The 5th Wave (novel)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
The 5th Wave
5th Wave Book Cover.jpg
First edition cover
AuthorRick Yancey
Cover artistAllied Integrated Marketing
CountryUnited States
SeriesThe 5th Wave series
Genreyoung adult, science fiction
PublisherG. P. Putnam's Sons
Publication date
May 7, 2013
Media typePrint (hardcover and paperback), e-book, audiobook
LC ClassPZ7.Y19197 Aah 2013
Followed byThe Infinite Sea 

The 5th Wave is a young adult science fiction novel written by American author Rick Yancey. It was published on May 7, 2013 by G. P. Putnam's Sons. The novel is the first in The 5th Wave trilogy, followed by The Infinite Sea. The story follows 16-year-old Cassie Sullivan as she tries to survive in a world devastated by the waves of alien invasions that have decimated the Earth's population.

Critics have compared the book favorably to The Hunger Games and The Road,[1] and noted that it "should do for aliens what Twilight did for vampires."[2] Sony Pictures released a film adaptation in January 2016.


Cassiopeia Marie Sullivan or "Cassie"– the novel's protagonist, is 16 years old, short, and has curly strawberry-blonde hair. Before the waves hit, she had a crush on Ben Parish, a popular football player. She later has a relationship with her "silencer", Evan Walker.

Evan Walker – a boy from rural Ohio who lived with his large family; he is described as having chocolate brown eyes and brown hair. His family and girlfriend were all killed during the 3rd Wave. He has a brief relationship with Cassie.

Benjamin Thomas Parish/Zombie – a popular football player and honors student at Cassie's high school; he is described as tall, buff, and dark haired. While in high school, Cassie had a crush on Ben, but he never noticed her. After the 3rd Wave, Ben contracts the plague but is "rescued" by soldiers who take him to Camp Haven. There, he becomes a part of Squad four and is renamed Zombie. Zombie soon discovers the "soldiers" are actually aliens in disguise. He manages to escape with Cassie and Sammy.

Sissy Parish- Ben's little sister. She was killed by intruders while escaping her house with Ben. In a moment stricken with fear, he left her behind. He wears her locket around his neck in memory of her. She was described by Cassie to be hoisted onto Ben's shoulders after his football games, and she would join him in a parade. He says he misses Sissy terribly.

Samuel Jackson Sullivan – Cassie's younger brother who is 5 years old; he is described as having messy brown hair and large, teddy bear eyes. He is taken away from the refugee camp where he, his father, and Cassie had stayed. He is taken to Camp Haven to join Squad 53, after being renamed Nugget. Nugget and Zombie become good friends, and Zombie acts like Sam's big brother. Sammy manages to escape with Cassie and Zombie at the end of the novel.

Marika/Ringer – a girl who joins Squad 53 after Tank, a former member, goes "Dorothy" (slang for crazy); she is described as tall and skinny, with pale white skin and long, glossy, straight black hair, three quarters Asian and a quarter Apache. She is the best shot in the group and is very quiet, yet scary. She and Zombie become friends, and she helps him shoot better. She is often threatening and serious toward the other squad members, but can also be vulnerable at times.

Commander Vosch – the leader of the soldiers and the mastermind behind the plans. He is very sadistic, cruel, and unfeeling. He at first is shown as a "hero" to those at Cassie's refugee camp, but he soon reveals his true nature by personally killing Cassie's father, destroying the camp, and abducting the children, including Sam, to fight. He is also responsible for Camp Haven and becomes familiar with Cassie, Ringer, and Ben Parish.

Dumbo – a member of Squad 53; he is around 12 years old, has huge ears, and is good with medicine and anatomy.

Allison/Teacup – a member of Squad 53; she is seven years old. Originally, she was the only girl, and was the youngest in the squad before Nugget and Ringer arrived.

Poundcake – a member of Squad 53; he is around 8 years old, large and chubby, and rarely speaks, but is good with a gun.

Flintstone – the former leader of Squad 53; he was around 16 years old and had a uni-brow. He often challenged Zombie's authority, mainly in jealousy over taking his job as leader. Flintstone ends up going crazy or "going dorothy" and ends up dead.

Tank – a former member of Squad 53. He went "Dorothy" (crazy) and was taken away. Dumbo and Zombie discover him dead in the P&D (Processing and Disposal) hangar.

Kenny/Oompa – a member of Squad 53; he was around 8 or 9 years old, chubby, and had crooked teeth. After Zombie sets off an explosion, Oompa is impaled with shrapnel and dies after an unsuccessful attempt to save him.


First Wave: Lights Out: During the first wave, the Others release an EMP wave that takes out all electronics/lights/technology and kills half a million people by shorting out all moving vehicles, including planes in mid-flight.

Second wave: Surf's Up: The Others, realizing that roughly 40 percent of Earth's population lives within 60 miles (97 km) of coastline, drop enormous rods "twice as tall as the Empire State Building and three times as heavy" (45) onto the Earth's fault lines, causing massive tsunamis that wipe out three billion people.

Third wave: Pestilence: The Others launch a scheme to infect as many remaining survivors as possible with a deadly virus. Using the Earth's birds as carriers (via falling excrement), the plague claims 97 percent of remaining survivors. The virus, which resembles an advanced form of Ebola, causes victims to slowly bleed to death until eventually "you've become a viral bomb. And when you explode, you blast everyone around you with the virus" (46).

Fourth wave: Silencers: After the 3rd wave, the remaining human population tries desperately to survive off whatever resources remain by looting, all the while clinging to the hope that "the people in charge", wherever they may be, are working toward a solution. Eventually, this belief seems legitimate when an impressive battalion of soldiers (with functioning vehicles) arrives at the makeshift camp where Cassie, Sam, and her father are staying. The soldiers and commander, however, only appear interested in the children and promptly load them onto waiting buses before ordering all the adults into the camp barracks. Once the humans are surrounded, Commander Vosch orders a massacre and kills everyone at the camp. Cassie, however, narrowly escapes and witnesses her father's death by Vosch's hand. At this moment, the 4th wave becomes clear: not all "humans" are actually humans.

Fifth wave: The Fifth wave is referenced in "The Last Star".


Critical reception of the book has been very positive. It received starred reviews from both Publishers Weekly and Kirkus,[3][4] and reviewers have noted that it has broad audience appeal, blurring the lines between young adult and adult fiction, and between genre and mainstream fiction, so that it cannot be easily wedged into one genre despite having many of the characteristics of young adult fiction.[1][5] The New York Times listed it as one of the best young adult books of 2013,[6] and it was a Goodreads finalist for Best Young Adult Fantasy or Science Fiction novel in 2013.[7]


The 5th Wave is the first book in a trilogy. The second book in the series, The Infinite Sea, was released on September 16, 2014.[8] The third book in the series, The Last Star, was released on May 24, 2016.[9]

Film adaptation[edit]

A film adaption with the same name was released by Columbia Pictures on January 22, 2016. It was directed by J Blakeson, with a screenplay by Susannah Grant, Akiva Goldsman, and Jeff Pinkner.


  1. ^ a b Vilkomerson, Sara (3 May 2013). "The 5th Wave". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 5 December 2013.
  2. ^ Truitt, Brian (May 6, 2013). "Twilight time for aliens in Rick Yancey's '5th Wave'". USA Today. Archived from the original on 12 June 2013. Retrieved 5 December 2013.
  3. ^ "Children's Book Review: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 9 September 2017.
  4. ^ "THE 5TH WAVE by Rick Yancey | Kirkus Reviews". Kirkus Reviews. 6 March 2013. Retrieved 5 December 2013.
  5. ^ Cronin, Justin (9 May 2013). "'The 5th Wave,' by Rick Yancey". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 December 2013.
  6. ^ Schulten, Katherine (4 December 2013). "What Are the Best Things You've Read, Watched, Heard or Played This Year?". The Learning Network. Retrieved 5 December 2013.
  7. ^ "Best Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction 2013 — Goodreads Choice Awards". Goodreads. Retrieved 5 December 2013.
  8. ^ Brissey, Breia (4 September 2014). "'The Infinite Sea': Watch the trailer for Rick Yancey's '5th Wave' sequel". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 4 February 2015.
  9. ^ Yancey, Rick (24 May 2016). "The Last Star: The Final Book of The 5th Wave". Amazon. G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers. Retrieved 5 May 2015.

External links[edit]