Saturday, September 20, 2014

Waiting for Sequels - The Agony and, Well, the Agony

YA authors just love to write series'. Most of the realistic fiction manages to resolve itself in one book, but all of the adventures and fantasies seem to require at least three books to wrap everything up. It's clever marketing; write a fabulous book, and end it at a logical point that resolves much, but leaves enough questions unanswered that fans will just be stumbling over themselves to buy the next book. Yes, that was me last Tuesday, high-tailing it to Barnes and Noble to buy Rick Yancey's "The Infinite Sea." Give me some credit; I did attempt to buy it at a local bookstore (they need me as their buyer!), but they didn't have it yet, so I bowed at the corporate alter and gave them my $18.99.

I had read the first book, "The 5th Wave," when it first came out. Which means that I have been waiting for some kind of resolution for months and months. When I got "The Infinite Sea," I read past page 100 in the first 24 hours, but since I have a husband, five kids, and a full-time job, I don't have the luxury of just sitting and reading as much as I want.

This is me!
There were also two other books I was actively reading at the time, and two more I was dabbling in, so I am not going to finish it as quickly as I'd like. Here I am at the weekend and you would think I would have the time. But no. There are the potatoes and carrots to pull before the ground freezes, a house that has been neglected all week, and always, always, there is wood to split. Not complaining, mind you; Jack just got me a new splitting maul and it splits wood like it's going through butter. Good clean fun!

Suffice to say, I won't have time to finish and review "The Infinite Sea" just yet, so to tantalize you, I am going to share my review of "The 5th Wave" that I wrote just after reading it for the first time. Yes, I've read it more than once. I liked it so much, and knew my husband would like it too, so I read it out loud to him. The whole thing. But not in one sitting. He loved it! I think you, my loyal readers, would love it too. So, without further ado, here is my initial review of "The 5th Wave," by Rick Yancey.

Aliens have invaded earth in four different waves, obliterating 97% of the earth's population in six short months. Cassie Sullivan is one of the few desperate survivors. She has been separated from her five year old brother, Sam, and her only aim is to get him back. She knows that a 5th wave is probably coming, and that they are all as good as dead, but she promised her brother she would find him, and she wants to fulfill that promise or die in the attempt. When she meets Evan Walker on his isolated farm, she is unsure if he is the answer to her prayers or an enemy in disguise. Meanwhile, we are following another character named Zombie, as he is trained by the ragtag remnants of the U.S. military in a sort of children's army. Questions arise . . . Is Evan for real? Will she find Sam? What is the connection between Cassie and Zombie? And what, exactly, is the 5th Wave?

"The 5th Wave" was painful, heart-wrenching and bleak, yet because of the great development of the characters, it is not a despairing book. Cassie is so sarcastic and self-deprecating, I found myself laughing at her miseries. The occasional flashbacks to her former life show her to be just an ordinary, average teenage girl. She is not as traumatized by events as she could be, because she still has Sam to live for. Zombie, by comparison, has more emotional baggage. His story is darker and more fatalistic. He goes by the name Zombie because he knows he is the walking dead. He only wants to exact as much revenge as possible before he dies for real. The big question becomes, on whom should he be seeking revenge? There are snippets of viewpoints from Sam, and from another character named Silencer as well, which help to flesh out the story.

The scenes involving the children's army, and Sam's experiences at Camp Haven, are the most affecting to me. As a mom, my heart was aching for these children who would never have a childhood. As in most YA books, there is an element of young love and romance, but given the circumstances, that storyline remains very secondary compared with the problem of survival. Most YA books have me all taken in by the romantic angle, but with "The 5th Wave", my main concern was, will Cassie ever find Sam? She must find Sam!!!

Does she find him? I'll never tell. I may be a lot of things, but I am not someone who gives spoilers! Read it yourself. You won't regret it. And if you live in my town, I've got a copy I can loan you!

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