Review: The 5th Wave


This review contains a full breakdown and spoilers for The Fifth Wave.

The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey is one of the best YA books I’ve read in a long time. It breaks the mold of what a YA book can be sense a good chunk of this book is actually pretty adult.

The book begins with Cassie Sullivan, a teenaged girl whose only problem in life is her crush, Ben Parish, doesn’t notice her at school. The story, in the beginning, follows Cassie while she takes us through the first three waves of an alien invasion.

These first three waves take out seven billion people in total. That’s almost the entire planet.

The next thing you know, her brother has been kidnapped and she’s lying in a pit of human ash, watching her father be murdered by people she thought she could trust.

Cassie’s already survived waves one through three (mostly because she was lucky enough to be immune to the virus in wave three) and the book takes place at the beginning of the fourth.

The fourth wave is alien body snatchers. The enemy looks like the ally. You can’t trust anyone so everyone is a target.

Cassie is shot in the leg by a “silencer” (aliens whose job is to find and kill humans) and is rescued later that night by Evan Walker.

As he and Cassie tell each other their life stories, despite her alarm bells going off not to trust him, Evan doesn’t mention the part where he’s the silencer who shot her in the leg. As she and Evan plan a mission to rescue Sammy (her little brother), Cassie tries to ignore her strong suspicion that Evan is definitely an alien. Instead, she falls in love with him.

The rest of the book go through waves 4 and 5 while Cassie tries to rescue her brother.

Honestly, I really enjoyed this book. It was very clever, well thought out and the plan used by the aliens was genius, to say the least.

But other than that the book got a bit overwhelming at times. The story branches off and follows four different people and each chapter could be a new person. It’s all first person point of view and the names are never specified if they are alone.

Fortunately, Cassie and the other characters are fleshed out enough that after a few sentences, it’s easy to tell which character you’re following.

The characters were all unique and their own people. This was the strongest part of the book other than the overall great plot. The 5th Wave isn’t the best of the post-apocalyptic YA novels but, Yancey builds characters who stand to lose so much and gain even more.

The author gave us a heroine who’s smart, yes, but not smart enough to catch on to the true identities of those around them. This at times makes the reader frustrated sense they want them to be smart enough to realize what’s happening.

Ultimately, The 5th Wave is about the surest way to destroy humanity. Drive a wedge between those who would normally be allies. The characters are young enough to still have hope of trusting others, keep reaching out to others, even though they know it might kill them.

Yancey has written a book about the struggle of the last ditch effort for humanity. He shows two people in love and a military platoon acting as a family. They try to survive in the face of all who would divide it.

A great read for our real life polarized times of 2016.

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