Monday, May 20, 2013
REVIEW: THE 5TH WAVE
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The 5th Wave will pull you under. With the fast-paced action scenes and mysterious nature of the humans and the aliens, this original, violent, suspenseful story blows past the other typical post-apocalyptic novels. The world that has been hit by alien forces with electromagnetic pulses, tsunamis & earthquakes, and disease,and Cassie is determined to keep her promise to find her little brother. She has to navigate a world full of murderous aliens-posed-as-humans, a new kind of army set on a course to extermination, and knows she can't trust anyone.
The breathlessly fast action scenes, the alien-invasion premise, and the brilliant writing make this a stunning combination. Really, what sets this book apart is the writing--it's concise while still descriptive, brimming with beauty and tension, and quick and dramatic enough to be completely chilling. The sense of uncertainty that the characters experience saturates the writing to the point that you feel the suspicion and uncertainty that the characters do. All perfectly matched to a world in the middle of destruction, trying to save what humanity is left.
It's written in a few different POV's--you'll be really getting into Cassie's of-the-moment, trusting no-one, running-on-an-impossible-promise storyline, then you'll be thrown into another character who is equally believable, well-developed, and captivating. The gradual development of each character, revealing their secrets agonizingly slow, served to build up an incredible amount of suspense throughout the whole book.
It's a major plus that there is an Ender's Game feel to it--with the children's army, the training and the desperate hope they have to have. However, I get anxious when young children are placed in situations like this, and I wondered if that was entirely necessary to the plot. I feel like it could have worked without the young kids--and just stuck to teenagers. And while we're comparing to other books, notice that it shares some genre similarities with Hunger Games and that crowd, but I felt like it even ran a little deeper and was more realistic. There wasn't a whole lot of time spent world building because it takes place in the world we live in today! Which was kind of nice, not to have to go through the sometimes painful process of world building that you're subjected to in a lot of dystopian, post-apocalyptic YA.
This book touches on a lot of dark, deep issues--like humanity, survival, trust, bravery, love, and strong familial bonds. Sometimes these issues make it seem more mature, but the humor and the age of the characters keep it light and fresh. You can bet that this book is going to be a hit--but for good reason! Strong reader reaction shows that it's exciting to read, and I'm looking forward to seeing people get into it.
Definitely pick this up if you liked The Hunger Games, Ender's Game, the classic War of the Worlds, Insurgent, or really any welcome-to-the-apocalypse dystopian or science fiction books. Like Across the Universe, The Dead and the Gone, or even The Host.
Read the first 54 pages of the book here.