Sunday, December 29, 2013
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
If you like: Teddy bears * invasions * facades
The 5th Wave is the story of an invasion of Earth by unknown outsiders. Though their origins and timeline are unknown, the depth of their planning indicates that they have been studying Earth for a long time. They expertly craft each wave of the invasion to target humans in ways that will cause the most harm. This damage is both physical and psychological. In the end, it becomes impossible for humans to trust one another because the invaders have caused everything that seems ordinary to become a lie. When all of your instincts have been turned against you it is incredibly difficult to carry on. An enemy that knows you better than you know yourself is the hardest to defeat.
As horrible as each wave is, not being able to anticipate what the next wave will be is far worse. Though the world changed forever after the EMP, things were survivable. People adapt. The true horror was revealed when they second waved hit. It was no longer good enough to adapt to one change. This is will not be the only thing that they throw at you. Don't get too comfortable in this post-apocalyptic world because they are just getting started. Preparing for what you do know is so much easier than planning for what you can't know. You can no longer settle on surviving. The dread that fills each day is almost a separate wave of attack on its own. This is how the most cunning wave is able to be implemented without those involved even realizing it. They are so busy waiting for radical change that they cannot see the incremental changes that surround them. Trusting your instincts becomes paramount, but knowing they can be used against you is nearly as powerful.
Knowing your enemy is key to any war, and what makes the war in The 5th Wave so hard to fight. When the enemy infiltrated your species decades before you knew they existed, it is impossible to distinguish the others from you. The human race cannot survived global conflict without coming together, but knowing that others that are identical to humans are the ones coming after you makes this type of unity impossible. Being social creatures, the best strategy to fight us is turning that aspect of our natures against us. All too often, our gut will tell us that this is the time to trust, when all signs indicate otherwise. The battle between heart and mind must be won before the enemy can be engaged. The lack of distinction between the two groups removes any chance of a united front; there is no way to tell when the enemy is truly gone, and there will always be those who believe they are not, on both sides. The pain of deciding to take out a person who could be on your side makes the conflict even more difficult. The scars of this pain will persist beyond the end of the war. Cassie, the main character, learns the most important lesson from her father: the enemy is the one who is shooting at you. This is the thing to remember in all conflicts. No matter what rhetoric has taught you, you can always find out who is against you by the ways they cut you down. Actions speak louder than any words, and believing the actions over the words could save your life.
If you don't know who you are shooting at, read The 5th wave.
Yancey, Rick. The 5th Wave. Putnam Juvenile, 2013. Kindle Edition.