by Rick Yancey
Book list *Starred Review* The Monstrumologist series set a bar for YA horror nearly impossible to match. Can Yancey do the same for sci-fi? He makes a hell of an effort with this ambitious series starter set in the aftermath of a crushing alien invasion in which the aliens themselves never appeared. Seven billion humans have died in the months following the appearance of a giant mother ship. Wave 1: an electromagnetic pulse rendering all machines useless. Wave 2: tsunamis wiping out coastal cities. Wave 3: the Red Death, a deadly plague carried by birds. Wave 4: Silencers, humans who were implanted with alien intelligence as fetuses. We don't even want to know about Wave 5 do we? Monstrumologist fans will be surprised to discover that Yancey grounds his multiperspective survivalist thriller in two fairly conventional YA voices: Cassie, 16, whose grim solitary existence changes when she is rescued by hunky but mysterious Evan; and Zombie, 17, ex-sports star thrown into a brutal boot camp to train as an alien killer. Yancey's heartfelt, violent, paranoid epic, filled with big heroics and bigger surprises, is part War of the Worlds, part Starship Troopers, part Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and part The Stand, but just close enough to dystopic trends to make this a sure thing for reviewers and readers alike. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Hype has been heavy since a big preempt sale and an announced 500,000 first printing. Film rights are sold, tours are planned, ads will be omnipresent need we say more?--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2010 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publishers Weekly Yancey makes a dramatic 180 from the intellectual horror of his Monstrumologist books to open a gripping SF trilogy about an Earth decimated by an alien invasion. The author fully embraces the genre, while resisting its more sensational tendencies (rest assured, though, there are firefights and explosions aplenty). A rare survivor of the invasion, 16-year-old Cassie, armed with an M16 rifle and her younger brother's teddy bear, is trying to reunite with her brother and escape the "Silencer" (assassin) trying to kill her. Meanwhile, 17-year-old "Zombie," an unwitting military recruit, is facing a crisis of conscience. The story's biggest twists aren't really surprises; the hints are there for readers to see. Yancey is more interested in examining how these world-shaking revelations affect characters who barely recognize what their lives have become. As in the Monstrum-ologist series, the question of what it means to be human is at the forefront-in the words of cartoonist Walt Kelly, "We have met the enemy and he is us." It's a book that targets a broad commercial audience, and Yancey's aim is every bit as good as Cassie's. Ages 14-up. Agent: Brian DeFiore, DeFiore and Co. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-Cassie travels with just the essentials. First on the list: Luger, M-16, ammo, Bowie knife. Incidentals like food, water, sleeping bag, and nail clippers come further down. A nondescript 16-year-old, she is one of the very few people left alive on Earth. Aliens sent waves of destructive forces to eradicate humans: Cassie's family survived the 1st and 2nd Waves. Her mother died in the 3rd Wave (Pestilence) and her father in the 4th (Silencers). Her little brother may still be alive; he may even be safe in a military compound, as Cassie deals with the 5th Wave- a carefully orchestrated survival dance of kill or be killed. The aliens are never described in detail, and their reasons for wanting the humans gone are not clear. But they are ruthless and determined, and their methods for gaining control mean readers will never again see owls as the friendly, mail-delivering avians portrayed in the world of Harry Potter. The compelling story is told from the viewpoints of Cassie and Ben, who is now a soldier known as Zombie. Cassie crushed on Ben at school, but he never particularly noticed her. Now he has transformed from handsome high school sports star to focused paramilitary killer. Yancey's story is full of violent twists and turns, but character development continues along with nonstop action. Cassie and Ben grow out of high school self-centeredness and find leadership qualities. Cassie's interactions with an alien elevate him from a one-dimensional "bad guy" role. While the big body counts (billions die) happen largely offscreen, there are numerous more personal instances in which teens are both killers and killed. The ending has enough planned loose ends to practically guarantee a sequel.-Maggie Knapp, Trinity Valley School, Fort Worth, TX (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.