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Thursday, January 9, 2014

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Today in order to chose a book to review, I asked my Dad and Brother to choose a number between 1 and 19 and they both gave me different numbers. After some mathematical calculations that I don't really understand and that I probably didn't even do correctly, I have chosen the book for today.

The 5th Wave by Rick Yacey
The 5th Wave is a post-apocalyptic story that takes place a few years after an alien invasion of Earth. The first wave took out the electricity. The second wave caused tsunamis to flood the coasts. The third wave was a plague that killed the majority of the population. The fourth wave activates 'Silencers', alien killers that have been implanted in a humans body before birth. The 5th wave is on its way. The main character Cassie (short for Cassiopeia) is all alone with her one rule: Trust no one. Until the mysterious Evan comes into play. Cassie must then chose to accept Evan's help in finding her brother and break her one rule, or to brave it alone and possibly fail. Will Evan and Cassie be able to win this war? After all, how can you win when you don't know who you're fighting.

I have been hearing a lot of good reviews of this book since its publication back in the summer of 2013. I found it at Half Price Books and said "Why not?" While there were a few reasons that I should have left the book on the shelf and not spent my money, I am still glad I read it. First off I am happy to report that this is actually a good "alien" story. It's not a bunch of bullshit like some other books are. It almost reminds me of all the alien movies like Signs and War of the Worlds that were coming out about 10 years ago (and yes I know that War of the Worlds is actually a book written over 100 years ago in 1898). There were just a few things that one of the characters said that sparked a connection in my brain.

Rick Yancey wrote a brilliant novel, but there were a few things I would change for a reprinting. The book was sectioned off based on who's point of view we were reading.l However the points of view started to become jumbled. I would make it almost half way through a page before I realized who was telling the story. There could have been some clarification at the beginning of the chapter to say "Hey! We're in this persons point of view!". Maybe a name at the top of the page, or a different color of ink, or even a different font would have been nice. Just something to differentiate the points of view without having to re-read a full page for the story to make sense. There were many parts in this book that I could tell were meant to be plot twists that no one was supposed to see coming. Yeah, that didn't happen. (Spoiler warning!) Ben Parish is Zombie and Evan Walker is the Silencer was kind of obvious.

Now that I'm mostly done with the negative, I want to talk about Cassie and how incredibly badass she is! She is only a 16 year old girl but she has already lost pretty much every one that meant anything to her during the first four waves. Her mom was lost in the third, her dad after the fourth, her brother was taken from her, she doesn't know where her friends are or if they are even alive. I thought it was interesting that the name Cassiopeia is actually a constellation and that aliens come from outer space. It was a nice tie in to the plot. Cassie's narration in the beginning of the book is the best thing I have ever read. It is snarky and sarcastic and perfectly sets up who Cassie is as a person. She is hard, unforgiving, and completely self dependent. That's why when Evan comes along she is somewhat reluctant to let him in (sometimes literally when it comes to letting him into her room).

Let's talk about Evan and Cassie's relationship. I hate it. It's annoying. It's kind of Twilight-y. It makes me want to punch someone in the face, maybe the two of them? They do have some good banter but Evan's lies in the beginning are so incredibly transparent that I wonder why Cassie still trusts him. But then I remember that girls are gigantic bimbos when it comes to guys. They will almost believe anything unless they have solid proof otherwise. There's nothing wrong with relationships like that, I just personally don't like them.

In the end, though I have some negative things to say about this book it is a good read, if you borrow it from the library. I'm glad I only spend $5 on it because if I would have paid full price I would have been a little disappointed. This novel is action packed and a great read for both genders. Its hard to image anyone other than preteens and teens enjoying the story though. Ultimately I give the novel a 5.5/10. The ending left room for a sequel so we will see where Rick Yancey takes the story and if I will enjoy that book more than this one. I'm hard on this story because Rick Yancey is a terrific writer and you see that in the narration. I just wish some of the story was better.

-Shawnee Smith


  1. Your absolutely crazy...."let's talk about Evan and Cassie's relationship. I hate it." ahaha!