Title: The 5th Wave
Author: Rick Yancey
“How do you rid the Earth of humans? Rid the humans of their humanity.”
With The 5th Wave, there’s intrigue and action from the get-go as we’re plopped unceremoniously into the midst of an apocalypse. The human race has been decimated by four previous waves of attack by mysterious beings. The methods they used to dispose of us are ruthless, designed not only to kill but to destroy our spirit, I thought it was like a modern iteration of the Plagues of Egypt. But God wasn’t behind these destruction, instead it was an alien race with unknown motives. At the end of the 4th wave, our narrator, Cassie thinks she’s possibly the only human left on Earth. After all the horrors she’s witnessed, Cassie is understandably jaded and mistrustful. Her only mission left in life is to find her little brother, who became separated from her earlier on in the plotline.
“It’s hard to plan for what comes next when what comes next is not something you planned for.”
Here is a book that I was primed to love unreservedly, I was all ready to give it 5 stars, but the book did not quite hit its peak for me. Apocalyptic survival story are one of my favourite storylines as it allows the question: ‘What are humans capable of in face of extremely awful odds?’ to be explored on a grand scale. So I was a little bit disappointed with The 5th Wave, as I felt the plot did not reach its full potential despite the exciting opening chapters. I found the middle part of the book especially hard to get through, while I understand that it was setting up for the finale – I felt that the writing could have been tighter. Instead, we got quite a few wasted chapters of Cassie and Evan (designated-love-interest no.1) in a barn house that didn’t contribute to the conclusion much.
“But if I’m it, the last of my kind, the last page of human history, like hell I’m going to let the story end this way. I may be the last one, but I am the one still standing. I am the one turning to face the faceless hunter in the woods on an abandoned highway. I am the one not running but facing. Because if I am the last one, then I am humanity. And if this is humanity’s last war, then I am the battlefield.”
I did like all of the characters we were introduced to in this book. I admired Cassie’s determination and love she had for her family. Despite her less than ideal situation, she still retains a biting sense of humour. However, I wasn’t impressed with how quickly she trusted (and even falls for!) Evan. I understood that the love story was part of an essential theme through the book, what with all the questions about what makes us human – nonetheless, it developed out of nowhere and left me baffled. Evan remains an enigma, his one defining trait is his love for Cassie. I also wish we got to see other characters such as Zombie and his group develop a little more. While I liked Zombie’s internal conflict, I admit that my eyes glazed over a lot of his middle chapters – too much military bootcamp for me.
“What doesn’t kill us sharpens us. Hardens us. Schools us. You’re beating plowshares into swords, Vosch. You are remaking us. We are the clay, and you are Michelangelo. And we will be your masterpiece.”
Speaking of Zombie and co, the aliens’ plan did not make any sense by this point, surely there’s better ways to annihilate the race than pitch children against one another? Yes, yes, the whole humanity thematic thing again- but I just didn’t find their logic believable. Not when they were readily disposing of us in previous waves. Hopefully there’s a better explanation to their line of thinking in the next book, please? However, I appreciated the strength the characters got to display thanks to this fail alien logic. Despite all my ranting, it always warms my black heart to see that family, love, trust, strength. and all that good stuff prevail against all odds. I am still rooting for these kids and hope to see them kick some alien butts in the next books.
“The harder survival becomes, the more you want to pull together. And the more you want to pull together, the harder survival becomes.”
Overall, this book has a very strong opening and ending chapters and left me wanting the sequel. This is more than enough to make up for the occasional lapses in logic and poorer middle chapters. Plus, it’s going to be a movie starring Chloe Moretz, all the more reason to pick it up if you haven’t read it!