The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers (May 2013)
Science Fiction, Young Adult
“What doesn’t kill us sharpens us. Hardens us. Schools us. You’re beating plowshares into swords, Vosch. You are remaking us. We are the clay, and you are Michelangelo. And we will be your masterpiece.”
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.
Well, isn’t this a bit late?
The Fifth Wave was published so long ago, I don’t know why anyone would think of reviewing it anymore.
Yet, here I am.
My copy of The Last Star arrived just a few days ago, in time for Christmas, and I have to admit I really didn’t remember where we left Cassie in the second book. So I decided to reread these two first books, but I couldn’t even imagine what a ride this would be.
I first discovered The Fifth Wave on the last few pages of a Spanish copy of The Hunger Games. I think it was 2014. I don’t remember much, but I recall the blurb promising a great story of love and trust after an apocalypse. Needless to say, 12 or 13-year-old Maya was very impressed and rushed to BookDepository immediately.
Then as I read it, I discovered that the story was not at all what I was expecting.
Where was the great love story? There was only this Zombie guy, and Cassie and him were probably not going to meet anytime soon (except they were, because this is a YA story and everyone ends up meeting everyone).
But even if it wasn’t anything like I hoped it would be, I still fell in love with the book.
All the reviews I’ve read mention that this is not really science fiction. The first review that pops up on Goodreads calls it “bastardized sci-fi for the Twilight crowd”.
I agree (with the first part). You don’t actually see any green little aliens flying around and shooting everyone. The topic of who the aliens are, where they come from and all that crap isn’t really explored.
But I don’t think it’s something bad! From the beginning it was clear that it wasn’t going to be the average aliens-take-Earth story. Hell, the first page of the book crushes our sci-fi perception of aliens completely! The first line is literally “Aliens are stupid” and then Cassie proceeds to explain why they’re not what we were expecting.
Now after this introduction, let’s actually see how the book was!
For starters, we don’t have a very large cast of characters, which is great because they each have this complex and recognisable personality.
Cassie Marie Sullivan, our protagonist, is your average 16-year-old girl who is just okay at everything and is in love with some guy at her school who doesn’t even know her name. Then almost everyone on the planet dies and in a way, so does she, giving way to this really sarcastic asshole whose diet consists of Twinkies and the sort, a girl who runs around thinking she’s the last human left and hiding from drones and Silencers.
As I said, she herself points out that she’s just okay at everything, and this sums up how she is as a main character: okay. She doesn’t really have any specific thing that makes her interesting, except maybe her courage.
Then as she’s running (I don’t know where she’s running or why, just go with it) she sort of meets a guy who goes by the name of Evan Walker and claims to be in love with her.
I don’t get it either.
Cassie’s parts were funny and fast-paced most of the time, but after she meets Evan they were sort of… Meh. There’s literally no reason why she should trust him after everything she’s gone through: after the 4th wave, you can’t trust that people are still people. Then he tells a few sob stories and she just does? Also I don’t get how he says he’s in love with her. She isn’t special. If Ben, her crush in high school, didn’t even notice she was there, why does this other guy who is older and hotter love her the second he lays eyes on her? It’s so confusing.
Then on the other hand we have Zombie, who’s training to join the army who’ll defend the Earth from the invaders. He was much more interesting and complex than Cassie. He’s much smarter and definitely funnier. He’s kind of the typical YA male character, minus the smirking, plus the sensibility. I thought that going over to his POV was great because at first I was worried about what was happening to Cassie, but then I almost forgot about her because Zombie was so interesting!
And he still isn’t the most kickass character. A girl who is introduced in the second half is. Her name is Ringer and she’s probably everything Cassie wishes she was. If you’ve read the book, you probably love her, even though she’s kind of serious.
The storyline is quite confusing but I think it’s a great hook for the next book! And the writing? It’s gorgeous. My favorite thing about Yancey’s writing are his well-executed metaphors. I’m a sucker for those.
Plus, it reminded me of John Green in a way – Yancey really gets into the mind of his characters and gives them this voice, and you feel as if it’s really them telling the story.
It’s one of my favorites. Sorry, I guess 🙂
Damn it, romance. You’re the only thing standing between this book and the 5 stars I wanted to give it. Well, at least you improve in the next books.
As a whole, I love it. It raises a lot of questions about humanity and it’s fast-paced and gripping and a really good science fiction because it makes you think. Do you agree? Do you think I’m out of my mind? Tell me below.