Book Review: The 5th 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.

3.5 cupcakes

The 5th Wave is exactly how I like my post-apocalyptic worlds: dark and with high stakes. There’s this prevailing feeling of hopelessness that, coupled with the intrigue of what the 5th Wave could possibly contain, certainly makes for an intense read.

This creepy factor peters off towards the middle of the book when our protagonist, Cassie, forgets that survival should be her main priority and falls into an unfortunate case of instalove with Evan. Not only is the romance severely lacking in chemistry, but it also serves to weaken Cassie’s character and any previous admiration that I had for her. Any suspicions that Cassie (rightfully) had about Evan were swept out the window whenever he so much as smiled at her, causing the plot to drag in many places, and ruining the effect of the subsequent plot twist (if it can be called that, given that I had guessed it fairly early on).

I wasn’t really able to connect with any of the characters. While I appreciated having multiple perspectives, the fact that they weren’t labelled led to a bit of confusion on my part, since Cassie and Zombie sounded quite similar; if it weren’t for the fact that they were in much different settings (and of different genders), I wouldn’t have been able to tell their voices apart. I really enjoyed seeing the world through Sammy’s eyes: the naive voice of a child brought much-needed light-hearted, aww-worthy moments to the story.

Some of my favourite parts of The 5th Wave were the philosophical musings on moral ambiguity and the notion of humanity. It posed some questions that I’m still considering: what does it mean to be human? Is humanity something that one can gain or lose?

Overall, I enjoyed The 5th Wave for the most part; if it weren’t for the romance, I feel as though I would have loved it just as much as everyone else. That being said, I’m still looking forward to reading The Infinite Sea , if only to see how much more intense the alien invasion can get.

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