Review: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

May 8, 2013 aliens, Apocalyptic, ARC, ARC Tour, Book Review, Post-Apocalyptic, Putnam Juvenile, Rick Yancey, Sci-fi, Science Fiction, The 5th Wave, YA, Young Adult 43

From Goodreads:

The Passage meets Ender’s Game in an epic new series from award-winning author Rick Yancey.

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.

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You know those books you hear amazing things about from seemingly everyone in the blogosphere, and they haven’t even been released yet? The ones where not a bad review is in sight? So you get all excited, eagerly anticipating it, just waiting for the book to arrive on your doorstep one day. Then a copy finally arrives and oh my god, YAY! Utter happiness! You open the package and then… you just sit there and stare at it because you are terrified the hype will have ruined the whole experience because it can’t possibly be that good, right? But the most magical thing happens… it not only lives up to that hype but grows wings and soars right past those expectations. Yep, that’s The 5th Wave.

In this world, aliens have descended upon us, wiping out the human race through a series of waves. Destruction and illness has wiped away most of the world’s population, leaving the survivors unsure of who to trust. Anyone can be an alien in disguise. Shoot first and ask questions later is the only way to survive. These aliens aren’t your late night sci-fi movie variety either. They are sneaky and cunning and oh so different. I’m a little terrified of how plausible they felt.

So we meet Cassie, our main character who is on her own after the separation from her little brother Sammy and witnessing her father’s murder. She is just trying to survive and somehow wants to save her brother. Things are looking bleak for our Cassie after she is shot, but she is rescued by our mysterious Evan.

I’m going to stop right there on the plot details and not delve much further because well, you need to just read it for yourself. But I cannot say enough good things about this book! I was a little worried at the beginning because there was a teeny bit of jumping around to get some background on the events that preceded the current dangers for Cassie and I also found myself confused when the point of view changed. I didn’t expect it when it first happened and ended up having to reread a few pages once I realized it switched. The point of view fluctuates mostly between Cassie and her old high school crush, Ben. We do, however, also see a bit from of Evan and little Sammy as well. I get why it wasn’t announced up front each time and I was able to figure it out with no problem as I kept reading so it was just the initial change that threw me off. Those are seriously the only little hiccups I can find because the rest of the book blew my mind!

Cassie is like the dream female protagonist. The girl is wicked smart. And highly observant. She’s fierce, yet vulnerable. She is the ultimate survivor because she has had no choice but survive. And she will risk anything and everything to not break her promise and be reunited with her brother once more. Ben is another main character who survives the illness and is nursed back to health and trained to be a soldier, along with a group of other children. Trained to detect those humans who have been infected by the aliens, we see Ben grow in confidence and strength, becoming a man who is also vulnerable in his own right, but not to be messed with. These two are far apart and really only acquaintances from before the invasion, but I can’t deny that I was longing for their reunion in the hopes of a romance. But then Evan comes out of left field! I didn’t expect to grow so attached to him for so many reasons but I totally fell in love with him too. So protective, Cassie is his heart and he’ll do anything to keep her safe. The romance factor was definitely there and integral to the plot I would say, but never felt like it was taking away from the main focus of the story, or as an afterthought. It was the perfect amount of sweetness and offered a bit of light-heartedness to all the turmoil surrounding these characters.

   I want him to touch me again. I want to feel his hands, as soft as clouds. But I’m afraid if he touches me, all seven billion billion billion atoms that make up my body will blow apart and scatter across the universe.

About halfway through, I decided that this novel was the real deal. The writing was brilliant. It had loads of action coming from all directions. The characters were extremely well fleshed out. I found myself glued to the pages in a world that felt real and horrifying. I cringed, I laughed and I just basically had an all around great time reading this. I could not recommend this novel enough and it will definitely go down as one of my favorites for the year. All that hype? It’s deserving. Rick Yancey is a genius and I’m anxious for the sequel! I’ll be walking on eggshells for the next year until I can get my hands on it. Now, go pick up a copy!

(The quote was taken from an ARC and may differ from the final copy.)

Sara @ Forever 17 Books

43 Responses to “Review: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey”

  1. starryeyedjen

    Lawd, I can’t wait to finish Feed so I can start the audio for this! I skimmed your review, same as I’ve done all the others, but even so, I could tell how much you loved this book. And I want to feel that love!!! 😀

  2. Natalie Aguirre

    So very excited as to how much you loved this. I have an ARC and am planning to read it and give it away on my blog this summer. You’ve got me so excited! Thanks.

  3. Aman

    Really! I bought it yesterday and am still to nervous to start it. I stop reading your review after the first para (I want to be surprised!), that was all I needed to know from you. Definitely, 100% going to read The 5th wave this week. Thanks for the review 🙂

  4. Beth Kait

    I’ve seen the cover of this book multiple times, but I’ve never read the blurb for it until now.

    Confession: I am absolutely terrified of aliens. I still have nightmares about them[I know, I know…]. But, you totally made me want to get this book. I love when there’s a great main story and the love story blends into it, instead of one overwhelming the other.

    I definitely need to get this on my TBR list.

    Great review!

    -Kait @ The Reading Vixens.

  5. Kat C @ Books and Sensibility

    I have heard so much good about this novel and I can’t wait to read it. Your review makes me want to read it even more ! Yancey is coming about an hour from me, so I may have to hop over there.

  6. Lauren Elizabeth

    Yay! I’m so glad you loved this too!! I know it’s crazy when there’s so much hype about a book and it almost ruins the experience, but you’re right, it just shoots past whatever expectations you have going into it. I loved how I was confused by the POVs and not sure who was who because it took awhile before I realized what was going on and where everyone was. It was just so brilliantly written! Beautiful review! Haha, you’re totally making me want to re-read it 🙂

  7. Leigh @ Little Book Star

    I’m kind of scared to read this, but hopefully I love it like you did. I’m not really a big fan of dystopian books; I only have 2 favorites which are Catching Fire and Legend. Will pick up The 5th Wave though. 🙂

    Little Book Star

  8. Genevieve Hayes

    Sometimes it’s easier to read books that you have no expectations about or expect to be kinda crappy. That way, either your suspicions will be confirmed or you’ll be pleasantly surprised. With books that you have high expectations about, the only way is down. Glad “The 5th Wave” worked out for you. I’ll have to check it out.

  9. Jasprit

    I love love love this review Sara. I was exactly in the same boat as you, worried that I would fall in the minority and not enjoy this book, but it simply blew me away! I was confused too with the changes in pov, but eventually I got used to them. I think you will have a fight on your hands with Evan though as he was my absolute favourite character, his continual lurking had me in hysterics and his scenes just broke my heart. So glad that you loved this Sara! Wonderful review! 🙂

  10. Born Bookish

    For some reason in my mind I thought this book was about zombies, so glad it’s aliens instead! Looking forward to reading it and hoping I love it as much as you!!

  11. Hannah


    <333 Inky

  12. Tanja - Tanychy

    Oh what an awesome review! I mean I wanted to read this one before but I want even more right now! 🙂 Sounds really amazing. Great review Sarah 🙂

  13. Wendy Darling

    Saaaaaarrraaaa! I’m so glad you loved this! And I’m glad the hype didn’t ruin the book for you, I’ve started seeing some “meh” reviews and it’s made me sad. It’s so hard not to gush about this book though, because I’m with you–I think it’s awesome! Yay. But now we have to wait for book two. *cries*

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  14. Lindy Gomez

    Great review Sara! I’ve heard so many great things about this book that I too, am a little worried about my expectations being so high. I love a strong and intelligent female character lead, and I can tell how much you enjoyed this book! I enjoy a book that has world building that is believable! I need to read this book! Thanks for sharing Sara 🙂

    Lindy@ A Bookish Escape

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