Author: Rick Yancey
Genre: Sci-fi, Post-Apocalyptic, Alien Invasions
Publication Date: May 7, 2013
Source: ARC from Amazon Vine
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.
☆: 4/5 stars – This is being called the next The Hunger Games for a good reason, despite an iffy moment.
Some books have so many twists and turns that reviewing them becomes next to impossible because one way or another, you’re probably going to give away a major plot point. The 5th Wave is one of those books. Alien invasions aren’t my thing, but a very bold claim by the fabulous Wendy Darling got me to give it a try anyway. Thank you, Wendy! Had it not been for her, I would have missed out on one hell of a book.
The strongest point of the novel is its emotional intensity. It’s the kind of novel so intense that you want to sit down and read it all at once because both of our main POV characters (Cassie and Ben, along with two sections narrated by other people) make their struggles feel real. This is science fiction and it’s unlikely we’ll ever be invaded by aliens, but their feelings and actions are so strongly written that you can’t help but feel like this is a realistic take on how humans might behave if an invasion happened. Even Cassie’s romance works, and I’m not one to say this lightly. Convincing me of a romance takes effort!
Both of our main characters are extremely well-developed and in the rare times the plot isn’t carrying you all the way through, one of them is. Yancey never shies away from the darker elements of the invasion either. Dead bodies and murder everywhere! Long before we even meet any aliens, we fear these omnipresent beings and how the first four waves of their well-planned attack have wiped out almost the entire population of Earth.
And it only gets better the further into the novel you get. By the time you’re done, you will have experienced so many twists that you don’t know which direction is which anymore. You want up and end up going right. Want down? You’re going up. Some could use a little more clarity, but most of them are pulled off well and have you on the edge of your seat.
One of the few flaws of the novel is how predictable it can be sometimes. A few of the many twists in the novel are easy to figure out, but it’s even easier to not care how predictable they are because you’re busy enjoying the ride. I still have some questions about how humans were put in each group at Camp Haven too. You might want to tell me it’s due to their temperatures when you get to that part, but once you read the whole thing, you might not be able to answer it either.
There’s also a very questionable line early on in the novel. After a boy named Crisco tried to pressure Cassie into sex and refuses to let her leave, she slaps him. According to him, she only slapped him for the aforementioned acts because she’s a virgin. What, does that mean non-virgins won’t care who they’re having sex with after the invasion hits? Non-virgins don’t care who they’re having sex with in general? He later apologizes to Cassie, but I’m still not sure if the apology covers this statement too or just his actions.
It’s going to be a looooooong wait for book two in this series. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: ARCs are an amazing perk of reviewing, but the extended wait between books in a series that accompanies ARCs sucks sometimes.