I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
Series: The Fifth Wave #1
Published by Putnam Juvenile on May 7th 2013
Genres: Post Apocalyptic, Young Adult
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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.
There’s no doubt in my mind that most people are going to be captivated with The 5th Wave. It’s engaging, features a witty protagonist, mystery, the right amount of anticipation and a romantic story line. Not to mention, it happens to be one of Penguin’s big titles and had a lot of marketing money poured into it. It’s not everyday that an ARC crosses my threshold with such a soft cover. Nor are they usually accompanied by beat up Teddies and survival bags.
I had seen the reviews surfacing and shouting praise left and right, including Kat. And for most of the novel, I was right there with most people who loved the story, rooting for Cassie. But somewhere around the 50% mark, I felt the book lost some of its original luster.
Yancey sets up the world perfectly and there’s little fault to be found there. The narration is introduced by Cassie, who tells the reader of her life before the aliens came and the 4 waves that subsequently wiped out most of the human population. Her story, like the many others shown later, is not a happy one. She’s suffered the death of both of her parents and the separation from her 6 year old brother, Sam. I quite enjoyed her as a main character and found her humorous despite her grim situation. Her fierce determination to save her brother from the unknown (to her, at least) horrors built just the right amount of anticipation to keep me turning page after page.
One thing I didn’t expect was the multiple narrations: The Silencer, Zombie and Sam (though, he only narrates once, I believe). I’m surprised that I actually liked this style after a few reviews did mention it not working so well for them. I can definitely see it throwing readers off, but I thought it was pretty clever in the beginning. The way it switches back and forth, implanted a certain amount of doubt to the point where I there were times where I wasn’t sure who was actually human or alien.
Still all of that just wasn’t enough to keep away my rising disappointment. You see, The 5th Wave and I had a very interesting reading journey and I think I about expressed all of my emotions while reading it. There was the beginning where I’d learned about waves 1-4 and how horrifying they were. I had to take a moment and hug Sam’s teddy. It was a depressing situation and I needed cuddles.
Then, Sam is taken away, Cassie is shot in the leg and I’m not sure if she’s going to make it. And some Other Stuff happens, like a bunch of people getting all killed off at once, and I found myself flipping pages super duper fast. I couldn’t wait to find out what the 5th alien wave actually was.
But that’s when things start going downhill for me, because all of a sudden there’s this weird insta-love romance that was, IMO, not done well at all. I get that Yancey was going for the whole “What really makes us human?” thing with this book. And having Cassie and The Silencer fall for each other was supposed to emphasize that, but c’mon. The whole “I shot you in the leg because I couldn’t bare shooting you in the head. Can’t you see I’m in love with you?” bit started sending off major weirdo vibes. Dare I say it? Yes, I think I shall. If Edward Cullen were an alien whose mission was to kill off remaining humans, but he instead falls in love with a girl, he would be The Silencer. The romance developed way too fast and had such a strange start (with The Silencer following her through the woods, reading her diary, going through her belongings and shooting her in the leg) that I just could find myself getting on board with it.
It was such a strange turn of events. One minute there’s death, carnage and a struggle for survival and the next minute Cassie’s in this farm with a guy who resembles Clark Kent from Smallville and he’s baking her bread. This is also that part where the narrative changes really started to become jarring because we also were keeping track of Zombie (a nickname for the character in the novel). Every time we were in his point of view, I felt like I was in the midst of playing Call of Duty. So from going back and forth from those very different scenarios, I had to take a small break and ask Teddy a very frank question: “Are you fucking kidding me?”
SPOILERS AHEAD: But I went back to reading because I really wanted to see what this 5th wave was all about. Unfortunately, that turned out to be the most disappointing aspect of the novel. Up until I found out what the 5th wave was, I thought these aliens were pretty badass. They came to earth with a plan and they knew exactly how to kill off humans very effectively.
1st Wave: Take out human technology – Humans rely heavily on this for almost everything. I’d take this out first too.
2nd Wave: Natural disasters – You can easily wipe out most of biggest cites by taking out the coasts with tsunamis.
3rd Wave: Plague – One of the most effective way to kill off a bunch of people: poison them with disease. You don’t even have to do much here. Just wait for them to die off.
4th Wave: Silencers (basically, think snipers) – Pick off all the survivors.
5th Wave: Kidnap all remaining children, including toddlers, nurse them back to health, feed them, train them military style and send them out to kill all the adults who they think are aliens but are really human. (UMM. What?)
The aliens had a good thing going for them. Every thing made sense up until the 5th wave. But why would they go through so much trouble for the 5th wave? The Silencers would have been just as effective or even more so, considering how fast they could take people out. They are faster, stronger, can see in the dark, etc. So, what’s the point in wasting resources and years to train human children to kill human adults?
My final verdict: The 5th Wave is definitely a page-turner and has plenty to offer a reader who enjoys science fiction. Even though the romance fell flat and the plot’s logical inconsistencies kept me from dishing out all my stars, it was still an enjoyable read. But despite the very strong start, ultimately, The 5th Wave didn’t live up to the hype for me.
Sorry, Kat. I fully expect your declarations of Review War in the mornin’.
ARC and teddy was received via the publisher for an honest review. No monies or favors were exchanged for a positive review, though, the teddy does look cool on my bookshelf.