Review: The 5th Wave

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

The Passage meets Ender’s Game in an epic new series from award-winning author Rick Yancey.

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

(Description from Goodreads)

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

I must admit, this book took me a lot longer to read than YA books normally do. Actually, as bad as it is to say, I think it took me a little less than a month to finish. Not entirely sure why, it just took me a super long time to finish it. I think it had something to do with the pace of the book. This book has been highly anticipated in the YA world to be a hit for 2013 and I can clearly see why. Despite the time it took me to read it, it really was a great read.

Something that threw me off about this book was how it was told. There were several perspectives it was told from, the main ones from Cassie, the noted main character, and Ben, a former classmate of Cassie’s before the invasion. I enjoyed getting to read from different perspectives as the story unfolded, but until I recognized the pattern, it really had me confused momentarily. The beginning, at least for me, was a little slow to pick up. It wasn’t until it was perhaps halfway through that I really started to get into the story. Don’t get me wrong, the entire book was magnificent, but it just took me a lot longer to get into it than I normally would.

The characters are my favorite part about The 5th Wave. Of course, I’m partial to characters in general; characters are the first aspect of a book that I go to when reviewing a book. There were so many great characters…Cassie, Evan, Ben/Zombie, Sam/Nugget, Ringer, and a select few more were just wonderful. The relationships that develop between the characters are gripping and somewhat realistic, at least for what was happening in the book. Of course, romance is probably the last thing I would be thinking about if an alien invasion happened and I was one of the few survivors. Either way, it was still great and captivating.

The idea of aliens always puts up a red flag for me. I’m not entirely sure why, but a book that involves the concept of aliens just doesn’t do it for me; I guess it’s because I automatically think of aliens as those green creatures with big heads and swollen black eyes. Yick. Not my thing. But Yancey takes it a step further in creepiness by making it unknown what the aliens look like. The humans never see them…at least, that’s what they think. But how can they know for sure? It’s like the tagline of the book says…”trust no one.” This is repeated several times throughout the book, though sometimes the characters forget their own words.

Post-apocalyptic books tend to make you think about what would you do if something truly horrific happened. What would you do if aliens started to invade and destroyed everyone and everything in the process? Would you give up? Would you fight on? Honestly, I have no idea what I would do. I’d probably be the person who just curled up in a ball and cried until I died, as morbid as that is. The 5th Wave definitely didn’t shy away from the gruesome and the heart-wrenching, making it even more of a realistic telling of what could possibly happen if something like that did happen. Your heart goes out to Cassie as she suffers from loss throughout the entire book, with a glimmer of redemption at the end.

Action is the name of the game, at least when it comes to Ben’s perspective. Even with Cassie on her own for some time through the book, there is a great deal of action. Of course, with action that focuses on an all-out war, there’s a lot of terminology that sometimes is confusing. I’m not an expert on war or weapons by any stretch of the imagination, so whenever they mentioned types of guns or drills or whatnot, I was going “huh?” as if that would clear it up for me. I probably should have taken the time to Google a few of the terms in order to gain a better image in my head about what was being discussed, but I just never thought of it. Probably would have helped a bit. Oh well, it wasn’t enough to completely leave me baffled as to what was going on, just some minor details that I had a hard time picturing.

Really and truly this was a phenomenal YA read. Despite what I found to be slow parts and the flip flopping of perspectives to be sometimes confusing, the content was fantastic. Like The Hunger Games, I have a feeling this is going to become a new hit with many, as it is merely the first book in a series or trilogy (not entirely sure how many books it will be at this point.) The ending was fast-paced and abrupt, as it may leave some readers feeling like it was unfinished. Come on sequel!

For those who are interested, the book trailer is fantastic. Check it out.

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One thought on “Review: The 5th Wave

  1. I was so glad to see this review as I just finished the book and was eager for someone else’s opinion. I thought the book was good, really good – but not great. Even though I couldn’t quite put my finger on why though after reading your review I think that you’re right and it could have been the pacing. It also felt just a little slow to me. That said the characters great, Nugget/Sam being my favorite. I also found the ending to be jarringly abrupt, and I’m usually a fan of unconventional endings but this one left me feeling a tad bit cheated maybe? That said the writing is solid and I think worth the read.

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