The Fifth Wave

the fifth waveTitle: The Fifth Wave
Author: Rick Yancey
Publisher: Putnam
Publication Date: May 2013
Classification: Young Adult Novel

Summary from Goodreads:

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.

My Thoughts:

“Cruelty isn’t a personality trait. Cruelty is a habit.”
            It might be best to begin any review with a quote. This quote can encompass the overall tone of the book. It might capture that feeling the reader had whilst reading said book or the quote might be something of a favorite line from the reader. This quote is a little bit of both. The 5th Wave was unlike most books I have read in a while but also so much of the same ol same ol of other books I have read. It is a quandary unto itself. I believe the 5th Wave is considered a New Adult book as it certainly seems to fall within that genre. Is it dystopian? Yes. Is it geared towards teens? Not exactly. The 5th Wave is a book where anyone can find some certain amount of enjoyment from. I am not completely sold on the ending and the plot holes within the book seem to be a bit of a glaring issue but I will press on and state it is worth a read as the first half goes by at a blistering pace. And then we reach the second half and ‘whoa! Slow it down’…we come to a bit of a crawl. The reader is on a ride through the highway of Hell (dystopian after all), careening past obstacles and on its way towards some big revelation until the author pumps the brakes, smashing the reader against the windshield. In most dystopian books, there are no more airbags. The Earth had already been invaded by Aliens but they are not as they seem. Four waves of destruction have already ravaged the world: Lights out (EMP), Surf’s up (Massive Waves), Pestilence (Disease, if you did not already figure that one out), and Silencer (Drones). So what is the 5th Wave? Well the big reveal did not really come to be any sort of surprise but I was still affected by it. It is the love story which I had an issue with. It was very heavy handed. Cassie is a particular character I was able to get behind but her romantic involvement in Evan, who is not also what he seems to be, grated on my nerves.
            Was this book anything special? No. The dystopian genre is one which is being milked for all its worth and sometimes a novel comes along which is magic (The Road, Hunger Games), but the 5th Wave is not magic. It is not lightning in a bottle. But that does not make it any less fun to read. If one can get past the sluggish part of the second half then the reader will find enjoyment out of the book once more. The ending of the book did not satisfy me but it was how Cassie evolved as a character which seemed to be the most human trait of all; in the course of 456 pages, she did not go from ordinary teen to a kick ass heroine. She was still an ordinary teen in a very unordinary world, but this teen showed her jaded nature and the events she goes through stand as a testament to her character. She is beaten and scarred but never broken. Her persistence is endearing in the face of a seemingly hopeless future. The ending left a bit to be desired but I hope Rick Yancey can pull off a solid second act. ‘The Infinite Sea’ is due out in bookstores this year.
P.S. Don’t forget the bear.


  1. Hmm… I’m not sure about the plot holes, but I’m curious about your “anyone can find some certain amount of enjoyment” comment. And, the bear. LOL Great review!

  2. My teen that read it was frustrated that their is nothing before. Where are the books for the 1-4th waves? Idk. Look forward to picking up & seeing where I fall.

  3. yeah, this wasn’t especially marvelous for me either. What I was most frustrated with, was the enormous potential that the book never lived up to. I felt that the book got better as I was reading it, but given the woebegone tedium of the beginning, the improvement just kept it from being downright awful. But you’re right, there is something for everyone in any book, and I really liked what’s-his-name who found Cassie on the side of the road. So there’s that ;)

  4. I had heard a lot of good things about this book initially, but the more reviews I read, the less excited I am to read it. Great review.

  5. I didn’t read this one just because there were too many gushing 5 star reviews. When that happens I usually set my expectations too high and then I’m left feeling disappointed. I like that you point out it’s good, but not “lightning in a bottle”. Now I won’t feel bad when I read it and don’t gush and squee like everyone else =)

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