There were two things that kept running through my mind: Noah Hawley‘s A Conspiracy of Tall Men and Suzanne Collins‘ The Hunger Games (maybe you’ve heard of it). I’m not really suggesting that Yancey’s created some sort of Hawley-Collins hybrid, but this affected me the same way those two did.
I remember very little about Hawley’s book (it was 1999, in my defense) — I remember enjoying it and being really creeped out and feeling paranoid. A feeling that lasted a little longer than the book, as I recall.
I remember Collins better, obviously. And whatever issues and problems the first of Katniss’ adventures had, it grabbed me by the throat and wouldn’t let me go until well after the runaway freight train of a story had come to it’s adrenaline-fueled conclusion.
I really don’t know how to discuss the story of The 5th Wave without spoiling the heck out of it. But I can tell you that it hit me like those two books did. The various storylines are gripping, and fast-paced and make you wish you could turn the pages faster. And once you get your brain wrapped around the devastation being unleashed on earth, the creepiness and paranoia are the order of the day.
This isn’t one of the better books I’ve read lately — in terms of character, craft, literary value, etc. — but it’s just about the most effective and affecting. Hawley gets under your skin with the skill of a seasoned pro, makes your emotions and reactions dance like a marionette for him, and leaves you hungry for more.
I have to admit, I miss the Yancey of Alfred Knopf and The Highly Effective Detective books — they just felt different. They were fun — as enjoyable as this is, it wasn’t fun. And I liked the characters (most of them), wanted to spend time with them. Not so sure I like these characters as people. But, until Yancey gets around to it (if he does), I’ll gladly take pulse-pounding excitement and mind-bendy plots.