while Strole narrates chapters told from Cassie's point of view, ably capturing the young girl's range of emotions. Ages 14-up. A Putnam hardcover. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

Sixteen-year-old Cassie assumes the battle has just begun when extraterrestrials unleash a plague that kills the majority of the world's population, including her mother. Only after her father is murdered and her five-year-old brother, Sammy, is bused to an alien death camp does she realize the aliens have been living among them for years. Determined to save Sammy, Cassie must place her trust in an alien-human hybrid whose motives are less than clear in this post-apocalyptic struggle. Yancey (The Monstrumologist) launches a gripping sf trilogy that's a soon-to-be motion picture. Phoebe Strole and Brandon Espinoza feature different voices to highlight characterization and set a superb pace that plays up the suspense. VERDICT Highly recommended for teens and adults. [The Penguin hc was a New York Times best seller.-Ed.]-JoAnn Funderburk, South Garland Branch Lib., TX (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up-Cassie travels with just the essentials. First on the list: Luger, M-16, ammo, Bowie knife. Incidentals like food, water, sleeping bag, and nail clippers come further down. A nondescript 16-year-old, she is one of the very few people left alive on Earth. Aliens sent waves of destructive forces to eradicate humans: Cassie's family survived the 1st and 2nd Waves. Her mother died in the 3rd Wave (Pestilence) and her father in the 4th (Silencers). Her little brother may still be alive; he may even be safe in a military compound, as Cassie deals with the 5th Wave- a carefully orchestrated survival dance of kill or be killed. The aliens are never described in detail, and their reasons for wanting the humans gone are not clear. But they are ruthless and determined, and their methods for gaining control mean readers will never again see owls as the friendly, mail-delivering avians portrayed in the world of Harry Potter. The compelling story is told from the viewpoints of Cassie and Ben, who is now a soldier known as Zombie. Cassie crushed on Ben at school, but he never particularly noticed her. Now he has transformed from handsome high school sports star to focused paramilitary killer. Yancey's story is full of violent twists and turns, but character development continues along with nonstop action. Cassie and Ben grow out of high school self-centeredness and find leadership qualities. Cassie's interactions with an alien elevate him from a one-dimensional "bad guy" role. While the big body counts (billions die) happen largely offscreen, there are numerous more personal instances in which teens are both killers and killed. The ending has enough planned loose ends to practically guarantee a sequel.-Maggie Knapp, Trinity Valley School, Fort Worth, TX (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Horn Book Review

"Once they found us, we were toast," says sixteen-year-old survivor Cassie, after aliens have invaded Earth. No "little green men and giant mechanical spiders spitting out death rays," no earthlings locked in epic battles. Just seven billion humans killed in waves of systematic attacks. First, a massive electromagnetic pulse knocked out the power grid, breaking down the social order. Then an attack on the coastlines created killer tsunamis, followed by a worldwide ebola-like plague, followed by the emergence of what Cassie calls the Silencers, implanted in humans years before, out to kill any remaining people. Cassie prepares herself for the fifth wave, the final takeover, fearing that she may be all that's left of humanity -- but "if I am the last one, then I am humanity. And if this is humanity's last war, then I am the battlefield." She's alone until she meets seventeen-year-old Evan Walker, "a very good-looking guy with a lopsided grin and large strong hands," and together they must figure out how to fight back. Until then, the pacing is slow and methodical, with the action escalating only toward the conclusion. Still, Yancey vividly portrays Cassie's existential crisis in a broken world: how to live, why to live, what to believe in, and what to care about. As with other current dystopian novels, fans will read breathlessly to see if the potent mix of war, romance, and hope are enough to save a world. dean schneider (c) Copyright 2013. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

The challenge? Surviving the genocide of the human race when aliens attack Earth in the not-too-distant future. Sixteen-year-old Cassie, her brother Sam and her dad survived the first four gruesome waves of the attack. Together, the three wait out the titular fifth in a military base for survivors until school buses arrive to take all children to safety, including her brother Sam. Cassie, her dad and the rest of the adults are then divested of their weapons and marched into a bunker by their protectors. Cassie escapes, only to see her dad (and everyone else) brutally executed by their so-called protectors. She then embarks on a mission to rescue her brother. As in his previous efforts (The Monstrumologist, 2009, etc.), Yancey excels in creating an alternative world informed by just enough logic and sociology to make it feel close enough to our own. The suspension-of-disbelief Kool-Aid he serves goes down so easy that every piece of the story--no matter how outlandish--makes perfect sense. The 500-plus-page novel surges forward full throttle with an intense, alarming tone full of danger, deceit and a touch of romance. The plot flips back and forth with so much action and so many expert twists that readers will constantly question whom they can trust and whom they can't. Best of all, everything feels totally real, and that makes it all the more riveting. Nothing short of amazing. (Science fiction. 14 up)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

1 ALIENS ARE STUPID.   I'm not talking about real aliens. The Others aren't stupid. The Others are so far ahead of us, it's like comparing the dumbest human to the smartest dog. No contest.   No, I'm talking about the aliens inside our own heads.   The ones we made up, the ones we've been making up since we realized those glittering lights in the sky were suns like ours and probably had planets like ours spinning around them. You know, the aliens we imagine, the kind of aliens we'd like to attack us, human aliens. You've seen them a million times. They swoop down from the sky in their flying saucers to level New York and Tokyo and London, or they march across the countryside in huge machines that look like mechanical spiders, ray guns blasting away, and always, always, humanity sets aside its differences and bands together to defeat the alien horde. David slays Goliath, and everybody (except Goliath) goes home happy.   What crap.   It's like a cockroach working up a plan to defeat the shoe on its way down to crush it.   There's no way to know for sure, but I bet the Others knew about the human aliens we'd imagined. And I bet they thought it was funny as hell. They must have laughed their asses off. If they have a sense of humor . . . or asses. They must have laughed the way we laugh when a dog does something totally cute and dorky.   Oh, those cute, dorky humans! They think we think like they do! Isn't that adorable?   Forget about flying saucers and little green men and giant mechanical spiders spitting out death rays. Forget about epic battles with tanks and fighter jets and the final victory of us scrappy, unbroken, intrepid humans over the bug-eyed swarm. That's about as far from the truth as their dying planet was from our living one.   The truth is, once they found us, we were toast. 2 SOMETIMES I THINK I might be the last human on Earth.   Which means I'm the last human in the universe.   I know that's dumb. They can't have killed everyone . . . yet. I see how it could happen, though, eventually. And then I think that's exactly what the Others want me to see.   Remember the dinosaurs? Well.   So I'm probably not the last human on Earth, but I'm one of the last. Totally alone--and likely to stay that way--until the 4th Wave rolls over me and carries me down.   That's one of my night thoughts. You know, the three-in-the-morning, oh-my-God-I'm-screwed thoughts. When I curl into a little ball, so scared I can't close my eyes, drowning in fear so intense I have to remind myself to breathe, will my heart to keep beating. When my brain checks out and begins to skip like a scratched CD. Alone, alone, alone, Cassie, you're alone.   That's my name. Cassie.   Not Cassie for Cassandra. Or Cassie for Cassidy. Cassie for Cassiopeia, the constellation, the queen tied to her chair in the northern sky, who was beautiful but vain, placed in the heavens by the sea god Poseidon as a punishment for her boasting. In Greek, her name means "she whose words excel."   My parents didn't know the first thing about that myth. They just thought the name was pretty.   Even when there were people around to call me anything, no one ever called me Cassiopeia. Just my father, and only when he was teasing me, and always in a very bad Italian accent: Cass-ee-oh-PEE-a. It drove me crazy. I didn't think he was funny or cute, and it made me hate my own name. "I'm Cassie!" I'd holler at him. "Just Cassie!" Now I'd give anything to hear him say it just one more time.   When I was turning twelve--four years before the Arrival--my father gave me a telescope for my birthday. On a crisp, clear fall evening, he set it up in the backyard and showed me the constellation.   "See how it looks like a W?" he asked.   "Why did they name it Cassiopeia if it's shaped like a W?" I replied. "W for what?"   "Well . . . I don't know that it's for anything," he answered with a smile. Mom always told him it was his best feature, so he trotted it out a lot, especially after he started going bald. You know, to drag the other person's eyes downward. "So, it's for anything you like! How about wonderful? Or winsome? Or wise?" He dropped his hand on my shoulder as I squinted through the lens at the five stars burning over fifty light-years from the spot on which we stood. I could feel my father's breath against my cheek, warm and moist in the cool, dry autumn air. His breath so close, the stars of Cassiopeia so very far away.   The stars seem a lot closer now. Closer than the three hundred trillion miles that separate us. Close enough to touch, for me to touch them, for them to touch me. They're as close to me as his breath had been.   That sounds crazy. Am I crazy? Have I lost my mind? You can only call someone crazy if there's someone else who's normal. Like good and evil. If everything was good, then nothing would be good.   Whoa. That sounds, well . . . crazy.   Crazy: the new normal.   I guess I could call myself crazy, since there is one other person I can compare myself to: me. Not the me I am now, shivering in a tent deep in the woods, too afraid to even poke her head from the sleeping bag. Not this Cassie. No, I'm talking about the Cassie I was before the Arrival, before the Others parked their alien butts in high orbit. The twelve-year-old me, whose biggest problems were the spray of tiny freckles on her nose and the curly hair she couldn't do anything with and the cute boy who saw her every day and had no clue she existed. The Cassie who was coming to terms with the painful fact that she was just okay. Okay in looks. Okay in school. Okay at sports like karate and soccer. Basically the only unique things about her were the weird name--Cassie for Cassiopeia, which nobody knew about, anyway--and her ability to touch her nose with the tip of her tongue, a skill that quickly lost its impressiveness by the time she hit middle school.   I'm probably crazy by that Cassie's standards.   And she sure is crazy by mine. I scream at her sometimes, that twelve-year-old Cassie, moping over her hair or her weird name or at being just okay. "What are you doing?" I yell. "Don't you know what's coming?"   But that isn't fair. The fact is she didn't know, had no way of knowing, and that was her blessing and why I miss her so much, more than anyone, if I'm being honest. When I cry--when I let myself cry--that's who I cry for. I don't cry for myself. I cry for the Cassie that's gone.   And I wonder what that Cassie would think of me.   The Cassie who kills.   3   HE COULDN'T HAVE BEEN much older than me. Eighteen. Maybe nineteen. But hell, he could have been seven hundred and nineteen for all I know. Five months into it and I'm still not sure if the 4th Wave is human or some kind of hybrid or even the Others themselves, though I don't like to think that the Others look just like us and talk just like us and bleed just like us. I like to think of the Others as being . . . well, other.   I was on my weekly foray for water. There's a stream not far from my campsite, but I'm worried it might be contaminated, either from chemicals or sewage or maybe a body or two upstream. Or poisoned. Depriving us of clean water would be an excellent way to wipe us out quickly.   So once a week I shoulder my trusty M16 and hike out of the forest to the interstate. Two miles south, just off Exit 175, there're a couple of gas stations with convenience stores attached. I load up as much bottled water as I can carry, which isn't a lot because water is heavy, and get back to the highway and the relative safety of the trees as quickly as I can, before night falls completely. Dusk is the best time to travel. I've never seen a drone at dusk. Three or four during the day and a lot more at night, but never at dusk.   From the moment I slipped through the gas station's shattered front door, I knew something was different. I didn't see anything different--the store looked exactly like it had a week earlier, the same graffiti-scrawled walls, overturned shelves, floor strewn with empty boxes and caked-in rat feces, the busted-open cash registers and looted beer coolers. It was the same disgusting, stinking mess I'd waded through every week for the past month to get to the storage area behind the refrigerated display cases. Why people grabbed the beer and soda, the cash from the registers and safe, the rolls of lottery tickets, but left the two pallets of drinking water was beyond me. What were they thinking? It's an alien apocalypse! Quick, grab the beer!   The same disaster of spoilage, the same stench of rats and rotted food, the same fitful swirl of dust in the murky light pushing through the smudged windows, every out-of-place thing in its place, undisturbed.   Still.   Something was different.   I was standing in the little pool of broken glass just inside the doorway. I didn't see it. I didn't hear it. I didn't smell or feel it. But I knew it.   Something was different.   It's been a long time since humans were prey animals. A hundred thousand years or so. But buried deep in our genes the memory remains: the awareness of the gazelle, the instinct of the antelope. The wind whispers through the grass. A shadow flits between the trees. And up speaks the little voice that goes, Shhhh, it's close now. Close.   I don't remember swinging the M16 from my shoulder. One minute it was hanging behind my back, the next it was in my hands, muzzle down, safety off.   Close.   I'd never fired it at anything bigger than a rabbit, and that was a kind of experiment, to see if I could actually use the thing without blowing off one of my own body parts. Once I shot over the heads of a pack of feral dogs that had gotten a little too interested in my campsite. Another time nearly straight up, sighting the tiny, glowering speck of greenish light that was their mothership sliding silently across the backdrop of the Milky Way. Okay, I admit that was stupid. I might as well have erected a billboard with a big arrow pointing at my head and the words yoo-hoo, here i am!   After the rabbit experiment--it blew that poor damn bunny apart, turning Peter into this unrecognizable mass of shredded guts and bone--I gave up the idea of using the rifle to hunt. I didn't even do target practice. In the silence that had slammed down after the 4th Wave struck, the report of the rounds sounded louder than an atomic blast.   Still, I considered the M16 my bestest of besties. Always by my side, even at night, burrowed into my sleeping bag with me, faithful and true. In the 4th Wave, you can't trust that people are still people. But you can trust that your gun is still your gun.   Shhh, Cassie. It's close.   Close.   I should have bailed. That little voice had my back. That little voice is older than I am. It's older than the oldest person who ever lived.   I should have listened to that voice.   Instead, I listened to the silence of the abandoned store, listened hard. Something was close. I took a tiny step away from the door, and the broken glass crunched ever so softly under my foot.   And then the Something made a noise, somewhere between a cough and a moan. It came from the back room, behind the coolers, where my water was.   That's the moment when I didn't need a little old voice to tell me what to do. It was obvious, a no-brainer. Run.   But I didn't run.   The first rule of surviving the 4th Wave is don't trust anyone. It doesn't matter what they look like. The Others are very smart about that--okay, they're smart about everything. It doesn't matter if they look the right way and say the right things and act exactly like you expect them to act. Didn't my father's death prove that? Even if the stranger is a little old lady sweeter than your great-aunt Tilly, hugging a helpless kitten, you can't know for certain--you can never know--that she isn't one of them, and that there isn't a loaded .45 behind that kitten.   It isn't unthinkable. And the more you think about it, the more thinkable it becomes. Little old lady has to go.   That's the hard part, the part that, if I thought about it too much, would make me crawl into my sleeping bag, zip myself up, and die of slow starvation. If you can't trust anyone, then you can trust no one. Better to take the chance that Aunty Tilly is one of them than play the odds that you've stumbled across a fellow survivor.   That's friggin' diabolical.   It tears us apart. It makes us that much easier to hunt down and eradicate. The 4th Wave forces us into solitude, where there's no strength in numbers, where we slowly go crazy from the isolation and fear and terrible anticipation of the inevitable.   So I didn't run. I couldn't. Whether it was one of them or an Aunt Tilly, I had to defend my turf. The only way to stay alive is to stay alone. That's rule number two.   I followed the sobbing coughs or coughing sobs or whatever you want to call them till I reached the door that opened to the back room. Hardly breathing, on the balls of my feet.   The door was ajar, the space just wide enough for me to slip through sideways. A metal rack on the wall directly in front of me and, to the right, the long narrow hallway that ran the length of the coolers. There were no windows back here. The only light was the sickly orange of the dying day behind me, still bright enough to hurl my shadow onto the sticky floor. I crouched down; my shadow crouched with me.   I couldn't see around the edge of the cooler into the hall. But I could hear whoever--or whatever--it was at the far end, coughing, moaning, and that gurgling sob.   Either hurt badly or acting hurt badly, I thought. Either needs help or it's a trap.   This is what life on Earth has become since the Arrival. It's an either/or world.   Either it's one of them and it knows you're here or it's not one of them and he needs your help.   Either way, I had to get up and turn that corner.   So I got up.   And I turned the corner. Excerpted from The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.