When we left Cassie, Evan, Ben/Zombie and the rest, everyone except Evan had escaped from the camp. Evan had sacrificed himself, and they were all waiting to see if he would make good on his promise and come back, which, for an alien, prompted an uneasy sort of trust.
Now, they all are waiting in an abandoned, rat-infested hotel to see if they will be found out by the aliens. While they’re stuck inside, tensions are high, especially between Ringer and Cassie. On Ben’s orders, Ringer leaves to try and find them all a better hidey-hole, and feisty, obstinate Teacup wants to go with her. When she’s walked a few hours away from the hotel, Ringer discovers Teacup has followed her and she’s on the edge of death, because she was found and shot at by the aliens. Ringer, despite her cold assurances, does not have an icy heart and can only surrender to the aliens in the hopes that they will save Teacup. Meanwhile, Evan has survived his destructive acts of the last novel but not without serious injuries. He finds his way to Cassie and the others, but knowingly leaves a deadly former alien friend on his trail. Their old enemies haven’t let them get away so easily, and have laid their own trap upon Ringer’s capture. It seems all members of the party are certainly doomed, but they have a chance if their faith, hope, and especially love are strong.
This series is one of the most peculiar in young adult literature, I believe. It reads as much more literary and abstract than the regular gamut of YA, not that there’s anything wrong with that as it encourages deeper comprehension on the part of its readers. Still, a struggling reader will have more trouble with this series than most YA fiction, but it might encourage different types of readers, especially males and adults. I find it to be one of the most subtle books but deep in psychological meaning. All of our characters have changed so much since the beginning that they have almost found entirely new identities and this process continues here. Ben and Cassie still struggle to accept Evan, as Evan fights to reconcile his alien-ness with his humanity and love. Ringer, who is so prickly, cannot stop herself from caring about Teacup, and this is her greatest weakness. One of the other mysteries, which we discover a bit more about, is the reason for the 5th wave and the waves that had gone before. Why are the aliens sniping people, or brainwashing children to become soldiers, or planting their own into human bodies? You probably will find more questions than answers here, so read closely. The first half of the book fairly drags since it concentrates more on narrative than plot, but then races to the finish so quickly that you’re dumbfounded that it’s over. Scenes jump from character to character to present a whole story that the readers must add up for themselves. I thought this story wasn’t near long enough and almost seems it didn’t progress as much as the first book. I guess we’ll see.
Last month, The 5th Wave won a Teens’ Top Ten spot and will be coming to the big screen in 2016. (I probably shouldn’t confess this here, but Chloe Grace Moretz creeps me out! Not she herself, but because of earlier characters she has played. It will be hard to convince myself to see the movie with her as Cassie! )