The 5th Wave (5th Wave, #1) by Rick Yancey (2013)
YA Fiction | Sci-Fi | Aliens
“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.”
pooled ink Review:
I surprised myself by really loving this book. Originally the book just never intrigued me quite enough to make me buy it (I’m not a major alien story fan) but eventually they made a movie, which I watched because a good friend of mine kept raving about how much she loved it. I enjoyed the movie, I admit, but watching it I just kept having this feeling that there was so much more to the story and the characters that I wasn’t getting to see. The story was strong enough to shine through the movie and convince me that I needed to read the book to get the whole story. And I was right. There was so much more to these characters than a movie could show.
Maybe the last human being on Earth won’t die of starvation or exposure or as a meal for wild animals.
Maybe the last one to die will be killed by the last one alive.
The book changes POVs throughout and sometimes when a new POV is introduced you’re not even sure whose eyes you’re seeing through until the chapter ends. But it’s not confusing. Even when I wasn’t quite sure whose footsteps we were walking in I didn’t feel lost or confused. Honestly between Yancey’s writing style and his use of the alternating POVs it created the effect of multiple camera angles in a movie. I liked it. It made it somehow artistic and kept the story interesting as it jumped from Cassie’s journey through the woods to Zombie’s training at the military base to Sam’s innocent but understanding view of the world to a hunter unsure of what he was hunting anymore.
This is what the Others have done to us. You can’t band together to fight without trust. And without trust, there was no hope.
Like I said: there was much more detail and depth to all the characters and plot lines in the book that didn’t get to surface in the movie.
Cassie is perhaps the main main character. She’s 16, hilarious, sarcastic, relatable, and very real. Yancey did a great job with writing a character that felt completely believable. I thought she made a good protagonist for this story and I really liked her as a whole.
…we got it all wrong, there was no alien swarm descending from the sky in their flying saucers or big metal walkers like something out of Star Wars or cute little wrinkly E.T.s who just wanted to pluck a couple of leaves, eat some Reese’s Pieces, and go home. That’s not how it ends.
That’s not how it ends at all.
Actually I really liked all of Yancey’s characters. They made sense to me and I believed their place in this book. He kept them diverse but united, cold but interesting, terrified but resilient, fictional but so very real.
Yes this is a book about an alien invasion but it plays around with the idea of the enemy being oneself. In some ways we hope that if there are aliens out in the universe that they’ll look like us, but the smarter and perhaps wiser alien fans know that that is likely a terrible wish.
It ends with us killing each other behind rows of empty beer coolers in the dying light of a late-summer day.
I absolutely loved this book. I devoured it quickly and was ready to finish the series but…sigh. I made the mistake of utilizing the Internet and ended up spoiling the series ending for myself. I just needed to know if I got my happily ever after. That’s all I needed or wanted to know. Turns out I don’t. So now I’m stuck. I don’t even want to finish reading the series, which is sad because this first book is awesome. I get that people dying is realistic and I’m fine with that. I get that the way it all ends will be dramatic and emotional or whatever, but sometimes you just need your one little happy ever after to make it all okay, to make it all worth it…not that saving the human race isn’t worth it but…I’m still sad and grumpy. (I blame all the happy Disney movies I devoured as a kid haha Wait, but did anyone else have their emotions ripped out and lit on fire and kicked until on the brink of second death when they watched The Fox & The Hound???)
I’m sure I’ll read the rest of the series eventually even if only because I’d like to see it through to the end for myself and Yancey’s writing is so good that I’m sure I’ll end up grudgingly enjoying it as well. But regardless of the next two books I will probably be reading this book again and again because I really clicked with it. I liked the movie and I loved the book. It’s an awesome alien invasion story with action aplenty.
Nothing is not important anymore.
Gritty, emotional, and filled with sarcastic wit, The 5th Wave brings the eyes to the ground as aliens saunter onto Earth and use every human weakness against those still residing there. A brilliant YA sci-fi confession of the limits some will go to to protect those they love.
Similar recommended reads: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Meet Rick Yancey!
Rick is a native Floridian and a graduate of Roosevelt University in Chicago. He earned a B.A. in English which he put to use as a field officer for the Internal Revenue Service. Inspired and encouraged by his wife, he decided his degree might also be useful in writing books and in 2004 he began writing full-time.
Since then he has launched two critically acclaimed series: The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp, for young readers, and The Highly Effective Detective, for adults. Both books are set in Knoxville, Tennessee, where Rick lived for ten years before returning to Florida.