The following post is a copy of my first review on Grace’s and my Amazon profile (under the nickname ‘The Pun Brigade’, click here to check out our other reviews) about Rick Yancey’s novel which has become a recent movie: ‘The 5th Wave’. Click here to check out Grace’s website and for her movie reviews.
Here is my first book review:
Having read this book just recently, I thought making a review on it would seem suitable enough. So, let’s look at the plot (SPOILER ALERT):
‘The 5th Wave’ focuses on main character Cassie Sullivan in a post-apocalyptic world caused by the invasion of an alien race nicknamed ‘The Others’. In the prologue (though hinted) and throughout the novel, it is revealed the Others invaded Earth around twenty years previous by ‘uploading’ their minds into unborn children- once the children reached a certain age, their conscious would be absorbed by the Others’ and they would physically be human but mentally have the knowledge and training of the Others.
Earth had previously been attacked in four waves when we first meet Cassie- an EMP strike, natural disasters, infection and the ‘invasion’ of Others hunting humans. As the novel progresses Cassie meets Evan Walker, who agrees to help rescue her little brother Sam who was kidnapped by Others preparing an army of children who are to be the 5th Wave by convincing them the humans are infected by some kind of an alien brain parasite.
Evan is revealed to be an ‘Other-Human’, though he still wants to help Cassie because he loves her and Cassie rescues her brother along with the help of her high-school-crush-previously-thought-dead Ben Parish (the novel jumps between Cassie’s perspective and later on Ben’s perspective, where it is revealed he was originally infected with the ‘Red Death’ the Others created but was then healed and trained to be part of the 5th wave). Evan sacrifices himself and blows up Camp Haven- the base where the children were being trained –and Cassie escapes with her brother, Ben and several members of Ben’s military squad.
I’m not normally one to read let alone be interested with all the ‘alien invasion’ stories, but … I. Loved. This. Book. Everything kept me captivated and wanting more- the characters, the action, the plot twists … I loved them all!
I do not normally feel for the main character(s) in any way because they are set up as the ‘bitchy’ one- where the author writes them in a way that they are too passionate about what they believe is right that they just ultimately become a hateable character. Cassie Sullivan is not a character that you’d love to hate. While I did question Cassie’s immediate trust in Evan (regardless of how hot he is portrayed) I loved how we come to understand Cassie’s intentions through her flashbacks- reminiscing everything that happened up until Yancey first introduces her to us. I found that it worked very well to Yancey’s favour to write about her killing somebody first, then write about her past- a little moment of ‘What the *bleep* is she doing?’ which is ultimately replaced by sobbing uncontrollably in a corner over the loss of her parents and former life. Unlike the portrayal of many other characters from previous books I’ve read, I felt more empathy towards Cassie because of this amount of detail that Yancey wrote about her past.
I also felt that I connected with Cassie because she still felt- even though she would sleep beside her M16 and never lose sight of it like it was her baby –like the awkward girl. Even when she first met Evan, her first thoughts were self-conscious of how she looked, showing that even when the world around her changed she still maintained those aspects of her past life- an almost yearning to want things to be normal if she continued to act like herself (cue crying in corner once more). Everything from her writing in a journal of all her memories even to the moment when she meets the Crucifix Soldier, there is a pause of thinking humanely and wondering if killing is the right thing regardless of an alien apocalypse.
Yancey writes in two different forms: highly detailed and deep in thought, or quick, fast-paced and straight into the action. And in the context of which scenes he’s writing about at the time, the pacing is absolutely brilliant. Swapping from Cassie’s contemplative thinking of existence to the fast-paced battles of Ben proved very intriguing; there was no pause for boredom, confusion or sense of disconnection between reader and book. Especially when he wrote in detail- I had to put the book down when reading about how Cassie’s mother died from the ‘Red Death’ because it was so detailed I felt really disgusted (in the good reading-a-book-gives-me-goosebumps kind of way).
And, let’s not forget, the Others. The goddamn Others. Like I said, I’m not one to be interested in alien invasion stories- but the Others were written up so damn well. Yancey spiced things up by making it that the Others invaded way back when and the second they did attack it was in the most simplest ways- a tall pole (basically) over tectonic plates, a disease, an EMP strike. Yancey made the Others cunning- they understand the way the Earth turns, what makes a human tick and use it against them.
All in all, this book was absolutely amazing and I would highly recommend reading it- even if you aren’t a sci-fi fan or a huge ‘alien-invasion enthusiast’, get reading!