I heard a great deal of buzz about this book and am happy to say it surpassed my expectations! This is an excellent read for fans of The Hunger Games trilogy. The story begins with Cassie in the woods. She is alone. It is quiet… too quiet. The setting reminds me of The Walking Dead. Everyone she loves is dead or missing. She wonders if she is the last human on earth and the quiet is so intense that she feels she can hear the stars scraping together. Aliens who wait in a ship floating serenely in the atmosphere have killed most of mankind in a series of waves which included turning off all electricity and a plague that killed 97% of the population. Those who survived are hunted by stealth killers called silencers. Will there be a 5th wave? What do the aliens have planned next. You would think Cassie would just give up. But she needs to find her little brother and that keeps her going. This book is told in different sections with different points of view. The storytelling grabbed me immediately and I hated to put it down. The aliens could be anywhere. We have no idea what they look like. They could look human but no one is sure. The humans can only assume they are being wiped out so the aliens can move in. We hear points of view from Cassie, her little brother Sammy, a boy she knew in high school who is now a soldier and a man who may or may not be entirely human. This book has it all, action, survival and some romance. There is something for everyone here. I am thrilled it is a series because I miss the characters and want to know more.
Ideas for discussing with teens:
Discuss page 51 where Cassie talks about how her dad “pushed back against the darkness.”
Which books would you keep with you if you could only take two?
What would you keep in you backpack?
What would you have done at the beginning of the book when Cassie killed the man in the store and found out he only had a crucifix in his hand?
Discuss the Mayfly chapter and what happens between Cassie and Evan.
Discuss when Tank said, “The chain is only as strong as the weakest link. Only the strong survive.” (pg 237)
Discuss when Evan said, “you can’t make yourself believe anything. But you can let yourself believe. You can allow yourself to trust.” (pg 280)
Discuss when Zombie (Ben) said, “By killing us, they showed us the idiocy of stuff. The guy who owned this BMW? He’s in the same place as the woman who owned the Kia.”
Discuss when Cassie sees Ben again for the first time.
Discuss this passage, “The world holds its breath, because there’s really no guarantee that the sun will rise. That there was a yesterday doesn’t mean there will be a tomorrow.” (pg 456)