I was a little wary of reading this, despite my growing interest, since it deals with aliens coming to Earth. (It's done in a very different way than how my Kindred do this, but I couldn't know that going in.) However, as an aspiring author I will add this prior to my actual review: I am very glad I read The 5th Wave when I did. It got me thinking *way* more about what effects another species coming to our planet would have on us as a whole, regardless of their intentions.
Okay, enough detours. Let's get to the review! :D
(Summary from GoodReads)
The Passage meets Ender’s Game in an epic new series from award-winning author 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.(
The idea of aliens doing something, anything, to our planet is a far cry from being new. But as with most plots or premises, it's not whether it's new in itself, but rather how it is used, that matters. For the record? The 5th Wave wastes absolutely none of the potential of this idea. In fact, it takes something that I would normally consider a very plot heavy idea and turns it on its head by having the story's characters be the driving force behind both what is going on and just how shocking / devastating / frightening the events going on actually are.
The two things that really stood out to me about this book as a writer, aside from what I said in my opening, were the level of consequences that the events of the story had on the characters, and the way that Ethan's character was used. I had my theories about Ethan as the book progressed, and I was thrilled at what happened with regard to him. As for how plot effected character here, I love the fact that I slowly discovered just what the 5th Wave actually was, and how because of the pacing of that discover and how it coincided with my growing attachment to the characters, the discovery was possibly one of the most mind shattering things I've ever read in a piece of speculative fiction.
The characters, from major ones like Cassie and Zombie, to more minor ones like Ringer and Dumbo, each had things about them that drew me in and made me care. In a story like this the height of the stakes is only increased more by the attachment formed to the characters, and I was really happy to see the potential for that not to go to waste. The situation these people were put into might not have been something I've encountered in real life, but the characters were real, and that sold me on them, their world, the conflicts they were facing, and ultimately their story as a whole.
There is a bit of a romance here and while I love one aspect of it (who is Ethan?), the actual romance pacing isn't necessarily the best ever. That's okay, though. That's not really the core of this book and it does something so freaking cool that I'm willing to forgive it. (Plus I'm not really against insta-like / love unless it's totally stupid and this wasn't.) I think Rick Yancey struck a good balance here, and I (again!) love how the romance between these two played into the story overall. I don't think we see enough stuff like this.
If you like science fiction or post apocalyptic reads I would strongly advise that you check this novel out. There is a lot of interesting stuff here and by the time you finish I assure you The 5th Wave will stick with you long after you turn the last page. It starts out a little odd and there are some flashbacks (not everyone likes those) but trust me: give this time to get going and you won't want to put it down.