Note: There are no spoilers in this review (so basically I pretty much don’t say much of anything).
This is the second book in the post-apocalyptic series that began with the widely-acclaimed The 5th Wave.
Book One primarily focuses on Cassie Sullivan, 16, who survives four waves of attacks by alien invaders which reduced the population of Earth from some seven billion to only a couple hundred thousand. Cassie has a number of goals: to stay alive, to find her little brother and rescue him if he is still alive, and above all, to stay human. To become like the aliens – blindly killing, lacking compassion, and never recognizing the value of individuals – is to lose the war in every way. The probability of Cassie attaining any of her goals is low, until she is offered help by another survivor, Evan Walker. But this is a world in which it is very difficult to determine who can be trusted, or who is even human, because the enemy looks just like us.
Book Two continues this riveting story, and this time it is the girl Ringer whose point of view dominates. And in this book, the survivors start questioning all of their previous beliefs, because they just don’t make sense.
Discussion: Yancey has created a story in which a small number of people are confronted by overwhelming odds against the possibility of survival. Yet, he never causes us to lose faith in realism. Yes, there are some technological advances in the plot, but they don’t seem out of the realm of possibility. There are not happy outcomes for all the main protagonists – far from it. And most importantly, there are no deus ex machini to help anyone survive. Only two factors seem to make any difference whatsoever: luck, and love, and even those don’t always suffice.
Evaluation: This book is definitely not a standalone, but is a must-read for fans of Book One; it has some big surprises in store for those who are following the series. I enjoyed it a lot, but it is definitely a trilogy “middle child.”
Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group, a member of Penguin Group (USA), 2014
Note: Hollywood adapted the story, casting Chloë Grace Moretz as heroine Cassie Sullivan.