Book Review: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

5th Wave

Synopsis: 

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.

*Synopsis from Goodreads

Rating: 3.9/5

*******************SPOILERS INCLUDED AFTER THIS POINT. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!!!*****************

Reasons to Read:

1. The Characters

2. The Setting & Believability

The Characters

Okay, so this book had multiple point of views which was an interesting choice to make. Have you ever read a novel where you think that it couldn’t have been written any other way, it couldn’t have ended any other way? This is one of those books. It just made sense to have multiple character perspectives. I don’t think that only having the main character, Cassie Sullivan’s point of view was enough. So, the author, Rick Yancey, gives us Cassie, Ben (Zombie), Evan (the Silencer), and Sammy’s (Nugget) point of view. The bulk of this novel is told by Cassie but I thought it was an interesting addition to have Ben, Evan, and Sammy’s point of view as well (even though Sammy only had one chapter dedicated to him).

Cassie was a really interesting character. I liked her, which is odd considering that I put this book down because I thought it was boring a few months before. I decided to give it another go and I was surprised. Cassie was a sarcastic, funny, and realistic character. She is scared out of her mind but she keeps on going. Sometimes, however, I think that the author tried to make her too funny and sometimes it seemed contrived. Also, I really liked how more than half of the novel is Cassie on her own. She doesn’t make any contact with anyone, stays in her little tent, writes in her diary, and sometimes cries herself to sleep at night. She remembers her high school crush, since the alien attack was quite recent, which though it was annoying seemed realistic. She was clinging to things from her life before the attack but she doesn’t ignore the reality of her situation now. What added to how believable her character is was the scene where she met the Crucifix soldier. Already, Cassie and the author have established that this world is a kill or be killed type of world. You can’t trust anyone because the aliens look like humans. I think this mentality is what lead Cassie to kill the soldier. Her reaction is plausible considering that she can’t trust anyone. To some it may seem brutal but I think the author did a good job of showing her hesitance since she doesn’t pull the trigger immediately (showing she does have a sense of morals) but in the end, she does pull the trigger because she thinks the wounded soldier is pulling out a gun (it was actually a crucifix necklace he was pulling out). I think sometimes authors in YA are too scared to go dark but this scene stays true to the world Yancey has created and he is not scared to show the brutality of the world and what it can do to a person’s mind.

Ben or Zombie, is another character. I didn’t like him initially but he grew on me. I actually started liking him more than Cassie. He doesn’t remember Cassie from school or the “babies” Cassie mentions in her chapter. He was the popular jock boy. You can see that he still holds on to his old ways. Especially when he meets Ringer, he always tries to get her to smile and throws his boyish grin towards her. The attack hasn’t affected him as badly. However, I think he has a lot of character development in the camp. He has to become this tough soldier but the popular boy still resides inside of him. It’s interesting to see that part of him be picked away over the course of the story. He really takes on a brother-mentor like role with Sammy (Nugget). He looks out for him and even stands up to the drill sergeant earning him the role of captain of the team. He is also a believable character because he hates the sergeant and doesn’t say anything but you can see the defiance through his actions. He keeps doing knuckle pushups even though he thinks he can’t do anymore. He almost reaches a hundred but collapses. He has strong will and pushes himself to extremes (which, is one of the reasons Ringer is impressed by him).

Sammy, though he had a short section, is developed through his and Cassie’s point of view. Cassie portrays him as this small, innocent boy who clings to his bear. Even Sammy’s point of view displays him this way but you can see he has this caring nature to him when he tries to calm Megan down. He really takes on a more adult like role when he tells her it will be okay. However, he changes very quickly when he gets to the “survivor” camp. His innocence is slowly stripped away as he becomes Nugget. He shocked me multiple times through the story. He isn’t as innocent and fragile like most people think. He even shocks Cassie when he says, “Dad is dead,” when she is having a hard time getting the words out. He becomes a strong character over time and I really grew to love the kid.

Evan, oh, Evan. What can I say about him? He had the least amount of character development. I think Yancey had an interesting character arc developing when he displayed a Silencer having second doubts about killing a human. His character had so much potential instead of being cast as the love interest to Cassie. I wanted to see more of his struggle between who he is and who he wants to be. When Cassie meets Evan, I already knew he was the Silencer. There was no suspense or mystery there. His character was a let down in this book but hopefully he is better developed in coming up books.

Ringer! I just had to include her. I didn’t know what to think of her when I first met her. She doesn’t have a chapter dedicated to her point of view but we do get hints of her character from Zombie’s point of view. She is an excellent shooter and leader. She even gets reassigned to Zombie’s group to better train the others. It’s obvious that Zombie has a thing for her but their relationship is much more than that and she quickly disproves the notion of being cast as a love interest. She doesn’t respond to Zombie’s advances and only focuses on making the group better and winning. She is solely focused on surviving; which is why I grew to like her. She disproved any judgments I had about her quickly. She isn’t your typical character. I preferred her over Cassie. She is much smarter than I gave her credit for and she proved this when she realized that the green markers weren’t aliens but were humans and that they were the 5th wave. They were being trained to become the alien’s soldier to kill the surviving humans. She established that she isn’t some stupid “follow what you are told” soldier. She has a mind of her own and she knows how to use it.

Finally, Vosch. He also didn’t have a separate point of view in this book, but he is an interesting villain. He has this weird Zen-like thing going for him. He comes off very philosophical and wants his soldiers, especially Zombie and Ringer, to grasp what he is trying to do. He is like that teacher who doesn’t give you the answers but lets you figure it out on your own. Aren’t those always the most interesting villains. You just hate to love them!

Setting & Believability

I have always been interested by apocalyptic, post-apocalyptic, end of the world types of books. I’ve never really read an alien book that was even half as interesting as this one. Books like Obsidian ruined it for me with the whole love story arc. The setting of this novel, despite all odds, really drew me in. This novel takes us through each wave from one point of view to another. Cassie really breaks down what each wave was. That is where the believability comes in. This could actually happen in real life! Aren’t they always the most interesting and scariest books to read?

This book was realistic in that it involved a disease outbreak, natural disasters like earthquakes, and technology failure. Yeah, the alien invasion part is a little far-fetched but the inclusion of realistic situations make this novel believable.

The love story wasn’t believable, as I said before. I think the love story was the weakest point in the book. Zombie and Ringer’s flirtation (well, more like Zombie flirting with her) seemed more believable. He flirts with her, she puts him down. However, this is an air of respect between them that made me root for them. I would be okay if Ringer and Zombie didn’t end up together but I really liked seeing them work together. Evan and Cassie on the other hand made me gag. Cassie goes on and on for pages about not being able to trust anyone and the second she meets this guy she lets him kiss her. She is suspicious throughout their relationship and when he gives her some bullshit excuse (even though she acknowledges it sounds suspicious), she gives Evan the benefit of the doubt. Also, I couldn’t believe that a Silencer wouldn’t kill someone because he was suddenly in love with her. I may believe that he was intrigued with her fighting spirit and defiance but falling in love with her over that? Nope. Uh-uh. The love story itself made me irritated whenever Cassie or Evan’s point of view came up. It wasn’t true to Cassie’s character and I heavily started disliking Evan going on and on about Cassie for Cassiopeia and crap.

Also, the writing irritated me a little. There were certain lines that were almost word for word in each of the point of views. Nobody thinks the same exact words and sometimes, the characters seemed to merge into one character. I felt like Yancey was trying too hard to connect the individual storylines and ended up being repetitive in the things he said. They showed up in all the point of views that made me go, huh?

All in all, beside these few irritations, this book is worth the read. I already have the second book ordered and have started reading. Keep an eye for this one. I think it has the potential to blow your mind!

Peace.

Sounale

Book Reviewer

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