Monday, September 9, 2013

Review: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Summary: 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.

Kim's Review: Pretty much everyone and their mothers have read a dystopian novel by now, be it The Hunger Games or Divergent or one of the hundreds of other novels out there. The 5th Wave, however, is unlike any other book I've read. In most dystopian books, the world's decline is due to a failed government. In The Fifth Wave, the world is taken over by aliens, who seem to be doing everything they can to eradicate the human race. Over seven billion people were killed in the four waves before, and only the strongest remain.

The first character the reader is introduced to is Cassie, an smart, strong girl determined to find her brother. I love how, even when she strikes up a relationship with a boy, she still keeps a clear head and reminds herself of "the first rule in the last war": Trust no one. She doesn't let herself get blinded by love like so many characters we read about in YA today, and I absolutely loved that.

About a hundred pages in, the point of view shifts to Ben Parish, a boy who is in training to be a soldier in the war against the Others (what the characters call aliens). I liked Ben as well; in fact, all of the characters were pretty likable. The only thing I didn't like is how there is no way of knowing that the point of view changes. A new section of the book starts, but there's no title or anything to tell you that there's a different POV. I was so confused - for quite a while I thought I'd missed something and Cassie was actually a boy. It wasn't until I took a peek at some reviews that I realized the POV had changed.

It took me a while to get through this book; nothing too interesting seemed to happen until about halfway through. The first 200 pages took me a week to read; the last 200 took me a day. Once the story picks up, it's very compelling, but it just takes a while to get there.

All in all, I'll give this 4 out of 5 stars, maybe 4.5. I wish more things were explained - the aliens' reason for invading Earth, what happened to the government, etc. Leaving these things out, especially the latter, seemed more like a lazy mistake than an intentional question to be answered in future books. I do look forward to reading the sequel, though, and I'm excited to hear that it's already been optioned for a film! While I'm not entirely convinced this could be the next Hunger Games, I think it is an interesting take on the current dystopian craze in today's YA books, and definitely worth reading.

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