Becky’s Two Hundred and Sixtieth Book Review: “The 5th Wave” by Rick Yancey

“The 5th Wave” by Rick Yancey was an okay book. When I first saw the preview for “The 5th Wave” I had two thoughts: that movie looks terrible and I want to read that book! Conflicting thoughts – I know. Once I started the book, I did need to push myself to continue with it for the first few pages. Despite all efforts, it did start out a little slow. Once I got caught up in the story however, I devoured it.

Cassie Sullivan (named after the constellation, not the myth the constellation is named for) is the main character and she did make for an interesting one. In some ways, she was strong, resilient. She saw what happened to the world and she chose to fight for her life and her brother. She relies on herself and trusts no one. “In the 4th Wave, you can’t trust that people are still people. But you can trust that your gun is still your gun.” (The 5th Wave, pg 8). I thought this was a pretty badass statement. She has a few of those and even though she is only sixteen, the world being what it is has forced her to be realistic and, by most standards, darkly pessimistic. “The thing about killing is you don’t know if you can actually do it until you actually do it.” (The 5th Wave, pg 11). On the other hand, she didn’t seem quite believable. It wasn’t like in “The Hunger Games” where I could relate to Katniss and really be part of the book. And it wasn’t like “Divergent” where Tris was someone I could admire and relate to. Cassie was just there, I wasn’t about to cheer against her, but I was not naturally inclined to cheer for her. Cassie was just not what I look for in a female protagonist.

I thought that while the overall idea of a teenage protagonist in a disintegrating world is not that original, the way that the world is invaded captured my attention and the systematic elimination of resources and in turn people, was interesting. I wasn’t blown away by Rick Yancey’s writing, and I think that is part of what took me so long to really get into the book. This is no groundbreaking piece of literature that will be talked about for years and years to come. But the direction that he took things was definitely intriguing. I did like how Cassie was not the only one telling the story. Having different characters in very different situations can be a great way to illustrate a novel more fully and I thought this was well done. The voices between the characters were different enough that you weren’t confused halfway through the chapter as to who was narrating. It kept the pace of “The 5th Wave” moving and made for an overall more enjoyable read.

Would I recommend this book? Yeah, probably – it is worth reading. I do have the second book in the series and I’m hoping that Rick Yancey’s writing improves as the series progresses. I am curious about what direction the series will be going in, especially because the book didn’t end exactly the way that I anticipated. “The 5th Wave” was enjoyable enough. I wouldn’t necessarily rush out to buy your own copy, but borrow from a friend or the library for a quick read.

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