The 5th Wave by Rick Yancy
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Published: 2013
457 pages (US Hardcover)
Received: An ARC in a contest on Goodreads

“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 see 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.”

     I wanted to read this book since I saw the blurb. The idea of different waves of destruction really caught my attention. The aliens didn’t outright attack, but sent four waves to wreck havoc on Earth. The first killed the power, the second was a massive tsunami, the third was a deadly disease and the fourth was them picking off humans. I wanted to know how people survived these “waves”. Not to mention, it had a cool cover; just a girl walking by herself.

     I really enjoyed Cassie’s narrative. She spoke as a girl that grew up during a series of catastrophic events, and turned into a different person. She is strong and smart, and devoted to finding her brother. I liked how she carried his teddy bear to remind her of her promise. She is sarcastic and I found myself rooting for her from page one. She is afraid, but she hasn’t given up and when faced with a choice, she decides to fight. I loved her spirit, and the way she tried to not let her past decisions haunt her.

     Throughout the entire book, I felt connected to Cassie. She lost everything and is now all alone, but she feels compelled to find and rescue her brother. She is realistic about her situation and predicament and she doesn’t hide her fear of death. I understood her and could easily relate. I believe that most readers, male or female, will be able to, on some level, connect with Cassie. The author does an amazing job of creating a character that in no way feels like a piece of fiction, but rather like a friend.

     I was hesitant about the character change, when halfway through the book the point-of-view was no longer Cassie’s. I was deeply engrossed in Cassie’s story and I didn’t want to leave. However, because of the change the reader experiences the other side of humanity. The other children that are now being trained to fight and kill. I didn’t like the nicknames, “Zombie” and “Nugget” were just odd and I stumbled over them. I was horrified to see how the children were treated and manipulated in the camps.

     I am usually against relationships in books, most times it takes away from the story, in my opinion. At first, I was disappointed when I realized that there was indeed going to be a relationship between certain characters (it’s very difficult not to write any spoilers), however, the author manages to balance out the relationship(s) with action and suspense. It didn’t feel forced or rushed, and it didn’t hinder the story at all.

    The pace of this book is just right. Cassie’s flashbacks allow the reader to see who she was before the Arrival and how she has changed. Her memories, such as the Crucifix Man, haunt her. There is enough action to keep you interested and enough backstory so the characters seem real. I could not put it down, I was hooked. I am fairly certain I missed a few meals while I was reading this and I anticipate doing the same when the next book comes out (which it is scheduled to do so next spring).

Overall Opinion: I loved this book. It was fast-paced and the characters were realistic and imperfect. Cassie especially. There were plenty of unanticipated plot twists that blew my mind and I could not put the book down. This book got me in a dystopian book craze. The author does a great job of creating an unfamiliar setting, even though it takes place on Earth. I absolutely cannot wait for the second book.

If you liked this book, you may also like:

Divergent by Veronica Roth

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

The Maze Runner by James Dashner