The 5th Wave – by Rick Yancey
Now here’s a book that comes with a LOT of hype. A book that I felt the need to tread cautiously around, in case it couldn’t quite live up to my expectations. A book that, much like Gameboard of the Gods, I can confidently say exceeded my expectations.
I read The 5th Wave slower than usual, because I had such a good experience that I was letting it draw out. Until I reached the latter half – then all bets were off and I raced ahead, determined to get to the bottom of the mysteries! I loved this book! Let me tell you why:
Most days Cassie’s pretty sure she’s the last human alive. Okay, maybe not the last. But she’s got to be one of the few still standing since the Others came.
The first wave killed half a million people. But that was nothing compared to the next three. The Others want to rid their new home of its human infestation. Now, there’s just a handful of survivors – people like Cassie. She’s not the only one out there. But most of the others aren’t human, although they look that way. They’re the fourth wave, the Silencers – infiltrators sent to hunt down and eliminate the dregs of humanity.
Staying alone is the only way Cassie’s lived this long. When she meets the mysterious Evan Walker, she must decide whether not being alone is worth the risk to her safety. Because there’s no way of knowing who – or what – Evan Walker really is.
Cassie? Try Ellie, from John Marsden’s Australian classic Tomorrow When the War Began. Like Ellie, Cassie’s smart, cynical, determined, brave, and absolutely kickass. I can’t say too many good things about this character. Cassie absolutely carried the novel. She’s as hard as she needs to be, making decisions no one should have to contemplate. She’s willing to trust but NEVER blindly. Even when she’s letting someone in it’s on her own terms. An interesting note is that both she and Ellie are incredible, strong, central female characters written by male authors. I wonder if something about the different perspective allows for gritty female protagonists? It’s not a fully fleshed-out idea, but given how awesome Cassie was it’s something I’m thinking about.
Evan Walker is definitely an enigma. Like Cassie, we’re never sure whether we should trust him, or what his motivations are. But Cassie’s got more to worry about than Evan. Her younger brother, Sammy, was taken by some soldier-types, to a military base, and might actually still be alive. With almost nothing left to live for, Cassie’s determined to keep her promise to find Sammy.
The mysteries of The 5th Wave were taut and a real challenge to figure out. The pacing, the twists, the stakes and the realities of the situation are beautiful. Throughout the whole second half of the novel I’d interrupt my own reading with (loud) comments, like “NOT EVERYONE CAN BE WHO THEY SAY THEY ARE!” or, later, “OH MY GOD I KNEW IT!” – which my housemate found highly entertaining.
My favourite books are the ones you just can’t read fast enough to please you. Those books that keep you up past 1am because you refuse to stop until your questions are answered. Fair warning: you’ll do that with The 5th Wave. It’s something that only the best books can do. The Fault In Our Stars is the same (even though it’s coming from a completely different angle). These books are gorgeously written and constructed, with a plot that sucks you in and characters that keep you there until they’re done.
I refuse to tell you any more because this is the kind of book you HAVE to experience for yourself!
Trust me: you’ll want to get on board with The 5th Wave.
Edit: Funny that I likened this reading experience to that of TFiOS – look what John Green thought!