Book Review: The Fifth Wave by 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.

– Goodreads.com

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There comes a time when a book piles up so many positive reviews from people whose opinions you trust, that, well, you just have to read it for yourself. In my case this was one of those books.

And my verdict? It’s a five star read!

Rick Yancey may be a man, but he’s a man who knows how to write compelling and complex characters. Characters who make you feel something, everything. When we first meet Cassie (the only female p.o.v. character) she’s getting trigger happy in a convenience store and while that might not be the most relatable situation, it certainly gets your attention, and then you hear her reasons. You start to see how she survives in this brave new world, how she’s lasted so long. And you think “I could be Cassie.” And that’s pretty darn scary.

Beyond the great characters this book also offers bucket loads of suspense – alien mother ships, snippers, stalkers, creepy military operations, you name it. This is the sort of apocalypse where it’s a matter of when you die, not if, and any time gained in the world of the living is a lucky surprise – I now understand the Hunger Games references (I was sort of mystified by them going in). In the words of one of the characters (slightly edited because I lost the page reference): “the only way to go forward [remain brave] isn’t to find something to live for, it’s to find something worth dying for…”

I’m a sucker for a romance plot line and at the start of this novel, after meeting Cassie and then finding out Ben, her high school crush, lived despite her assumptions he’s dead, I thought I knew what was coming next. I had no clue. Another reason why this book rocks so much. Now I don’t want to give any more spoilers but I will say that her love interest in this book had me in undecided territory right up until the final pages when he totally won me over and I want to see a whole load of p.o.v from him in book two!

Now for the ending: cliff hangers suck, but since I’m fairly sure that the character everyone’s worried about is too major to be written out, I’m just going to chill, basking in the knowledge that come 2014 I’ll probably see him again. And let me tell you, that’s one title I’m putting on pre-order.

What I liked best: the ensemble cast, the alien/mystery/suspense elements, the romance, the p.o.v. characters’ pithy/humorous observations, that damn teddy bear.

6 thoughts on “Book Review: The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey

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