Author: Rick Yancey
Published: May 7, 2013
Stars: 4 out of 5
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 first impression of the book was the simplicity of the words make this an easy read. The plot isn’t overly complex or difficult to follow. But as I was reading, the author would throw in a sentence or a paragraph that had me stopping and rereading what was written. The author has a great ability to lead the reader down a certain path in order to draw out specific emotions.
The book itself is divided into multiple sections, with each section switching POV. The main heroine, Cassie, is strong willed, stubborn, immature, self absorbed, struggles dealing with her emotions, and well , everything a teenager is supposed to be. The author did a great job staying true to her character/voice. Not that I always liked everything about Cassie, but her feelings/emotions/reactions were consistent with a young adolescent who is despite to survive.
The scene where Cassie runs into a person while getting water was heartbreaking. I don’t normally quote books within my review but I felt like this passage held a significant amount of loss, pain, and loneliness. It was worth pointing out.
“But it wasn’t him screaming, it was me screaming, me and everybody else who was left…all of us helpless, hopeless, stupid humans screaming, because we got it wrong…it’s not how it ends. It ends with us killing each other…”
One of the things I thought slightly ridiculous was what Cassie packed for travel. Some of the items were just silly considering she needed to pack light. For example- a cell phone that does not and will never work again. Even her reasoning behind doing this I don’t exactly understand. Something about it being hers. I did however think her choice and reasoning behind her book choice was fun. I will say one of the difficult things was reading about how Cassie lost her family. I think this is partly due to having a family and kids myself and also putting yourself in her shoes.
Cassie’s famous high school crush, Ben, gets introduced in the book. In the beginning, I was excited that Cassie might get her chance to be with him. The way she talked/journaled about him, it was as though he was everything she lost or missed out on because of the alien invasion. But as the book goes on and you get to know Ben more, I didn’t want Cassie to end up with Ben. Yes he is brave, strong, attractive, sometimes funny.. But I didn’t feel like he is what Cassie needs. By the time I hit last 25% of the book, I kept putting the book down and didn’t really want to pick it up. I think this was because I knew Cassie and Ben would eventually encounter each other and even though I think they would be horrible together, I wasn’t sure what the author would think/do And I was right, by the end of the book they finally encounter each other. I thought their exchange was more awkward and I guess I felt like they just didn’t fit right. What did everyone else think??
The author doesn’t spend much time telling the story through Sam’s perspective which is probably a good thing. I think it would be difficult for any author to create the correct voice/mannerisms/reactions for a five year old boy. Overall the author did a pretty good job of this but there were moments when Sammy would say something or something was noted in the text that a young kid just wouldn’t normally say/take note of. Especially one who was as sleep deprived and hungry as he was.
As the story continues, Ben and Sam’s path cross. During this time, I couldn’t help but grieve the boy both he and Ben should of had the opportunity to be and the man they are forced to become. As I was reading the book, I felt terrible for what they were going through. All I kept thinking, hoping, was if Cassie would get to them before they turn into this hard emotionless shadow of themselves.
And then there is Evan Walker. Evan Walker, wow, I’m not sure where to start. He is everything Ben is (strong, attractive, strong, brave..) but he is also loyal, calm, nurturing, and comfort. I know, comfort is a weird way to describe him. But everything he is and does, it all provides comfort and safety. The way he cares for Cassie is astonishing and in a way romantic. According to him, he says Cassie saved him. But I think they saved each other. Because what he brings out of Cassie is more than safety. I think he brings back part of her humanity. Losing part of herself, her humanity, has been something Cassie has been struggling with throughout most of the book.
And the twist the author puts in the story is surprisingly amazing. I’m not going to give anything away but I will admit, Some of the twists were completely genius! One of the dilemmas the book brings up is how the world is an either or- either I survive or they do, I die or I live, sometimes I die if I stay or I die if I go, either he is human or he is Other.. You get the idea. I think the bigger question the author brings up is does it matter anymore? Especially when you would do anything for the person who you love.
Overall. I loved this book. This plot is genius! The ending is well, amazing. I did take a star away because I didn’t love or always like Cassie’s character. And I felt like the author did a lot of telling us what emotions were happening or how things were instead of showing us through examples and conversation.