Saturday, September 13, 2014

Elizabeth Eckhart Guest Blogs: 5th Wave Jumps on the Dystopian Bandwagon

If you’ve kept an eye on the box office lately, you’ve probably noticed the slew of YA books being turned into films. More specifically it seems that dystopian themed books are the flavor of the moment: we’ve got The Hunger Games, Divergent, Ender’s Game, and, most recently, The Giver all making the leap from the page to film (for YA dystopian novices they’re all highly recommended and are easily available on demand) . Now, joining those films is The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey.
The book is the first in a planned trilogy which centers on a 16 year old girl named Cassie Sullivan. She’s so far survived the first four waves of alien invasions, but there’s a fifth one rapidly approaching. The aliens look like humans, and will kill anyone they meet while traveling in the countryside and backroads, so Cassie can’t trust a soul while traveling alone in the crumbling ruins of society as she used to know it. However, in her quest to find and save her brother she meets a fellow survivor named Evan Walker - but can she trust him?

The book earned Yancey solid reviews, with the New York Times saying, “it’s a testament to Yancey’s skill that for the duration of this grown-up’s reading, I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.” Entertainment Weekly agreed, hailing it as “a remarkable, not-to-be-missed-under-any-circumstances book”. Readers loved it as much as critics with over 240,000 hardcover copies and 55,000 e-books sold in its first year.
While the book series differs from many of the other big series popular recently in the YA dystopian genre in that it is much more sci-fi oriented, it doesn’t quite reach that Star Trek/Star Wars area of unbelievability that would likely turn away its core audience. It doesn’t seem as far fetched as, for instance, teenagers fighting to the death for entertainment of others, or a world where all color, emotion, pain, and feeling are held by a lone man.
Catching onto the viability of this series first was Sony Pictures along with producers Graham King and Tobey Maguire, who snatched up the film rights to the series before it even hit store shelves. The film was in pre-production and casting for about a year before they announced they’d casting soon-to-be-”it”-girl Chloe Grace Moretz as Cassie, the lead character. They also announced they’d hired directed J. Blakeson (best known for The Disappearance of Alice Creed) as well as the relatively unknown actors Nick Robinson as Ben Parish, Malaika Monroe as Ringer, and Alex Roe as the mysterious Evan Walker.
Bringing some extra star power to the cast is Liev Schreiber who just signed on to play the villainous Colonel Vosch. Outside of the casting, we do know that the book was adapted by screenwriter Susannah Grant who wrote the screenplays for such hits as Ever After, Erin Brockovich (which earned her an Academy Award nomination), Pocahontas, and the 90’s television series Party of Five. To say the book was in good hands is clearly an understatement.

Aside from that, not much is known about this exciting new film except for its release date, which is slated to be January 29, 2016. If you’re not looking forward to waiting that long for your next fix, you’re in luck! The second book in the series, titled The Infinite Sea is due to be released on September 16th. However, if you’re more impatient than that, there has been a trailer for it released and Britain’s Daily Express newspaper got an exclusive sneak peak at the book and have an extract available on their website for you to whet your appetite with.

Elizabeth, thanks again!  Great post!

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