The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Added 5/17/13: I don't have much else thought up to refine this review more, but at the end of the original review post, I've added some notes I jotted down while reading The 5th Wave that I wanted to share.
Originally written on 5/9/13, a brief post:
I'm leaning more towards 4.5 stars, but that's only because I haven't quite had time to entirely process the ending yet -- I'm not sure how I feel about the ending. And I have a few quibbles about certain parts of the book that may have made my mind wander a little bit.
Nonetheless, this book was certainly an intense, fast-paced, magnificent read that had me grasping for the next chapter and then the next and the next continuously. I couldn't put it down and there was not a moment of boredom to be had.
If no one's been following my updates, I will repeat how much I loved the characters. Cassie is so much kickass and badass female main character rolled in with all of her character flaws and sardonic survivalist 'tude that I had tons of fun following her POV. Ben has a similar voice to Cassie's, but after the initial introduction of his character, I found I was able to pick him out better. As for Evan... well, he's totally charming and hot and so much awesome, just like Cassie.
There were quite a few predictable points that I'm not sure whether or not were meant for the reader to pick up on right away,
I'm usually pretty bad about writing reviews in general; and I'm worse off at writing about books that I "OMG, I can't put this book down cause I love it so much" worship. The Hunger Games was a book I couldn't think of anything to write about (also, I'd read that book before I stumbled upon Goodreads), and The Archived from the beginning of this year was another book I couldn't think of how to express me love for.
So I may or may not come back to this later on and add more thoughts, but for right now, these are my random brief opinions.
I like how everything unfolds as Cassie recounts both her present survival dilemma while including some brief flashbacks into the past. Without a massive informational dump, she recounts incidents associated with previous Waves as they apply to her current situation, and then she moves on. I love how sardonic and dark her personality is -- that she’s not a hundred percent anger and melancholy; that she still has a sense of twisted humor to go with her ass-kicking, gun-toting survivalist task. At the same time, she still exhibits the ideals of a normal teenage girl (carrying the essentials of toiletries along on her trek because, even if she is to die on this journey, she would still rather be squeaky clean); but she also knows what essentials she cannot go without as well as some “just in case” essentials (like the matches for in case she needs to set something on fire or blow something up).
I also like that she’s not immune to being paranoid about the people around her. She’s got major character flaws that make her more or less human in the face of extinction. She hates that everyone had gone on a big stink about the alien invasion with all their own theories. She tries to play it cool as if she doesn’t care, but in reality it’s freaking her out. And then, when everything goes to hell on her, she moves on because she knows she has to move on. She hesitates to kill when faced with a possible enemy, but when the time comes down to it, she automatically lets her survival instincts kick in by pulling the trigger. Her main plight is to survive long enough to find her brother, Sammy... which essentially just boils down to, “find Sammy and take him back” without any concrete plans of the entire process. This is what makes me love her so much, if only because she knows what she needs to do even if she doesn’t know exactly what she actually needs to do. Make sense? Probably not.
And here's a second set of jotted notes:
There’s always that moment in the book when something happens unexpectedly... and in an “Oh my God, I did NOT expect that” sort of way. Even if it was just something small and might have even been insignificant to anyone else. And at that point, somehow, you know that if you weren’t already hooked by that book, then you are now; or, if you were already hooked, you’re even more so than before.
When the second part “Wonderland” started, I spent the entire time trying to figure out who this new POV was. I mean, I figured out pretty quickly that this person was not Cassie anymore and that we were maybe being introduced to a new player in this apocalyptic world; but no names were given, only the 1st person account like this was some sort of private journal. I was prepared to find out who this new person was, granted, a part of me didn’t really care because his narration and Cassie’s narration only had a slight amount of difference in tone and voice. His narration was slightly more cynical and apathetic while Cassie’s was more realistic and “let’s kick some ass”. They both have the same sense of dry sarcasm with an undertone of dark melancholy (seeing as how the world is being decimated even as they both narrate their parts and billions have died).
This brought me to think: I guess there’s a difference in the way you see the future’s outcome when the human race is near extinction. He had lost his entire family and almost died from the plague so he had nothing left to live for; in turn, everything became a pessimistic soup of self-woe. Cassie, on the other hand, still had a brother to search for, and so despite her knowledge that she might not make it alive, she was intent on keeping her promise to find her brother; given that situation, she had a reason to keep her going.
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