Review: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Friday, May 17, 2013 9:00 AM
Title: The 5th Wave
Author: Rick Yancey
Published: May 7, 2013
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Series: The Fifth Wave #1
Genre: Young Adult Post-Apocalyptic
Pages: 480
Source: Purchased
Rating: 3 stars
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
“Some things you can never leave behind. They don't belong to the past. They belong to you.”
― Rick Yancey, The 5th Wave 

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)
My Thoughts
First off, I apologize for being MIA this week. Every once in awhile, I check out. It has been a tough and excruciatingly long week, and I am ready for it to be over. I needed a break from blogging and, well, just life. So I'm sorry I completely failed at doing anything Bout of Books related and for not posting on my blog. I was just in a weird funk. Now the review...

I just don't understand. How could I love The Monstrumologist series but find The 5th Wave sorely lacking? After loving Rick Yancey's other books and reading all the positive reviews for this one, I had such high expectations but they weren't met. I will say I didn't hate The 5th Wave, but I also won't be adding it to my favorites shelf. I hate being the odd one out, but this book was a bit of a letdown.

What drew me to this book, besides the author, was the unique premise. I loved the concept of an alien invasion coming in waves:

1st wave - Blackout

2nd wave - Tsunami (literally a wave)

3rd wave - Pestilence

4th Wave - Silencers

5th Wave - Unknown...

The 5th Wave begins after most of the population has already been decimated. Cassie has survived the first four waves, but I wouldn't exactly call her lucky. She's alone in the wilderness, surviving on canned food and with only her M16 as company. I found Cassie's summary of the invasion a little too casual at times, and her behavior wasn't always believable. I mean, who is checking out guys when you're not sure if you can trust anyone? That hottie could be your enemy! My first thought would be, where's my gun?! Not, he strongly resembles Clark Kent. Other than that, I found Cassie to be a tough cookie and she's so much braver than I would have been in her place. She is one kickass heroine that should write Surviving the First Four Waves for Dummies.

Besides Cassie, The 5th Wave is also told from other POVs. Zombie is another survivor, and he is being trained by the military to kick some alien ass. I thought that his parts dragged, and I was compelled to rush through them to reach Cassie's. It's not that I didn't like Zombie; I just found the training and battle tactics boring. I'd much rather read about Cassie trying to survive outside the military base because I was more interested in hearing about the condition of the outside world.

On that note, I thought the world building in The 5th Wave could have been better. I was hoping to hear about other survivors or to read detailed descriptions of the wrecked cities, but the destruction left after the waves was only hinted at. There's mention of bodies everywhere and the cities being a mess, but I wanted Yancey to describe it to us instead of having Cassie tell us. I felt disconnected from the story because of the lack of detail. Of course, I'm not asking for a ghastly description of rotting corpses. I just wanted a better, more in-depth idea of what happened. I felt like the story mainly takes place on the military base, in the woods and in Evan's house, and I wanted to see more of this world. There are a couple of scenes that stick out in my memory, like the image of Cassie's father burying his wife, but there weren't enough. I would have loved to see some other survivors. Maybe, throw in some crazies?

There is romance. Of course, there's romance. When every day could be your last, romance is your go to escape from sucky reality. At first, I found the romance absolutely adorable, but then I wasn't buying it. I can't reveal much without spoiling key plot elements, but I will say that it seemed out of place by the end. And Cassie is one lucky girl. Not only does she find a suitable bachelor to get freaky with, but it just so happens that he can hunt, carve crutches and has a great bedside manner. It all makes sense if you read it, but I still think certain plot developments require some suspension of disbelief. Or a lot of suspension of disbelief.

I know I've been kind of hard on The 5th Wave, and I can't forget that I did like some aspects of the book. I loved how Yancey explored human nature and our survival instinct. Even when it seems all hope is lost, Cassie and the others continue to fight to stay alive. But why? Their neighbors, their aunts and uncles, their teachers and almost everyone they ever knew are all dead, and the aliens definitely have the advantage. Yet they still remain hopeful for a better future. I loved this and, as stupid as this may sound, I wanted to pump my fist in the air and cheer them on. Yancey definitely raises a lot of intriguing questions that may never be answered, but they got me thinking nonetheless.

I went into The 5th Wave with high expectations, and I wish that I could shower this book with praise like all the other reviews, but I just didn't feel this one. Maybe, it's just me. I've never been one for aliens (except The X Files). Or maybe, The Monstrumologist was so good that The 5th Wave inevitably paled in comparison. If you're interested in reading Yancey for the first time, I'd recommend starting off with The Monstrumologist series. Ultimately, The 5th Wave had some thrills but it wasn't the masterpiece I was eagerly anticipating.



    Okay, that maybe came across too strongly. Long story short, I picked this up and set it on hold after reading a quarter of it. I loved the ambiguous morality explored in this, but it was just SO BORING and I've been sulking that I wouldn't enjoy Yancey's other work, but I am SO GLAD that you didn't enjoy this but still enjoyed his debut trilogy. Phew! You just about saved me from depression.

    Yup, awesome review. :)


      I'm really sorry you couldn't get through this. But don't let that keep you from reading The Monstrumologist! I just don't know what happened with The 5th Wave, and I can only hope the other books in this series are better. Thanks! I'm glad you're not depressed. :D

  2. I loveed this book, though I did think that it was rather over hyped. I mean it was great, it just wasn't as AMAZING as everyone else had made it out to be. As you say Yancey's other books are even better, I think I'll check them out! Great review :)

  3. Aw, I'm sorry this one didn't work out for you! I was one of the ones who loved it, but I can see where some people didn't like certain aspects, and it's nice to see contrasting viewpoints. I loved that feeling of hope-in-the-face-of-hopelessness, though, like you mentioned - that's something we can all admire, for sure. :)

  4. Sadness. I know how much you were looking forward to this one, Cort. It sucks it didn't work out for you very well. Of your issue with world-building, this is a series so Yancey should have a lot of time to build up this world he's crafted. If he's as talented as you think he is, perhaps he will. Maybe he just wanted this first book to be very confined physically?

    I'm curious to see if I have the same complaints as you. (And despite having never read Yancey, I am going to start with this book simply because I've heard The Monstrumologist series features gore and horror...and yeah, not something I'm keen on reading right now. Eventually I'll try out that series, though!)

  5. Aww, it's too bad this was such a disappointment to you. Sometimes high expectations can be a bad thing. But I enjoyed reading about your thoughts anyways because they were so different from mine. I actually loved the military base training scenes the most! They were so interesting to me. I will agree though that Cassie came off a little shallow with some of her eyeroll-inducing thoughts about boys. But otherwise, I really enjoyed her voice and was impressed that Rick Yancey did such a good job portraying a girl's POV.

    It's hard for me to compare this one with his Monstrumologist series because they are so different to me. I do think though that The 5th Wave is much more mainstream and accessible and thus will be a bigger hit than The Monstrumologist ever could be, unfortunately. It's just not everyone's cup of tea.


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