Book Review: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey (The 5th Wave, #1)

5th Wave - Yancey

The 5th Wave

By Rick Yancey

Series: The 5th Wave, Book 1

My Rating: 4 Stars

This book has been on my “to read” list ever since it was published in 2013.  I even managed to get my hands on a printed ARC and I still didn’t read it.  I don’t know why I didn’t read it sooner because it was high on my list and it certainly interested me.   I suppose something just kept popping up to make me not pick it up.  Since the movie was about to come out, I knew it was time.  I simply couldn’t wait any longer.  I wanted to see the movie so I could compare and contrast and give people advice on whether they needed to read the book first or if it was ok if they saw the movie before reading the book.   So, I had to make it a top priority.  It was now or never.  No more excuses.  We were going to do this.  And all I can say is, “Why did I wait so long to read this book?!?!?”  It’s a good question that will likely never be answered, but now that I’ve read it, I’m excited to move on to The Infinite Sea, the second book in this completely engrossing series.

Synopsis

The Others came prepared.  They knew humans better than humans knew themselves.  Their attack was strategic and precise.  The 1st Wave plunged the world into total darkness.  The 2nd Wave was thorough in its drowning endeavor.  In the 3rd Wave, those that remained could not hide from the deadly pestilence released on humanity.  In the 4th Wave  the Others were among you; there was no one you could trust and isolation was the only sure way to survive.  Trust no one became the way of life.

Humanity knows there will be a 5th Wave but what form it will take is anyones guess.  For Cassie, surviving long enough to rescue her six year old brother Sam, is her only goal.  Having lost every one she’s ever known or cared about, Cassie must find a way to  get her brother back.  The odds are against her and she knows she’s being hunted but she has to try.  When she encounters Evan Walker, a mysterious, charismatic stranger who saves her life, she has to decide if she’s going to trust him.  To trust is to die, but he saved her and that has to mean something.  Human nature is to be together but being together can be the death of you.  What do you do when the only way to win is to trust but to trust is to risk death.  For Cassie, the decision may mean the end of her life, the end of her world and the end of her heart but the risk may give her something greater.  Something that has been lost, freedom.

My Thoughts

Read the book!!!!!  Don’t see the movie first.  I saw the movie.  It sucked.  Ok, it didn’t completely suck.  Casting Alex Roe as Evan Walker was a good decision.  He has the most amazing blue eyes and that young man can rock a beard!  But I digress, this is a review of the book, not the movie.  Let me continue…

This book is written in very distinct parts.  Each part is narrated by a different person.  It’s important because the world these characters are living in is at war.  They are isolated and broken down, some might say that these characters are broken beyond repair.  They are alone.  Very alone.  They have only themselves to care for, interact with and count on.  This means that there is a whole lot of inner monologue going on throughout the book.  It’s vital to the development of the story.  It’s essential in understanding The Others.  This is the reason this book didn’t translate well into a movie.  You lose all of this and it’s the very thing that makes the book.  This book is more psychological than action.  Yes there is action, but it’s second to the psychology of the story, to the psychology of The Others strategic invasion, second to the psychological damage to the characters within the story.  It’s nearly impossible to translate onto the big screen without having a significant amount of voice over narrating.

The characters in this book were deeply troubled and struggled with just surviving.  They were pained and isolated.  The type of devastation they have suffered is astounding.  They are exactly where The Others want them, it’s all part of the plan.  And their struggles are only just beginning.  They are going to have to make choices that go against their very nature, because its the only way to get ahead. Rick Yancey, did an amazing job of developing Cassie, Evan and Ben.  They are highly complex characters with more depth and dimension than you often see in adult books.  That’s why this is a great crossover book for adults.  Some of the less plausible plot devices are more believable when you have complicated characters like this to carry the story.

When I first started reading about this book and talking to people about it, it was compared to The Maze Runner.  And while it has some similarities, I found it to be more closely related to The Host.  And before  you say, “Bleh, Stephanie Meyer! Twilight! Bleh!” just hear me out.  This book is psychological.  So much of the struggle for these characters is inside their minds, not out in the world.  This is exactly like The Host.  There is more than one enemy in both of these books.  Yes, the obvious enemy exists in the aliens, but the more deceptive and damaging enemy lies within.  This is the quiet enemy that we always forget about.  It can make the character win or lose while the exterior enemy sits back and waits.  It’s fascinating to read books like this and why I highly recommend this book to everyone.

Overall, an excellent start to what I’m sure is going to a terrific and memorable series.  I can’t wait to get started on The Infinite Sea.  And, book three, The Last Star has an expected publication date of May 24, 2016.  That’s not that far away .  Certainly not long enough for me to forget the complexities of this story.  Maybe this is why I waited so long to read this book, I knew waiting for the next books to come out was going to be painful and I just couldn’t deal with that.  That’s what I’m going to believe anyways.  So go out and checkout this epic read.  You won’t regret it.

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