Love, War and Aliens


A plane falls from the sky as a result of the first wave—the world has lost all electricity. Next, literal waves decimate the coasts. Infection follows, killing billions. Then comes the discovery that the comparatively few  survivors are not alone. Those four waves are seen in the recent trailer of Chloe Grace Moretz’s next hit, based off Rick Yancey’s book of the same name.

“The 5th Wave” takes place in Ohio and finds Cassie, the heroine of the story, living in a tent in the woods with only her little brother’s teddy bear to keep her company. Through her mundane routine of day-to-day survival with her “bestie,” an M16 rifle, she recalls all that happened to and around her in the preceding months, from the beginning of the “Arrival,” all the way through the various waves of attack by the “Others,” until finally returning to present tense, when things start to get interesting.

Cassie, for the most part, was an interesting perspective to read; she’s been through a lot and her will to survive is mainly motivated by a simple promise she made to her little brother before they were separated. However, for a short period in the middle of the novel, her previously appreciated sass and wit became a bit much, even to the point of coming off as forced.

Eventually, there’s an unexpected perspective change, although not an unwelcome one. Both stories progress on their own until fatefully crossing near the end, leaving plenty of plot room for a sequel.

Most of “The 5th Wave” was refreshingly different—although at one point a certain blooming romance felt stale and way too familiar. It was predictable to begin with, but it grew tolerable when the plot started moving again. About the same time, though, the dialogue became annoyingly jumbled. Some things could have been explained better, although I have faith that the movie will rectify that by simplifying matters.

“The 5th Wave” thankfully never pretends to be something it’s not. While there are aspects similar to other sci-fi works, it manages to make something unique. It isn’t a particularly difficult read, but it is an entertaining one. Catch it in theaters January 2016.