Sunday 14 July 2013

The 5th Wave review

The 5th Wave
Rick Yancey
May 7th 2013
Puffin Books

The Passage meets The Hunger Games in a gripping new series from Carnegie-shortlisted 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. 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, until Cassie meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan may be her only hope for rescuing her brother and even saving herself. Now she must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up. Cassie Sullivan gets up.

The 5th Wave took me a while to get into, and with the fact that there are a few different POVs in there took me a while to adjust to, but by the end I struggled to put it down and was swept up by Cassie's story, and just the whole alien apocalypse thing worked really well. But I didn't think that out of all the apocalypse books that I've read it was particularly special or amazing or new. I just really like apocalypse books.

Cassie was easily my favourite POV character in the 5th Wave, by far. Overall, there are four, but two of them only happen once (that's quite a confusing sentence, isn't it...) but Cassie's was, in my opinion, the most likable and the most relatable. She was super witty and sarcastic which was sort of different to most main characters you read about in post-apocalyptic situations because a lot of the time there isn't really that much time for humour between the whole Everyone-I-Know-Is-Dead thing and the Holy-Shit-Apocalypse thing. And I will admit I was a bit worried about it, that it would seem out of place and forced in there to make Cassie, I don't know, more likable or something, but it really wasn't like that at all. It felt really true to her character, and I hope that if there was ever an apocalypse and I somehow survived until the end, I would go through it with a sharp sense of humour, otherwise I'd probably go crazy. In fact, going crazy is probably kind of a given... I'm still not sure if I bought the romance, though. At times it felt a bit creepy and insta-lovey, but again, it is an apocalypse book, and in that context it sort of works.

I did enjoy Zombie's POV, too, but I wasn't as invested in him as a character as I was with Cassie, and sometimes I would find myself reading one of his sections and just wanting it to go back to Cassie, but most of the time I was fairly absorbed, and as his story got further along, it did get a lot more interesting, especially towards the end (really, though, if the climax of the book isn't really absorbing in a book about the alien apocalypse then you're definitely doing something wrong.) I'll try not to spoil anything, but it did reveal a lot about what the actual 5th Wave was and how it was going down and it contributed a lot to the confusion about what was happening, as Zombie thought it was one thing and Cassie thought it was completely the other thing.

The plot was really exciting, and it did keep me on edge, but personally I didn't really find it scary at all which was kind of a disappointment because I like scary books, and the whole idea of aliens who are intelligent enough to better all our technology and systematically murder the entire human race generally is a frightening concept, so I don't know why this time around it wasn't that bad. But that being said, if it was a film I probably would've cacked my pants. It was really fast-paced and absorbing, though, and I struggled to put it down whenever I picked it up. Because of the different points of view, and each POV character having a different idea about what was going on, there was a lot of ambiguity and just as soon as I'd made up my mind about what was actually going on, something would happen and I'd start to doubt it again, so it wasn't predictable at all. Also, because of the whole situation, you never really know who to trust as a character, even the POV characters. Any of them could be anything and you never know who's side they're on. I can't really see how it's ever going to end well, though. Like, the only possible way I can see this series ending is with everyone dying, so I'll be looking forward to seeing if there will actually be any human survivors at the end of this apocalypse or if it's just going to be grim and bloody.

The 5th Wave was a high octane alien apocalypse adventure, with an exciting story and interesting characters and the occasional scary moment, and I for one am looking forward to seeing what the hell is actually going to happen next.


  1. Wow, utter annihilation of the human race is the only way you can see this series ending? That's a pretty big deal, haha.

    We've definitely heard a lot of buzz about this book, but your review seems the most even-handed and fitting with our tastes. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it!

  2. I was disappointed by the lack of scariness too. Overall I was expecting it to be a lot more exciting and I ended up being a little let down. I'm glad you enjoyed it though! :)

    Julia @ That Hapa Chick


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