Adventure (Teen), Dystopia (Teen), YA Fiction

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

I’ve waited a long time before deciding to give this novel a shot. I saw the trailers for the movie based off of this book, and it just put me off a bit. I also considered this to be just one more dystopian teen novel and didn’t bother finding out about the premise. I finally caved after one of my friends chided me on my book-ego, so here is my review:

The world has finally met its match, and it is in the form of aliens. Not the aliens of our imagination, with tentacles and green skin. These aliens have no face and are interested in only one thing: the eradication of all humans. And they have a perfect plan to do so. First came the wave that left darkness in its wake. The 2nd wave led to the collapse of nations. The third wave culled the world’s population to a new low. And after the 4th wave? Well, let’s just say there’s no telling who is friend or foe. In this new world, Cassie is running away from these Others in the hopes of finding her little brother. Although she has been travelling alone for some time now, she meets Evan Walker, a young teen like herself who saves her life more than once. But can she truly trust him?

There were some things I really enjoyed about this novel and some things I didn’t like. Let me begin by focusing on what I DID like:

  1. I liked Cassie. She isn’t a girly-girl. She has some wit, she is reasonably paranoid, and she’s intelligent. Too many times, the main character goes around acting clueless and it just drives me insane! The author did a good job in making her a unique female protagonist, and gave her a voice that was refreshing to read from.
  2. This story was told from multiple perspectives. At first, I wasn’t expecting it, especially since the head of the chapter gave no clue that the author had shifted to another person’s perspective. It was also confusing because I would be reading for a couple of pages in the same character’s voice and would then realize that it wasn’t the same character, and would have to go back and reread the passage. I know this sounds like a negative but I actually enjoyed it because it made me feel more alert and in pace with the story. I also liked reading about how this novel affected other people in the story, and it helped make the big reveal come together better.
  3. I liked that the story jumped to different points in time. The constant shift actually made the story come together and made the emotions seem so much more raw and intense!

Now onto the things I didn’t like:

  1. The alien invasion plan just didn’t make sense to me. When everything was explained, I couldn’t help but wonder why the Others had put so much effort into creating the waves. There were so many simpler ways to accomplish their goals. In that sense, I was quite disappointed with the lead up.
  2. The romance aspect just didn’t work for me. If it had been a bit deeper, it would have made a little more sense. But it wasn’t. It seemed to have just been thrown in there as a prerequisite for creating a YA fiction novel. It was meh on all levels.
  3. The scheme to save Cassie’s brother was a bit boring and stereotypical. It was overly simplistic and didn’t excite or thrill me in any way. There wasn’t enough time or detail given to properly develop this scene so it left me wanting more.

Overall, this novel was okay. It was a more interesting teen dystopian novel than others but wasn’t anything to rave about. Now that I’ve given it a chance, I think I will let this series rest here, and not read the sequel.

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