Review: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

5thwavePublished by G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Released May 7, 2013
480 pages
Where I got it: ARC received from publisher at ALA Midwinter
Rating: ★★★★★

Description (from Goodreads):

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.

Last week, I had criticism for readalikes that try really hard to copy the success of a book by mimicking the plot rather than capturing the spirit of what made the book awesome. Well, Yancey’s latest book, The 5th Wave, does the opposite of that. It’s a different plot, but reminds me strongly of the feeling I got when reading other great books, notably The Hunger Games. Is it just like The Hunger Games? No. It does, however, have a powerful lead female character who is fighting to beat insurmountable odds and save her younger sibling. It has military training scenes where we see characters broken down only to be built back up again. It features enemies that look just like allies, until the lines are so blurred that we don’t know who to trust. If that sounds good to you, this is your book.

I was previously impressed by the detail and emotion of Yancey’s horror series, The Monstrumologist. If that book wasn’t for you, though, I would still give The 5th Wave a shot. While The Monstromologist relies heavily on Victorian-style speech patterns and narration, The 5th Wave is thoroughly modern. The only thing that threw me off a bit was the way that Yancey moves from narrator to narrator. Different sections of the book are told from the point of view of various characters, without warning. As you read, though, you learn whose point of view you’re reading from, and things start to make more sense. Stephen King does the same thing in many of his books, notably The Stand, which is another book that The 5th Wave reminded me of.

Overall, I loved The 5th Wave. It’s an apocalyptic alien-fest, and the alien’s plan of attack seems like something that could work. It plays on some our modern-day doomsday fears: the failure of all electric technology, massive flooding and tidal waves, a pandemic spread by birds. Yeah, that’s just the beginning. Still, this isn’t an entirely grim book. Instead, it shows us the strength that we are capable of when pushed to the limits, and the ability of humanity to bounce back.

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3 Responses to Review: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

  1. Hannah says:

    Aww, you had me at post apocolyptic-alien. ;)

    I haven’t heard/seen too much about this book, and honestly I didn’t pay it much attention. You review, however, has convinced me to give it a try. I love dystopians, I love aliens, and I love mass destruction (in fiction!). Sounds like this IS my kind of book. Thanks, Audrey!

    • Audrey Audrey says:

      You should definitely read it! It had a great story and great characters, and most importantly to me, the writing was good. This is going to be a hit.

  2. Pingback: The 5th Wave | Rick Yancey | Book Review

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