How do you rid the Earth of humans? Rid the humans of their humanity.
The brilliance of The 5th Wave was ultimately more in the characterization of the aliens than the people themselves. I think, ultimately, what I just loved about this book was how the others systematically decimated the human population. Told from the perspective of sixteen-year-old Cassie, the novel takes the concepts of fear and manipulation and gives readers the most real characters you could possibly imagine.
It’s almost unfathomable, imagining the world in which our characters find themselves. And as we follow Cassie, and later Ben Parrish, through their journeys in the aftermath of the four attacks that have come from whatever entity–which we’re left to question and wonder about over and over again in the most intriguing way–and the development of the 5th wave itself, we find ourselves growing deeply attached and hopeful for all the characters involved.
I don’t think there was a single moment while reading The 5th Wave where I found myself feeling disappointed with the way things were going. I was intrigued, excited, curious, fascinated, and especially emotional. Yancey manages to throw together a novel filled with an incredibly emotion-driven plot while simultaneously giving us invisible villains that are psychologically terrifying. I found myself thinking of how I would respond in the wake of such attacks, and quickly determined that I’m no Cassie Sullivan.