Friday, May 10, 2013

Book Review: The 5th Wave

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. Quoted from Goodreads


There's so much hype for this book, it's almost crazy.  It's been called the next Hunger Games or Ender's Game (yeah, at least it avoided the word game it it's title, or it would come off as too cliche).  I'll be honest, though, that's the real reason I picked it up. After the Ender's Game and Catching Fire previews, plus the trailers for the book itself, I was in the mood for a great Scifi story, and The 5th Wave did not disappoint.

One of the biggest selling points of the story, one that gives it an added urgency, is Cassie has to get to her little brother.  It's like talking about Hunger Games without including Rue.  Cassie can't just hide or survive.  She has to keep her promise to her brother.  In the beginning she doesn't know where he is or what's been done with him, but he's the only person she has left, and going after him is worth risking everything for.

 Plus, action, action action.  But also relationships in case you're scared, but mostly action.  I mean, when the enemy looks just like your friends, who can you trust? Most of the population has been wiped out.  Basically everyone you've ever known is gone, but how can you believe anyone enough to be their friend, when at any moment they could turn on you?  The first three Waves were bad enough, ripping apart the world and killing almost all of it's inhabitants. The 4th (and titular  5th) are a different level of mean. 

 It starts off with Cassie.  Alone.  Who, by luck, bravery, and an unwillingness not to give up, has survived the first 4 waves. The first part has a lot of flashbacks leading up to where she is now.  It explores each of the waves, how they affected Cassie and her family, and what turned her into the person she has become.  Honestly, Cassie is one of those heroins you can't help but root for.  She's not perfect, but in some ways, she's perfect for the world that has fallen apart around her. 

But it's not just Cassie's POV we get.  We also get a good portion from Ben Parish, her little brother Sammie, and even the mysterious Silencer. I liked the back and forth POV.  It let us see more of the world, and leveled up the conflict, exposing us to so much more than one person alone could have experienced.

As for twist, wel, most of them you can see coming, but honestly that didn't really bother me.  maybe it's because there's still so much tension without it, or maybe it's just the way it was handled, but (like in Cinder) I was okay sort of guessing what was really going on.  Sometimes it almost makes the suspense worse. For example, you know someone is bad, but because the character doesn't yet, you're afraid of what they will do while buying into the villain's twisted machinations.  Sometimes that's even worse.

All in all, this is a edge-of-your-seat, keep-you-up-past-midnight sort of read.  It's a strong 4.5 stars for me, with a good chance it will migrate up to 5 with time.  Now it is the first in a trilogy, so there are two more installments, and while it wraps up a lot of stuff, there are a lot of cliffhangers left to keep you chomping on the bit waiting for the next book.  So if you're stuck waiting for some amazing November movie releases, you need to pick this up. Just a quick warning, there' some language and a couple of pretty violent moments, so not really for the younger young adult readers.  Still, for everyone else, it's fast-paced, exciting, and a great take on alien invasions. 

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