Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Review: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

The 5th Wave (The Fifth Wave, #1)

Goodreads Summary: 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.
Goodreads / The Book Depository

Genre: Young Adult, science fiction
Pages: 480
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
How I Got It: Purchased physical copy

First Line: "There will be no awakening."

Favorite Quote: "Well, I tell myself, it could be worse. You could have been rescued by some fifty-year-old perv sporting a spare tire the size of a monster truck's who keeps his dead mother in the attic."


When I first heard about this book, I really wasn’t all that interested. In general, aliens really aren’t my thing; I can count, probably on one hand, the amount of books I’ve read featuring them. I don’t know why, it’s not like I’ve had bad experiences with them or anything. They just don’t jump out at me. But then I started seeing advertisements for The 5th Wave pretty much everywhere I turned. And I must confess: when something is extremely hyped up and everyone seems to love it, I usually get involved at some point to see what all the fuss is about. This was getting very positive reviews in advance, so over time I got really excited to pick it up. I read a library copy, but then I went out and bought my own, because I definitively had to have it.

There isn’t a whole lot of action going on in maybe the first third of the book, because a lot of that time is spent setting up the world and explaining the first four waves, and what they were all about. Normally, all the information at once would annoy me a little, but Yancey does a really good job in giving his writing this underlying sense of tension. I honestly felt a little nervous as I read this; The 5th Wave is the first alien book to genuinely creep me out a little. Once you get all the information about what it going on in the story, it makes the rest of the book feel really solid and well-thought out. The prologue is pretty intriguing as well; it grabbed my attention immediately, and it’s probably part of the reason that the first third didn’t bother me.

I really enjoyed getting to know all the characters, especially Cassie. It’s probably very realistic for a sweet, mild-mannered person to completely morph into something else in the face of apocalyptic disaster. I felt sorry for her, but I also loved her sarcasm throughout the book; it made her a much more likeable character. It was pretty much the comedic relief in an otherwise tremendously dark book. And I always love it when there’s a strong bond between siblings in a story, so I was really touched by her moments with Sammy. Zombie’s POV wasn’t quite as interesting for me, especially not at first, but I grew to like him eventually. Towards the second half of the novel, the pace picks up a bit and action abounds. I really appreciated the intensity of the storyline; the stakes felt so high, and they were, what with all humanity almost wiped out and everything. The ending of the book isn’t wrapped up with a nice shiny bow, of course (this is, after all, a series), but I got a good sense of closure and I’m glad that’s where Yancey chose to end it.

It was an interesting plot most of the time because a lot of the things “revealed” throughout, the reader already knows from previous chapters. And while that may seem boring, it somehow wasn’t. I did make a lot of educated guesses while reading, and while I was right most of the time, like I said before, there’s just this aura of suspense to the book that makes that fact irrelevant. Overall, The 5th Wave lived up to my expectations (which is actually really impressive, since they were very high), which is awesome, because it feels like something rare. If I absolutely had to pick something to gripe about, I would say that I wish the romance was a little more developed. I liked Evan Walker, but I wasn’t crazy about him. His feelings for Cassie were just a little too rushed. I also wish there was some kind of header in the beginning of each chapter to tell us who’s narrating. Eventually I got used to it, but at first it was kind of irritating to be bouncing around in different people’s heads with no warning.

5 stars 

Books in this series:

1. The 5th Wave
2. Untitled


  1. Great review! I am really excited to read this and I'm dying for it to be my turn in the library's hold queue. I'm glad to hear this lived up to your expectations, I am definitely worried that since I've heard so much about this I'm just going to be disappointed.

    Your review only made me more excited, until your list line about the chapters being from all different perspectives. That's definitely a style of storytelling that I am not a fan of and now I'm nervous I won't be able to get through this!

    1. Thank you! I was beyond excited to get my hands on this; I was surprised it came in so early at my library. I don't usually like shifting perspectives in a book, either (not really sure why), but once you get used to the different characters, it's really not so bad. ;)

  2. Oh great review! I'm with you. At first glance, I haven't been really excited about this book. But after seeing so many great reviews, I'm starting to think maybe it's worth a chance! I mean, your favorite quote alone sort of sells me on it! Haha.

    1. I laughed out loud a little at that particular quote. It's not a very funny book, but the moments of light humor are nice, as with anything else. :)