Thursday, 18 July 2013

Review: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

 The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
Author: Rick Yancey Website|Twitter
Published:7 May 2013 (Puffin)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 460
Buy the paperback: Amazon|BookDepository
Buy the e-book: Kindle|Kobo

Source: Borrowed from library

Plot Summary (from 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, 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.

My Review:
It's been impossible to avoid the hype surrounding this book. It seems everyone, everywhere was talking about it and raving about it and so I've been itching to read The 5th Wave ever since it started popping up on my radar! The world is being attacked by the "Others" who have wiped out most of the human population in "waves". Now alone and on the run facing the 5th wave, Cassie must fight to survive against all the odds.

I tried to go into this book with an open mind, because when a book is so hyped up the last thing you want is to build it up in your head and end up disappointed. I'd already read the opening chapters in a chapter sampler of the book that was available for free so I knew I was going to like the beginning. The opening to the story follows Cassie as she faces her current battle to survive in the wilderness and reflects on her past and what has happened up to that point.

I loved the glimpses into those early days of the alien invasion where she and her friend Lizbeth are balancing the threat of the end of the world with everyday teenage worries, like that fact they won't have had a boyfriend before they die. It was really heartbreaking reading about how Cassie became separated from her family and I loved the scenes where we get to see what they were like before waves that stole those close to her. I particularly loved the bond she has with her brother Sammy and how that fear she has for him keeps her going throughout the book.

Cassie herself was a real highlight. I loved how level headed she was and how she could focus on what needed to be done. There's this whole situation where everyone is fascinated by the Others and she talks about the Youtube and Twitter generation going crazy for these aliens and speculating what they might be like, whereas Cassie herself couldn't care less; she just wants to survive. Throughout the book that attitude really drew me to her and her parts of the book were my favourite.

Although the majority of the story is told from Cassie POV, the book switches around quite a lot between characters and perspectives. The first time it did that I was totally confused because it was still using the first person and I had no idea we'd switched to a different character until he started referring to himself as a he. That particular time I could forgive it because the mystery of who it was was a good twist that totally surprised me and made for an enjoyable chapter, but it did it several times throughout the book and sometimes I would get a bit lost.

It also switched between third and first person for some of the characters. I can see why it was done because the different voices had different effects and worked well for the different characters, but it added to the feeling of being a bit disjointed. The positives of all this jumping around was that you got to see what was happening in every part of the story with all the different characters, and there was a lot of different things going on. I did find myself waiting to get back to Cassie's parts, though, because I felt those were the strongest parts of the book.

From the beginning of The 5th Wave I was expecting a survival tale, because that's it starts out as. As the book moves along, however, it becomes so much more. The second half was definitely a lot more gritty and complex as it comes to light just what is going on in the bigger picture. There were some really heart-wrenching scenes, especially seeing what happened to the younger characters in the story. There was plenty of conspiracy and action too that I wasn't expecting but which pleasantly surprised me.

Each character had their own personal story that made you connect with them, whether it be Cassie's mission to reach her brother, Evan's heartbreak at losing his girlfriend or Ben's regrets over leaving his sister. I definitely came to care about each individuals story.  I loved the sense of paranoia and that nobody could really trust each other. I think Cassie and Evan's storyline was the greatest example of that and the reason why it became one of my favourites.

There were some great, unique ideas throughout The 5th Wave and it felt like this complex web that slowly unravelled. I was constantly waiting on the edge of my seat for the epic conclusion, and I got plenty of action, although it was more subtle than I was expecting. I think I enjoyed the first part of the book a little bit more, when the focus was on Cassie and her survival in the wild. The book felt very visual and I could really see it working well as a film because that's how it played out in my head. The only downside really was how disjointed the book felt times, with the characters and the timeline jumping about a bit. I think it's a book that would benefit from a re-read.

This was a hard review to write because it was definitely an enjoyable read, and it's definitely my type of book. There were just parts that were maybe a little different to what I was expecting. It's definitely a strong book full of gripping ideas and great characters, though. The ending left plenty of potential for the sequel and I'm really excited to see where it goes.

Rating: 4*
What to read next: The next book in the series is scheduled for publication in 2014
Books like this: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Divergent by Veronica Roth, Icons by Margaret Stohl

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