Wednesday 29 October 2014

Book Review - The 5th Wave

The 5th Wave
Author: Rick Yancey
Series: The 5th Wave #1
Genres: Science Fiction, Dystopian | Young Adult
Release Date: 7th May 2013
Publishers: Penguin
No. Pages: 480
Source: Borrowed
Buy From: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Waterstones
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.

I guess the first thing to do is to confess. The 5th Wave was never a book that was really on my TBR, it wasn't a book I thought I'd enjoy a large amount, neither is it in a genre I feel strongly on - science fiction and dystopian reads have been very middle ground for me and I was well aware that with the love this book had, there was a high chance it would fall into the same circle, and sadly, it did. I wad disappointed by the attention this book has and how that attention made me think my instints were incorrect, yet I don't regret my reading it as it really wasn't that bad of a book.. it was in fact, quite a good read.

I knew this novel was about aliens, I mean, lets be real here, you either get that from the synopsis, or you've heard the word on the grapevine, you just know and even with my bad experiences in the past with aliens (The Host) I still thought this novel had something new to bring to the table and really, it did, much more than with The Host. The 5th Wave focused a lot more on the human nature and what makes us so, our community spirit when faced with the option, our loyalty and love that stands above near enough all else and our need and want to not give up or give in without a fight and this is definitely something I enjoyed about this novel. It allowed me to appreciate and explore what I think makes me very human, the actions I would take if in Cassies position, the effort I would go to to protect and look after the ones I love, how much I would be willing to sacrifice, my morals, my beliefs and even my life, for the greater good and this was what the The 5th Wave is good at, channeling yourself into the novel. These touches of love, of family and of the human nature was some of the best parts of this novel, alongside some absolutely fantastic action scenes, some really quite honest and raw moments of the characters lives and the general feel that these were not your 'welcome to our planet, have yourself a brew' aliens you've read and watched elsewhere. These aliens are violent, they have no feelings (mostly) and they don't hold back, evident in the actions and the 'waves' they caused throughout the novel. Oh, and have I mention how much I liked some of the twists and turns this book had, some of the surprises Yancey had in store, even some of the predictable storylines involved were enjoyable - Yancey took hold of this novel and gave it some welly.

Yet there were things that did let this novel down, mainly centring around the characters. Cassie was a strong character to start with - I loved her strength, her power and need to keep pushing, to find Sammy, to become something the Others should fear and even watching her development through memories, through the flashbacks that she thought about, I thought this was fantastic, and it made what was quite an information dumping area of the novel actually one of two really interesting thirds. She was independent, capable, used her head and most of all, was definitely the leading lady I wanted involved in this novel, yet, cue Evan, this did not stick around. Her attitude, her logic, her common sense vanished when Evan was introduced, and I admit, by the end of The 5th Waves, I did appreciate his character a little and the message her brought to the table, the message of choosing to be human, of following what you trust and believe in, of following somebody and having somebody to die for, but the whole dynamics between Cassie and Evan and they're 'romance' if you could call it that, what was there anyway, really didn't win me over. I was disappointed by how much Cassie changed in those moments, how much she wasn't the Cassie we met at the start and I really felt that the middle third revolving her was disappointing.

But alas, we not left with just her perspective and to my surprise, we were blessed with three - four - four and a half I'd say, and this was very welcome. It allowed for insight on other people, on their feelings and it showed how well Yancey could right these perspectives, although I did have trouble knowing exactly who was who sometimes.. because they brought such an extra level to the story, especially 'Zombie'. He definitely brought something new; he was unexpected, he was surprising and he was so easy to connect to and when Cassie lost some of her charcater, Zombie was the one I moved to, was connected to, understood and appreciated most. There was something much darker, much more inbred in his character, he seemed to have been so much more than Cassie if that was even possible and yet he still made it to the other side. I think his relationships with Ringer, Nugget and his squad was fantastic and his, dare I say it, human nature was one of a kind. The range of characters really kept this novel light, but there were issues with some, and issues with the general logic that these characters should have had, and this left me disappointed.

There were other little issues I had with The 5th Wave, small issues that could be dismissed, but when mixed, really became to big to forget. The middle with Cassie and Evan felt bland and unexciting in comparison to the rest of the novel, the actual logic behind some things, such as bathing being possible without plumbing(?) and people being aware of things without communication(?) and these things were important to me because it meant there was a lack of continuity which let this book down. I can see how and why so many people loved this as much as they did, but I think, much like my feelings about The Hunger Games and The Knife of Never Letting Go, expectations and the lack of 'need' to read the book affected how much I could have enjoyed it. The only thing that could really have allowed me to enjoy reading it more would have been if the Others were really bad, badass, creepy aliens, because there's really not enough of them in the young adult genre. I will be continuing the series on the basis of wanting some answers, but I can say that I don't feel the love as much as others..


  1. You make some pretty good points. But like you, I think a big problem was Cassie. There is no question she suffered from Silly Heroine Syndrome. Which is really sad because she started out promising. I am curious about where this series is going to go. I don't have that drive to read more, but I will probably end up reading book two.

    Dreams @ Once Upon A Dream Books

    1. Silly Heroine Syndrome, that's something I've not heard in a while, that's a good one! I do think it started off strong and filtered a little, but if you're still considering book #2, maybe don't invest too much in my upcoming Infinite Sea review, we didn't exactly hit it off..


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