Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Review: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

From the Back Cover:

The Passage meets Ender’s Game in an epic new series from award-winning author Rick Yancey.

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.

My Thoughts:

The 1st Wave: Lights Out
The 2nd Wave: Surf's Up
The 3rd Wave: Pestilence
The 4th Wave: Silencer

The story opens after the 4th Wave, when the remnants of earth's population are waiting to see what the invaders--the Others--will do next to finally finish them off. Cassie is all that's left of her family, and we join her hiding out, on the run, on the move, as she attempts to stay alive for as long as possible. She's had to grow up fast, witnessing unimaginable horrors, making decisions of life or death, finding the strength and determination to continue the fight. She's a wonderful character--flawed, but real--completely believable and identifiable. The story spins out from her point of view and from that of Evan, a young man who finds her when she's been grievously injured, and from another young man, Zombie, who's joined the organized resistance, as they all try to steel themselves against the anticipated 5th Wave. Unbeknownst to them, their lives will all come to depend on each other as the fight for human survival comes to a head, and when the truth of the 5th Wave is finally revealed, it's more than any of them could have imagined. And the story world is depicted so thoroughly and evocatively, the plot so well-constructed and multi-layered, that this reader thought she had it all figured out and was proven to be completely wrong, just as our heroes were. The ending is intense and as pulse-pounding as any I've read, and I will be in line for the story's continuation in the sequel.

The hype surrounding The 5th Wave is well earned. I should disclose that prior to this the only YA alien invasion books I've read involve hunky aliens who fall in love with humans rather than try to eradicate them, so I'm no expert on the genre, but I thought it was an excellent story. It's intense, gripping, heartbreaking, and scary as hell because it's depicted so realistically that it is very easy to imagine something playing out like this one day in real life. (Especially if you spend your Friday evenings watching Ancient Aliens, as I do!) The execution is brilliant. The plot is tight and holds no punches. The characters are real and gritty and raw. The only thing holding me back from calling it perfect is that I thought it was long-winded, a little heavy on the introspection and downtime between the action, and I thought the pacing suffered a bit for it. But not enough to hinder my enjoyment of the story. I put it in the same category with some of my other YA faves with fantastic storylines and high-quality writing like Shatter Me, Across the Universe, and Under the Never Sky, and it should appeal to fans of YA, dystopian, and sci-fi, and anyone looking for that next great page-turner.

My Rating:  4.5 Stars out of 5

**Please Note: This review references an advance copy received from the publisher through the Amazon Vine program. These are my honest and unbiased opinions, and I was not compensated in any other way for reviewing this book.


  1. This book is getting great buzz but I'm just not sure it's for me. I have a feeling my sister will like it, though.

  2. Thanks for the review! I've been so excited to read this one based on all the feedback I've been hearing. I'm still only 20 or so pages in. Loved your bit about the hunky aliens who fall in love with humans. :P


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