Monday, April 10, 2017

Review: The 5th Wave

The 5th Wave The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The "alien invasion" story is one that has been done countless times. So we are not treading any new ground here. I came across the 5th Wave late to the game, I admit. There has already been a movie made based on the book and this series is one of the more popular in the YA genre. What I expected was your standard alien invasion book, entertaining yet light on character development. Frankly I was looking for something light to read because what I had been reading has been fairly intense. What I wasn't expecting was a story that was not only as intense as the books I was reading, but was incredibly complex and well-written. The story begins in Dayton, OH where we find the main character Cassie trying to stay alive as she journeys through the woods after an alien takeover where 97% of the earth's population has been wiped out. The wipe-out occurs in 5 separate waves (hence the title). The first wave takes out all electronic communication and the power grid. The second wave happens in the form of a Tsunami initiated by the aliens taking out all of the existing life living on the coasts of the major continents. The third wave takes place by way of a devastating plague that is carried by birds. Once the humans are tenderized enough and depleted after the first three waves, the fourth wave is implemented. During this wave, humans who were long ago implanted with alien nano-technology at birth begin to "awaken" to their true mission set out by the aliens. These humans are called "silencers" since it is their job to hunt down the remaining uninfected human population and snuff out their lives. The fifth wave is the very last and entails the recruiting of the last vestiges of human children to form a sort of special militia. They are tricked into thinking that they are actually supposed to kill the aliens but in actuality, they are being used by cleverly disguised aliens to kill their own kind. It is during the fifth wave that we pick up Cassie's story. Her entire family, other than her brother Sammy, have been either killed by the aliens or the plague. She is now a lone rogue human battling the aliens in a form of guerrilla style as she attempts to find her brother, whom the aliens have captured and drafted into the child militia. Her ordeal is both intense and empowering and I was glad to see Rick Yancey create such an incredibly strong female character. She's a badass from the first page but also shows a very vulnerable side from time to time as she attempts to deal with the trauma of losing her family and also the existence of a God who would allow humanity to be wiped out so brutally. I found the 5th Wave to be one of the biggest surprises of my reading life. What an amazingly written story that will stay with me for a very long time. Be prepared for many plot twists and lots of action as well. The breakneck pace culminates in a very satisfying conclusion that will eventually continue in the next two books. I can't wait to read the backstory and history of how the aliens came to be and for what purpose they attacked earth. Great book that I highly recommend.

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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Review: Fingerprints of the Gods: The Evidence of Earth's Lost Civilization

Fingerprints of the Gods: The Evidence of Earth's Lost Civilization Fingerprints of the Gods: The Evidence of Earth's Lost Civilization by Graham Hancock
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So a little background, I have always been obsessed with unexplained phenomena. As a 10 year-old boy, I would walk to the public library and check out multiple books on the Loch Ness Monster, Sasquatch, The Pyramids, Easter Island, etc.... It was just ingrained in me that if there was a TV show on about these types of things, or a book that just came out, I was all over it. There's my starting point. Lately, this stuff has been extremely in-style with the popularity of shows like Ancient Aliens. So believe me, I get it and I love it. Graham Hancock is a guy that comes across as one of the more measured and if you will "less crazy" purveyors of ancient phenomena. Everybody knows Giorgio Tsoukalos because of the crazy hair and the bombastic statements. Hancock is sort of the professorial-looking dude who actually looks and sounds like he knows what he's talking about. So it was with great pleasure that I came across Fingerprints of the Gods. It is a book that has been out for some 20 odd years but I never got around to checking it out. Well all I will say is that if you love finding out a lot about the ruins of Machu Pichu, the mysterious Nazca Lines of Peru, how Antarctica was at one time not covered with ice and mapped out this way by explorers as recently as 600 years ago, the ancient pyramids of Giza, Easter Island, etc.... then you need to read this book. Hancock does a great job of presenting his theories while never portraying them as the only definitive answer. I had a lot of fun reading each chapter and then going online to "fact-check" what Graham had just presented. Of course the orthodox historians had perfectly reasonable explanations and also more believable ones, but it was very entertaining to compare the two schools of thought. I'm not naive, I know that Hancock's theories are simply to spark the imagination and most-likely pretty far from the actual truth. This doesn't mean that I didn't get a heck of a lot of enjoyment out of reading Fingerprints of the Gods though. Just take it with a grain of salt. But if you are into this kind of thing, this is about as good as it gets. I'm looking forward to reading the sequel Magicians of the Gods.

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