Sunday, August 4, 2013

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
Release Date: May 7, 2013
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile

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.  -

This book was unlike anything I've read in the past.  I've read a lot of books that include elements like plagues striking the world, mass sickness, and people being on the run, etc... but this book had elements I've not read before, and I really enjoyed getting to know a new sub-genre of books.  The 5th Wave had an epic quality to it.  The story touched the entire world, and the author's writing was rich and yet personal.

The story alternates points of view between Cassie, who is alone out in the world and trying to find her brother, and Ben, who is training to be a soldier in the new regime.  Separately, these two characters were so intriguing.  They each have different obstacles to overcome.  Cassie, thinking she's the only person left on earth is, nevertheless, hoping to find her brother, and works her way across the country trying to stay hidden from the invaders.  Ben is undergoing a rigorous training program to fight the invaders.  I loved both characters.  They are both brave, strong, and determined.  Their separate backstories were heart breaking, and just made you even more sympathetic to them.

Evan was a surprise to me.  This is someone that Cassie meets on the road and begins to spend time with.  Even though he has a backstory too, and it is just as sad as other characters' stories, I still had a hard time connecting to him for some reason.  It is possible, considering his place in the story, that the author intended to make him a little vague and withdrawn from the reader.  I will say that a big moment comes late in the story, it involves Evan, and it was a complete shock to me.  I sensed there was something coming, but I was still surprised.

The last half of the book was my favorite part because it just seemed like one big suspense-fest. The first half is, admittedly, a little slower.  I've seen quite a few reviews slamming the book for the first half, but I didn't find it to be too slow.  It was all necessary.  I never felt the desire to skim.  All of the set up and detail was rich and vivid, and it was needed to set things up. 

I realized pretty early on that things weren't exactly what they seemed, especially with the military base, so when the big reveal came, I have to admit, I'd already guessed what the issue was.  However, that didn't really detract from my enjoyment of the story.  It was exciting and suspenseful, and I pulled for the characters so strongly that I was completely invested in them.

This book was incredibly interesting.  I loved the writing, loved the characters, and found the story to be unique and unusual.  I am definitely looking forward to the next installment to see what happens next.


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