Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Book Review: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

The 5th Wave
by Rick Yancey
457 pages
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Publication Date: May 7th 2013
Source: Library
Add this book to your shelf on 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, just 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 alice, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan 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.

You guys I wanted to like this book. I wanted to like it so bad. In fact, I tried to push myself to like it so much that I didn't even realize how much I didn't really like it till nearly after I finished it. The ending sort of sealed the deal for me and I just realized that me and The 5th Wave just weren't meant to be.

Why didn't this book work for me? For starters it wasn't what I expected. I didn't know a whole lot about it going in except that it was about aliens and everyone I talked to kept raving about it being "awesome" and "a complete page turner." Awesome? A page turner? Complete exaggerations in my opinion. For one there was a complete lack of alien awesomeness. I mean if you're gonna write a book about an alien invasion can we please get some aliens?!?! And no, aliens that look and function exactly like normal human beings DO NOT COUNT.

At first I was okay with The 5th Wave not being what I expected. I was thinking "okay, I can get past this whole lack of aliens thing" but then I slowly began to realize that nothing much was really happening in the story and that just didn't work for me. Most of the book was completely static because it was all just the protagonist remembering things from the past waves. Normally I wouldn't have a problem with this except that nothing really happened in these flashbacks. NOTHING. Where's the action? Where's the excitement? And why is it that the new hip way to bring humanity to it's knee's in fiction these days is an EMP? It was cool the first few times, but now it just feels like copycatting especially if you aren't doing it better than the people who wrote about it first.

So the plot, in my opinion, was nothing to write home about. There were a few sections I enjoyed, one in particular was really reminiscent of Ender's Game, but overall I just thought it was lacking in story development.

This brings us to the characters. I'll try to keep this brief: Rick Yancey needs to step away from female protagonists. Just walk away dude. WALK AWAY. I liked Cassie all right in the beginning. She was a bit flat, but overall she was okay. Then we got partway through the book and she meets Evan and it was all downhill from there. SPOILER ALERT----> WHAT THE HECK CASSIE WHY WOULD YOU EVEN GIVE EVAN THE TIME OF DAY?!?! Ugh. Evan was a total creeper and I don't care how "beguilling and mysterious" he was supposed to be, HE WAS AN ALIEN  MURDERING MACHINE WHO ORIGINALLY TRIED TO KILL CASSIE BUT THEN FELL IN LOVE WITH HER. NO. JUST NO. But the thing that bugged me the most? How much time was spent with Cassie saying to Evan's face "I can't trust you. We can't trust each other. YOU ARE BAD NEWS." But then she just goes off, kisses him, let's her guard down, and does the exact opposite of what she says she's going to do. I hated how wishy washy Rick Yancey made Cassie out to be. Most girls are not that dumb in real life. Oh and I get that Evan sort of redeems himself in the end, but it was not enough. I just hated their relationship dynamic. Absolutely hated it. 

For those of you who haven't read the book and don't want to be spoiled, my reaction to Cassie's actions can be summed up in this gif:

Yep, I think that just about covers it.

Ultimately The 5th Wave was a disappointing read for me. I was expecting something a lot more interesting and groundbreaking, but it ended up just being meh. The final nail in the coffin was when I was looking back after I finished it and I realized that the world building just plain sucked. I won't really go into it, but let me just say that no you will not get any answers as to who the aliens are, where they came from, and how they manage to do anything they do. *shakes head*

So should you read The 5th Wave? If you're looking for an alien invasion novel without many aliens, but with a whole lot of personal drama, and with a dash of Ender's Game then sure, pick it up. Also, note that a TON of people love this book. A ton. I'm definitely in the minority, so if these issues I've mentioned don't sound like they'd bother you, or you're still wanting to give it a chance I'd definitely go for it. What didn't work for me might just work for you.

Julia :)

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