Thursday, October 17, 2013

Book Review: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Pages: 457
Genre: YA Sci-fi
Pub. Date: May 7, 2013
Source: Personal Copy
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "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."
Cassie isn't just your average young girl; she is one of the few survivors of an alien invasion.  The aliens have come to Earth and they aren't here to make nice. The aliens have a five tiered plan to exterminate humans and Cassie finds herself on the brink of the 5th wave.  She finds herself alone, desperate, and not sure who she can trust as the aliens resemble humans.  Cassie's one mission is to reunite with her brother if she can evade the "Silencer."  There is also "Zombie" a reluctant military recruit and he has to learn from the past in order to move on. Lastly, there's Evan Walker, another survivor; can he help Cassie find her brother?  Rick Yancey's The 5th Wave is the type of all-consuming read that is no doubt captivating and thought provoking, but despite all of its promise and hype, it ultimately was just a slightly above average read for me.

How could you not root for Cassie from the very beginning of The 5th Wave? She is going through an alien invasion and is on a desperate mission to save her brother, Sammy.  All she has is an M16 and Sammy's teddy bear, that is until she finds another survivor, Evan.  Yancey, surprisingly, jumps from Cassie's point of view about a quarter of the way through to "Zombie's," Sammy's and the "Silencer."  At the end of the day, it was Cassie's perspective that I was most drawn to.

For me, the setting was downright scary. Yancey knows how to freak me out. He had me up late flipping the pages and then thinking about what if this actually happened? In fact, when my husband was away on business, I had to take a break from The 5th Wave, because it was just-that-creepy.  Only the best writer is capable of doing that to me. Although Yancey's writing style isn't my favorite, I could appreciate his talent and his ability to captivate an audience.

So, what's my issue with The 5th Wave? This is going to sound really lame, but something has changed in me now that I'm a mom. I can no longer read about children in horrible situations without it being too heart-wrenching.  And The 5th Wave is just that. It's heart-wrenching and in-your-face upsetting.  For me, most of the story was SO depressing and so very sad. The part of me that can't read about children in these type of situations is the same part of me that can't watch The Walking Dead (despite my husband's love for it) and I can't read scary novels (I'm looking at you Stephen King).  Reading the section from Sammy's point of view and his longing for his sister, his mother, his memories, his teddy bear....I just couldn't.  There are no words. I just wanted it to end and for me to be out of my misery. I mean if anything could go wrong, it went wrong! Why would I want to be lost in The 5th Wave's world? It was seriously my nightmare. But I mean Kirkus reviews called The 5th Wave "nothing short of amazing" and when Kirkus Reviews says that, you trudge on.... through all 457 pages.

My other issue with The 5th Wave is the violence. Yes, I realize that The Hunger Games (also violent and also involves children in upsetting situations) is one of my favorite books, but for me The 5th Wave was a bit more violent. 90% of the world dies. Seriously. And Cassie witnesses family members dying brutally at gun point. The massive killing and the descriptions of gruesome deaths....it was all too much to bear.  Normally violence in literature doesn't bother me this much, but Yancey, being an incredible author, made it too real.  So, on one hand, I applaud Yancey's brilliant writing, but on the other hand, I recognize that The 5th Wave just isn't for me.

So, that's why I gave it 3.5 stars as I am really torn.  I can see The 5th Wave's commercial appeal. I know many a teenager will enjoy this book.  I am even going to encourage my husband to read it. I recognize Yancey's incredible writing, his ability to make things so real for his readers, the fact that he makes his readers think, but when it comes down to it, it's simply like this: The 5th Wave isn't a world that I want to live in nor imagine EVER again.  

18 comments:

  1. I have seen SUCH mixed reviews on this one. People generally love it or really miss the boat with it though, so it's nice to read an honest in-between review. The fact that the author can write well is a definite plus, but I hesitate to read it because I'm not sure that would actually save the book for me. Great review, Christina! :)

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    1. Thanks, Melissa. I wanted to like it since it was written so well and the concept is so compelling, but I just couldn't get past certain things. Thanks for visiting! :)

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  2. I liked it, but it left me wanting so much more (which I guess is coming in a sequel). And definitely agreed - it was insanely violent!

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    1. I'm so glad you liked it. I know it's popular and going to be made into a movie, etc, but it just wasn't for me. I hope you can get your hands on the sequel soon! Thanks for dropping by, Ashley!

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  3. Agreed - it was insanely violent! And I left wanting more, but I did overall enjoy it

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    1. Yess.....sooo violent and that's why I had issues with it. I'm glad you liked it overall though. Thanks for visiting!

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  4. I had difficulty reading The Hunger Games the first time though I did love the series. I started reading this one but didn't get to read much of it before it was due back to the library. I like scary books sometimes but I am really not a fan of very dark stories and usually prefer contemporary fiction or historical romance or mystery.

    I have a feeling that a lot of teens would love this. It seems to go out all the time at my library. Maybe I will read it someday but I would have to be in the right mood for a darker book.

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    1. I felt like it was just SOO dark and I guess I wasn't in the mood for a dark read. You are right....you have to be in the mood for a book like this. I am usually more info contemporary, historical, etc. So much for branching out! haha. Thanks for dropping by, Christina!

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  5. I absolutely loved this book and I get what you're saying about children in horrible situations. I would advise you not to read Gone series by Michael Grant, then. Because as much as I love that series, it was difficult to get through every single one of them. I finished and loved them all. I am a mother of two so just thinking about the horrible things that happened in the books nearly broke me.

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    1. Ahhh. Thanks for the heads up about that series. I have seen it around a lot, but have never read it. I'm glad you liked this book though. Thanks for visiting!

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  6. There was SO much hype surrounding this book when it released. I remember receiving a ton of promo emails for it. Like a lot of hyped books I've put this one on the backburner - and now I'm really not sure it's for me. I'm all for the scares (but of the psychological kind) --I'm not really one for violence in books, TV shows or movies so maybe this one isn't for me.

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    1. Yeah, I know you like your thrillers! :) This was more violent than I was expecting and way more sci-fi-ish/dystopian. I think you would fare better with it than me though! :) Thanks for visiting, Leanna!

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  7. I've had this book on my to-read list for a while now. I haven't read that many reviews for it either. I can totally relate about the mom thing when reading books. It definitely makes you think differently. This sounds like it would be an interesting read, even though it will probably freak me out. lol!

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    1. It really does, Christy, and I feel like I sounded really lame saying that, but I seriously couldn't let it go. It does make you think differently...you are so right! It definitely freaked me out, but I can see the appeal. Thanks for visiting, Christy!

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  8. I personally didn't like The 5th Wave as much as I hoped to. I wasn't a fan of the violence and the characters were pretty annoying to me. Thanks for the great, honest review! :)

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    1. Me too. I am glad to hear that we agree and I am not the only one with those thoughts. Thanks for dropping by, Montana.

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  9. I completely understand about children in peril. It's my least favorite subject for a book or movie. In fact, during the movie Jurrasic Park, when the kids were in the car alone, the T-Rex was headed their way, and the water in the cup was shaking, I was done. Done. I left the theater.

    Thanks for the review, but I will have to pass on this one.

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    1. OMG. I feel the same way. I bet that scene in Jurassic Park would have freaked me out as well. Thank you for visiting, LeeAnn.

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