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The 5th Wave: The First Book of the 5th Wave Series Paperback – February 10, 2015
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A USA Today bestseller
Winner of the 2014 Red House Children's Book Award
2014 Children’s Choice Book Awards Finalist for Teen Book of the Year
A YALSA 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults
A YALSA 2014 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Readers
A Booklist 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults
A VOYA 2013 Perfect Ten
An Amazon Best Book of the Year
“It has the dark, swoopy adrenaline of The Hunger Games, but the elegiac tone of The Road. Who cares what shelf you find it on? Just read it.”
“Makes for an exhilarating reading experience.”
“Wildly entertaining.... I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.”
—Justin Cronin, The New York Times Book Review
"A modern sci-fi masterpiece... should do for aliens what Twilight did for vampires."
"Step aside, Katniss."
—The Cleveland Plain Dealer
—Publishers Weekly, *starred review*
*"Nothing short of amazing!"
—Kirkus Reviews, *starred review*
*"Yancey's heartfelt, violent, paranoid epic, filled with big heroics and bigger surprises, is part War of the Worlds, part Starship Troopers, part Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and part The Stand . . . a sure thing for reviewers and readers alike."
—Booklist *starred review*
"This is DAMN and WOW territory. Quite simply, one of the best books I've read in years."
—Melissa Marr, New York Times bestselling author
"Breathtakingly fast-paced and original, The 5th Wave is a reading tsunami that grabs hold and won't let go. A postapocalyptic alien invasion story with a smart, vulnerable heroine."
—Melissa De La Cruz, New York Times bestselling author of the Blue Bloods series
"A fantastic read. The 5th Wave is an electrifying page-turner."
—Kathy Reichs, New York Times bestselling author
"Prepare to set everything else aside when you launch into this one. The break-neck pace and high stakes will draw you in, but it's the characters who will keep you turning pages. It's been a long time since I've read a story this compelling."
—Cinda Williams Chima, New York Times bestselling author
Other awards for Rick Yancey:
The Monstrumologist Series: Printz Honor Book, YALSA Readers’ Choice List – Best Book for Young Adults, Kirkus’ Best Teen Books, Booklist Editors’ Choice for Youth, Los Angeles Times Book Award Finalist—Best Young Adult Literature, Tayshas Reading List (Texas Library Association), NCTE’s Walden Book Award Finalist, Garden State Teen Book Award Nominee, Teen Choice Book of the Year Nominee, Pacific Northwest Library Association Young Readers Choice Award Nominee
The Alfred Kropp Series: A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year, A Book Sense Pick Best Books of the Year, A BookBrowse Recommendation, A Texas Lone Star Reading List Selection, A Sunshine State Readers List Selection, Featured Author/Book - Scholastic Book Fairs , Nominated for the Carnegie Medal (U.K.), Nominee for the Grand Canyon Reader Award
About the Author
- Publisher : Penguin Books; Reissue edition (February 10, 2015)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 512 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0142425834
- ISBN-13 : 978-0142425831
- Reading age : 14 years and up
- Lexile measure : HL690L
- Grade level : 9 and up
- Item Weight : 1.1 pounds
- Dimensions : 8.2 x 5.6 x 1.3 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #33,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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The story unfolds nicely. It is a YA novel, but I thought it was pretty good. We don't find out what the 5th Wave is going to be until near the end of the book (because, folks, this is a trilogy series), but things unfold during he book that helps you guess where it is going. Cassie, the main character, is a strong female lead (and a 16 year old) whose love for her little brother keeps her from giving up.
Yes, there are mushy teenage moments, but what YA novel doesn't have that? I don't think it took away from the story at all. I am anxious to see where this series is going. I think I am going to have to sneak in reading the second book even though it isn't on my challenge list.
While the set up in this first installment was really quite articulate and left a great deal of promise, I must rate it as part of a whole and so doing must rate it to reflect the wandering ineffectual second installment which had no real beginning or end but just simply was as well as the third installment which seemed to accept the eventual destruction of man but ended with sacrificing the character I probably most liked in the entire series. At times the motives of the characters was nearly indecipherable. And the author was so willing to kill characters that in the end I felt like I was Quentin Tarantino film - there were so many deaths, they stopped feeling like tragedies and became merely plot devices to move forward a story that didn't seem to know where it was going until it got there.
WHAT I LIKED
+ I marveled at Rick Yancey’s exceptional ability to effortlessly paint a perfectly terrible doomed world. This is seriously one of the most dreadful world’s I’ve visited in the dystopian realm, and it wasn’t so much the imagery that left me agape and with a paralyzed immobility, but the choice of words Yancey used that set the tone and triggered an inevitable appreciation for things we often take for granted ― family and companionship for starters, home cooked meals, nicknames that grate on the nerves, the sound of music, laughter, trust, time to name a few.
"Even when there were people around to call me anything, no one ever called me Cassiopeia. Just my father, and only when he was teasing me, and always in a very bad Italian accent: Cass-ee-oh-PEE-a. It drove me crazy. I didn’t think he was funny or cute, and it made me hate my own name. “I’m Cassie!” I’d holler at him. “Just Cassie!” Now I’d give anything to hear him say it just one more time."
+ Most, if not all the characters started out as fragmented dystopian archetypes which is an element I appreciate in dystopian books. We have the lonesome and extremely cynical Cassie Sullivan who’s determined to find and rescue her little brother Sam from the Others. The high school football star Ben Parish who is found wrestling with an inner demon that peppers a dark overtone onto the story line. And lastly, the complex and altogether mystifying Evan Walker who truly got the story moving. Strictly speaking, I loved seeing how each one fought to hold on to their existence and the endless terror that ushered in new moments of painful regret.
+ I have to admit that while I did see Evan Walker’s unexpected twist early in the story, I was really surprised with the way his character arc unfolded. Truth be told, Evan Walker is by far my favorite character in this book. Most interesting to me was how he changed over time, and how his internal conflict manifested throughout the plot line. Seriously, author Rick Yancey could write an entire book on his character arc alone, it’s well-executed and genius!
“I’m a shark, Cassie,” he says slowly, drawing the words out, as if he might be speaking to me for the last time. Looking into my eyes with tears in his, as if he’s seeing me for the last time. “A shark who dreamed he was a man.”
+ It’s rare to find a distinctive voice that can say so much with so very little words in the dystopian genre. One of my all-time favorites being Katniss Everdeen. That being said, Cassie’s storytelling was utterly enthralling and simply brilliant! The dialogue, the banter, the altercations, all of it was written in such a realistic dialogue.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE
- My most prominent complaint with The 5th Wave was with the alternate point of views. Firstly, I should confess that I’m not typically a fan of multiple POV’s―albeit, The Lunar Chronicles making the exception. That said, I understand the author’s choice in giving the reader a glimpse into Zombie’s and Evan’s mind and thought process, the story and conflicts wouldn’t have developed otherwise. On the other hand, however, with Cassie’s spellbinding narration, it became irritating having to take in the abrupt switches. To boot, with the consistent distance between each character, I felt there was a lack of attachment, which in turn made me less empathic towards their plights.
- The plot was gripping and full of tension, but after a good quarter into the book, I seemingly lost interest; the plot didn’t reach any great heights and I expected more. To begin with, I had hoped to see Cassie fighting her way into a battle of wits against the Others on a more grandiose scale. **SPOILER** It stands to reason that the way she managed to find her brother was too convenient and clunky. I don’t know. I think it would have been amazing to see her recruited along with the child soldiers. I’m almost convinced there would have been a lot more action and plot development than what we received.**END SPOILER**. All that to say, I didn’t like the way the story drifted into a cringe-worthy romantic subplot that released a whiff of insta-love to say the least.
- Personally, I would have enjoyed the story on a greater scale had I actually seen each Wave actually unfold rather than have the author Cassie show them to me. Other than the 3rd Wave, and everything it entailed, I never really felt any suspense or desperation for the other Waves. What I mean to say is, the emotional impact was vague and missed the mark.
- I’m not sure how I feel about Cassie at this point, she’s definitely in a mixed bag for me. While I love her dry humor and reckless infatuation with Evan, I found her to be way two-dimensional. In truth, we are only shown one part of her persona and that’s her snippy attitude and response through reactions and emotions. Everything else, however, was undeveloped and lacked a great deal of depth. It goes without saying, her snarky approach became tedious and bogged down my interest in her character towards the end. I’m hoping to see more depth and complexity to her character arc in book two.
In the end, I enjoyed The 5th Wave. I found the world-building and tone to be most incredible, there were certainly some thought-provoking moments to boot, and the story telling was (as aforementioned) spellbinding, but overall, the story wasn’t as spectacular as I anticipated it to be. In any case, I'll still be reading book two ― which I've already purchased
Top reviews from other countries
That having been said, at first I loved it. Starts with Cassie, who is 16, in the later stages (the 4th wave) of the takeover of Earth by aliens. Back to when they first appear - a ship, hovering near us in space for 10 days, while the entire country is in uproar about what it might mean.
The 1st wave is an EMP blackout that wipes out the electrical grid. The 2nd is a spate of tsunamis around all coastal areas, forcing survivors into the centre of all countries. 3rd, a plague that wipes out 97% of humanity. The 4th is discovered only gradually - apparent humans who are 'infested' with something that alters their brains to make them think like the aliens.
First we see what happens to Cassie, from the 1st-4th waves. Next, a chapter from the POV of a teenage boy, who actually survives the plague. Thirdly, one from the POV of one of the soldiers whose was impregnanted with whatever it is that the aliens put there - this happened 4 years before. This part, in particular, I found most absorbing.
Then we go forward a little and find Cassie trapped in the snow, almost dead. This is where the book fell down for me. Her saviour just happens to be an amazingly hot-looking guy of around 18, who is living in a cabin alone. Somehow, he has all the equipment and know-how to save her from certain death. Despite them having lost everything, being in horrendous danger and, no doubt, deep shock, the two engage in flirtatious teen banter, and it becomes more like the sort of romance I would have abandoned even when I was at the younger end of the book's target market. So I stopped reading it, which was shame, because the rest of it was SO good. I might go back to it, and just skip-read the romance bits. I'm not sure.
"They are coming for us.
All of us..."
Whoa, what a journey! Like, seriously, I'm not sure my world has stopped spinning yet it's so bloody fantastic.
I'm a little late to the party, especially considering that the last book in this trilogy has been released, and not too long ago (don't worry, I picked it up, which was brave considering I hadn't read the first entry yet). I've seen the film, which I think is fine, and, accidentally (curse you Google!), while perusing online for some info I spoiled the end of the series for myself (what was I thinking?).
But, neither do anything to rob me of my enjoyment. The 5th Wave is a tremendous story of survival, loneliness and trust; three themes that author Rick Yancey perfectly portrays in a plot rife with action and emotion. The apocalyptic landscape is a wonder to behold and the characters that populate it are all diverse and layered.
A smashing foundation for a trilogy.
Synopsis (This time round, I'll be using the blurb that comes with my edition of the book.)
THE 1ST WAVE
TOOK OUT HALF A MILLION PEOPLE.
THE 2ND WAVE
PUT THAT NUMBER TO SHAME.
THE 3RD WAVE
LASTED A LITTLE LONGER, TWELVE WEEKS...FOUR BILLION DEAD.
IN THE 4TH WAVE,
YOU CAN'T TRUST THAT PEOPLE ARE STILL PEOPLE.
AND THE 5TH WAVE?
NO ONE KNOWS.
BUT IT'S COMING.
On a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs.
Runs from beings that only look human,
who have scattered Earth's last survivors.
To stay alone is to stay alive,
until she meets Evan Walker.
Beguiling and mysterious, Evan may be her only hope.
Now Cassie must choose: between trust and despair,
between defiance and surrender, between life and death.
Plot - 4.5/5 Stars
The 5th Wave is one of those novels that has you right from the start. Yancey mixes the present with the past, showing us where characters are and the trials that they went through to get there. It's not seamless, but it's pretty darn close. It's not an easy balance to achieve, especially when tenses are switching so often. The stage is set with emotional scenes that depict an Earth ravaged by alien invaders, and the quality is on point.
Action offsets the exposition, and once we're past the past, the present is a hooking ride. The way the author imbues his novel with so many dark themes but still manages to keep a sliver of light is remarkable.
There is a lull in the middle, I will admit, but, for me personally, with such an interesting story of survival championed with such an exceptional cast, I can't muster any annoyance.
There are a few things that I'm not entirely sure of or understand, but they're small things that border on being completely inconsequential. And when we reach the explosive ending, Yancey answers enough to satisfyingly close the novel while keeping a few cliffhangers to make sure we're salivating for more.
Pace - 4.5/5 Stars
While The 5th Wave has its fast-paced moments, I wouldn't necessarily call it a fast-paced novel, and that's not a negative. The delicious themes demand time and effort, and both are apparent. The depth of the cast eclipses the overall plot, but that plot is still a wicked ride. The beginning might prove difficult for some considering the rapidly switching tenses, but a little focus during that part should prove invaluable.
As a whole, it's consistent. Aside from that lull in the middle, it's riveting.
Characters - 5/5 Stars
The 5th Wave's cast is my favourite aspect of the novel. It's phenomenal. The chemistry and development are intricately woven throughout this alien-infested landscape. With trust out the window and isolation most people's only friend, the unpredictability of scenes is a definite highlight.
I adore Cassie, our marginally predominant protagonist (we do get other viewpoints). She's a screwed up human being whose morality has been completely splintered. Her compassion wars with her fear, and that palpable inability to trust makes the romantic relationship with mysterious Evan all the more sweeter. Her progression from scattered victim to capable survivor is wonderful, and is only bolstered by how much fun her sarcastic voice is.
Zombie, or Ben, is likely second when it comes to the time given to the various viewpoints. And the fascination doesn't dim. Where Cassie is driven more by the sheer determination to understand and fit in a new world, Zombie works more from undiluted guilt. He has a heart of gold, but that hasn't stopped him from making choices that haunt his every second. His beginnings are a realistic look at someone in such a contentious environment; a merciless gut-punch that asks the reader to be honest about what they'd do in a life-or-death situation.
Now, Cassie and Ben know one another, with both having attended the same high school (plus Cassie had a major crush on Ben, while he largely only knew her in passing). But in this new world you just don't trust anyone, and while most have adopted the mindset of never hoping again, little Sam, Cassie's young brother, becomes the novel's link between worlds, and I love that. Sam's development follows him toughening up in a world gone deadly, but he also keeps the ideal of hope alive when it's missing from most.
Our last main, main character (in my opinion, there are more people) is Evan, the stranger steeped in the unknown that saves Cassie from certain death. I won't go too much into it, because I don't want this review having any spoilers, but his identity crisis and personality are two fantastic elements to the story.
The way the characters are placed and moved and worked around one another is a thrilling experience.
Writing - 4/5 Stars
There's a certain philosophical aspect to Yancey's writing in this novel that really has you contemplating everything. While the world is in the middle of an alien invasion, the parallels between the fictional and the real really have the reader absorbed.
Scenes, for the most part, are clear and built well; the switching tenses at the beginning can jar a little, but keep with it, it evens out; and be wary for swapping viewpoints, because I know some folks absolutely hate that (I don't, especially when each character rocks, like here).
Overall - 4.5/5 Stars
Better late than never. I am so glad to have finally started this trilogy.
Keep up the great work, Mr Yancey, I shall see you all in the next entry!
I understand this has been made into a movie. I can totally see why Hollywood choose to do so. I, myself, will NOT be seeing the film. Books turned movies are always such a disappointment, and Hollywood always change to much. Mr Yancey has written a beautifully 'illustrated' book, you can see the pictures in your mind. I don't want a movie to ruin that for me.
The last book of this genre I read was The Hunger Games trilogy. I didn't think anything could beat it. The 5th Wave has knocked it right off my top spot!!
Congratulations Mr Yancey.
Bring on book 2!!!
The aliens have come. You’ll find this fact out very quickly so technically this isn’t a spoiler. This is an alien book. There have been 4 Waves of disastrous events during which majority of the human population dies. I won’t go into details about what happens during each Wave because that would be spoiling the book.
What you do know from the blurb is that Cassie’s brother is taken away and Cassie made a promise to always go back to him. Slowly but surely, by remembering her father’s theories about the Others and through all the obvious that has been happening, Cassie is piecing together what the agenda of the Others is. She is alone, she is surviving. And then she meets Evan Walker.
The introduction of Evan to the story of course adds the possibility of a love interest element. Evan is a… how shall I put it… a guy’s guy. You get the whole ‘broad shoulders, fine bum’ yada-yada. …He grew up on the farm as part of an 8 member family so this fact tells the reader (well, it did to me) that his traits include consideration, dedication and the ability to love.
Cassie is strong-willed, snarky and a bit of a firecracker. All the traits you want to see in someone who survives and does it well. Her inner monologue was youthful but intelligent and I felt like I was in her head, surviving with her. I think Chloë Grace Moretz as Cassie in the movie was a really good choice. Chloë played Hit-Girl in Kick-Ass and she seems to fit into the cool, sassy roles really well with her innocent looks only to surprise you with a potty-mouth and a kick-ass personality. The only thing that drives Cassie- even when she feels like she’s the last human left on earth, even when she’s fighting with the madness of being in solitude, even when she’s on the brink of death– is her promise to her brother. The promise of ‘I will come back to you’. One goal is all it takes to push that girl to keep fighting, to keep going, to never trust anyone and knowing that to be alone, means the guarantee of survival.
Writing: I enjoyed the writing in this book so much. There are 4 POVs (Cassie, Evan, Sammy and Ben aka Zombie). The first switch in POVs (from Cassie to Ben, I think it was) threw me a bit, because I was like- ‘Why is Cassie saying those things?” but then it all made sense, so naturally I thought why isn’t there a clear disclaimer who’s POV we’re reading? But… but-but-but… The POVs don’t switch paragraph to paragraph, they switch as and when it makes sense to do so within the story progression and by way of dividing the book into parts. Plus, eventually, it’s impossible to not understand whose thoughts you’re reading.
The tone of the writing was with a youthful tone, as we are dealing with teenagers and I was pulled in completely by each POV. Completely. And even though I had seen the movie- and spoilered myself- I still came across some unknown elements in the book which were not in the movie. Naturally, there are some changes made in the book-to-movie adaptations but the book had way more grim scenes in it. The book delivered the feeling of doom by added grim details.
Overall: I enjoyed this 458 page book a lot. I was totally engrossed, and even though I didn’t much appreciate the occasional teenage love interest element, I can see why it needs to be in the story. The characters are young- their priorities are what they are. And there’s no dystopian story where love doesn’t play a big role because in times of hardship love takes the front seat.