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The Fifth Wave Combines Aliens, Teens In Young Adult Thriller



The 5th Wave” by Rick Yancey opens with a quote from Stephen Hawking.

“If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans.”

Clever writer Yancey opens his first young adult book with an alien mother ship hovering over Earth. The bright green glowing ship can be seen all over the world because of its enormous size, but the aliens inside refuse to communicate with any human, American or otherwise.

Maggie Moran

Within a week the first wave attacks. An electromagnetic pulse hits the Earth with such power that all electricity fails and transportation comes to a morbid stop. The second wave is literally waves as a giant metal slab is dropped from the mother ship to fragile fault lines all over the world and causes tsunamis that take out every major city near the ocean.

“Bye-bye, New York. Bye, Sydney. Good-bye, California, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, British Columbia. So long, Eastern Seaboard. Japan, Hong Kong, London, Rome, Rio. Nice to know you. Hope you enjoyed your stay!”

It is figured that 97% of humanity is lost in the second wave. By the third wave 99% have died from an avian flu. Those humans remaining call it the pestilence wave. After the loss of Mom to the flu, The Sullivans (Dad, Sams and Cassie) are walking to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

It is believed the airbase will be the safest place, that is, if anyone is alive. On their way the family arrives at a fortified refugee camp with food, bunk beds and medical facilities. After seeing no one for miles, it is a relief to be accepted and fed.

The camp is full of children and a handful of adults, mostly men. The Sullivans are the only family that is intact. The camp members have lost everyone special to them. As they listen to the latest gossip, Cassie finds out they are experiencing the fourth wave. Aliens, implanted in human brains prenatal, are systematically killing other human beings one bullet at a time.

This fourth wave is known as the silencer. These human look-a-likes use suppressors on their guns to keep noise levels low and silence people with one shot. All is not lost though. Cassie saw helicopters fly over two days ago and today three school buses are on the road heading directly to their camp. Is it the fifth wave or salvation?

Maggie Moran is director of Learning Resources for Northwest Community College 

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