The 5th Wave
Author: Rick Yancey
Release: May 7th 2013
Genre: Post-Apocalypse, Aliens, YA
#1 in the 5th Wave trilogy
Sequels: The Infinite Sea (#2), The Last Star (#3)
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.
Oh, boy. This is actually hard to review. But I'll try.
You know, I've heard only good things about The 5th Wave. So far, I haven't stumbled across one single person who didn't like it at all, and I can definitely see why that is. However, I did have a few issues with the book. Despite those issues, though, I was still able to adore the book and everything, so... 4.5 stars it is. Still, I'm going to start tackling those problems first.
There's the romance, which bugged the hell out of me and was probably the main thing annoying me about the book. There was this semi-insta-love between Cassie and Evan, and, warning mild spoiler, Evan is a Silencer. He's an alien out to kill humans. But, he shoots Cassie in the leg because he can't bear shooting her in the head, and then he falls in love with her and nurses her back to health and — What? What? This starcrossed-lover/Romeo-and-Juliet romance thingy did not work out for me at all. Evan tries to kill Cassie, but for reasons fucking beyond me he falls in love with her and decides to spare her. Why? What's so special about Cassie? Why does he stalk her, watch her from afar, go through her belongings? We never get that. And then Cassie, not afraid to shoot a guy if she wasn't sure whether he was human or alien, turns to mush when staring into his chocolaty, puppy dog eyes. Nope. Did not work for me at all.
Second: the alternating POVs. I was prepared for this, but it still threw me sometimes. While I applaud Yancey for managing not to make the POVs sound the same, they were a bit similar at times which made me question which POV I was currently reading. Why couldn't he have titled his POVs? Why? It was pretty darn obvious which POVs I was reading all the time, so I don't see the point.
Then, somewhere around the halftime mark, I was getting very frustrated with this book. I kept expecting and wanting our two main protagonists, Zombie and Cassie, to meet up already, but they never did until the last fifty pages or something. I simply hate dragging something like that out as long as you can. Hated it about Rick Riordan and hate it about Rick Yancey.
Furthermore, I didn't like Cassie's flashbacks back to her life before the Arrival of the Others, and how it changed throughout the first four waves. Or well, I did like them, because it was nice to follow the change and the world-building was outstanding. But the timing... I mean, there was this battle with the Silencer, who shoots at her and she's fighting for her life, and suddenly she's remembering how it was at that camp with her Dad and her brother and I'm left wondering what the hell happens now with the Silencer, and she's like "lol nope I'm going to tell you about the 3rd Wave now!" And then I'm like, "Nonono, I want to know what happens to you now!", but she'll have none of it and retorts, "Shut the fuck up you lil piece of shit I'mma talk about something else now."
But, yes, I did like this book. After I took a leisurely stroll throughout the first eighty pages, I somehow got too invested into this and couldn't put it down. I was on page 130 one second, and the next I look at the page count and somehow it's suddenly page 240. Additionally, I loved the narration. It was kickass, down to the point and modern, exactly like a teenager would sound. And that goes for both Cassie and Zombie, they both sounded like a girl/guy their age would if thrown into a post-apocalyptic world facing certain death. It wasn't too serious and there was the perfect amount of entertainment and humour in it, successfully managing not to make this book way too bleak and hopeless. The writing was very smooth and absolutely lovely, being very poetic and philosophical. Just the way I like it. I definitely have to check out Yancey's other works.
The characters were really good, very complex and rounded. Even though they weren't likeable at all times, they were fleshed out and somehow their being unlikeable made them even more real. Great characterization work there. Character arcs were interesting and defined the characters reasonably. Cassie was badass — most of the time — and determined, with a fierce loyalty that I admired in her. Evan was nice all in all, although his charms definitely did not work on me. Zombie was a good character as well, and a very intriguing one at that. I'm looking forward to seeing more of him in the next book. Other characters, like Ringer or the rest of Zombie's squad were okay, although not too memorable. Ringer reminded me a bit of Wren from Reboot, or more like how Wren should have been. I didn't develop warm feelings for her, but overall, she was a good character. And another female bamf, so there's plus points for that, I guess.
Plot twists, jfc. Zombie's real identity was a big one, at least for me, because I had to pause, go to goodreads, type up a status update along the lines of "OH MY GOD WHAT." Many twists and revelations in here that I didn't expect and kept me turning the pages. Plus there was an actual book-long plot, and not only that, said plot was interesting! I liked following it.
All in all, a very satisfying book. I'll be eagerly awaiting the next book, which comes out in October something 2014.