I struggled with an audiobook earlier this summer: Michael Scott’s The Alchemyst felt more like a slog than a book that, given all of its elements, should have been right up my alley. Such has not been the case with The 5th Wave.
I’m about 1/3 of the way into it, and I’m absolutely captivated. Yesterday I stayed in my car to finish a chapter, and even listened to it while making a fire pit and handling some other yeardwork (and now I can’t help but think of the terrifying descriptions of the various waves that hit every time I look at the round pit.*) The 2 voices read with conviction and sound like real teenagers would sound, without pandering.
Long has this nontraditional alien invasion novel been on my to-read list, and I’m happy that I’ve waited until now. It’s no doubt a page turner, but this audiobook has me hankering to find time to listen; I’ll even admit that I raged against the midday sun yesterday so I could at least be productive while I listened.
The story itself is quite original, referencing other alien invasion stories and proving its uniqueness time and time again. It’s almost like an alien invasion version of The Walking Dead, only told through the eyes of believable teenagers. The protagonists are not remorseless heroes, but young adults who happen to have witnessed atrocities and world-shattering events, and are forced to grow up too quickly. Difficult choices are not easy, and the loss of loved ones are not overcome in tidy ways. The elements of the alien invasion are solid science fiction, regardless of your age, and really are quite scary.
Suffice it to say I can’t wait to get back to my car to listen!
*Like I said, I was mowing the yard while listening, and even went towards an oft-neglected section just beyond the fence. It was like I was encountering a wasteland while I listened to Cassie describe the various waves, especially the 3rd wave. Gruesome. But when Cassie and her family got to the survivor’s camp, I got to the thickest, most neglected portion of the yard, and noticed a fleeing praying mantis. I worked hard and successfully avoided killing it, but I couldn’t help but notice the similarity to the novel – I was the big green eye in the sky, it represented humanity in the novel. The terrain I was working on, however, was just too eerily similar to the feeling that gripped me while listening.
I’ll also go ahead and throw this out there – I paused while walking Marice for her pre-bed break when I heard a low hum overhead. Creepy.