So, on the spur of a moment buying trip to the bookstore, I decided that I would finally buy the book that had been on my To-Read-List for so long...and here it is :)
Here's the blurbie blurb!
"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."
I'm so very torn on this book, so I think the best way to counter these torn feels is to rant about it!
*Reminder - There will be spoilers. Things that are to be spoiled. Spoiled are things that are spoilers...spoilers* There are big spoilers in this review. And I mean big ones, so don't be shocked if you come across it and yet you chose to not read the book first.
The 5th Wave caught my attention a couple of months back when I was prowling The Book Depository online for new releases, and what was popular (And also somewhat cheap). That made me go and check it out on Goodreads, and just by the blurb I was already really excited to get it. I put it on my Goodreads to-read list, I placed it in my wish list on the Book Depository...and about a month or so later, here we are...book in hand and $15 broker. But alas, this adventure of self-discovery, guilty shame of spending money, and rationalising has come to a close as I finished the book recently. It was a reward in itself to finish it, put it on my bookshelf with a marked note of "GIVE THIS TO MARA AT NEXT BORROW/RETURN BOOK DATE", and to now get to review it...even though my mum has continuously looked at me like...
But in the same respect, covers that are like...tear worthy beautiful but end up being a really sad and pitiful plot with no likeable characters is a real tragedy..and it keeps me up at night.
The only thing that I don't like about The 5th Wave cover is, what I presume to be Cassie, standing there. I say it so frequently that I feel like a broken record just glitching on the same spot over and over and over, but I can't reiterate it enough. I despise how many covers of books there are now where there is just a random guy standing with his triangular back all up in my face, looking slightly over his shoulder and with a gun in his hand...or a female protagonist looking overtly over dramatic, in a long gown, normally with long wind-blown hair...I can't stand it, and it's pretty much got its own aisle in the bookshop, under the name of 'Paranormal Romance'. Ick.
With The 5th Wave, there is nothing symbolic on the cover or has a deeper message once reading the book. It's kind of plain, but interesting enough to draw the eye.
This book starts off with Cassie Sullivan, a 16 year old who is surviving in a world that has been ravished by waves of an alien invasion that has already decimated human kind to its last few survivors, and pretty much taken out all forms of technological advancements that we had. Yikes.
I don't honestly even know where to begin with this book. It's just so....aaaAAAAGGGGHHH!!
To hate...to like...to love...to despise. I feel only my grunting and smashing of things barbarically will constitute as being understood, but it doesn't feel any better.
The Waves, as they are called in the book, are the time lines by which Cassie Sullivan and every other character you get introduced to follows by. Slowly, but over time, these were the battle tactics that the Aliens used in hopes of wiping out civilisation. Personally, I thought each Wave was absolutely brilliant and that the Aliens were quite strategic...that is until the last wave, which just made me just stare madly at the page with a frown that was verging on a unibrow of disappointment.
- The First Wave was an electromagnetic pulse that wiped out every piece of electronics, form of communication, and basically every other way that humans exist now-a-days. Can you imagine literally everything that runs from electricity just shutting off all at the same time? Flying back into the Stone Age is not something that I can honestly see myself doing without turning a little crazy, or turning into a savage while trying to open a can with a butter knife and probably killing myself in the attempt, all the while not realising that the can actually has one of those little 'pull tap' thingies...Yeah...let's just say that I'd be one of the first to die off.
- The Second Wave was natural disasters. What better way to kill large cities of people who are dazed, confused, and now coming outside to inspect why everything has shut off and why I can't check facebook and OH GOODNESS GRIEF WHAT IS HAPPENING ON YOUTUBE? THOSE POOR KITTIES WITH NO ONE WATCHING THEM...then to drop a huge thing, let gravity do the work, and cause mass tsunamis that wipe out a large quantity of humans with very little effort?
- The Third Wave was sickness. Now humans are starting to retreat together...the whole sheep pack sort of ideal. The plague comes in the form of bleeding from every orifice, and killing you within a few hours...unless you're immune of course. (We couldn't have this book if Cassie was not immune and died...the end. Too bad so sad.)
- The Fourth Wave was Silencers. Aliens that laid dormant in human subjects, growing in the background as their human counter-part lived their life...until they were called on and the Fourth Wave began. These Silencers are essentially snipers who are taking off the last of the human survivors.
- And The Fifth Wave...was kidnapping. Kidnap all remaining children who (SOMEHOW) managed to stay alive long enough, nurse them back to health, feed them, then if they are not 'clean' then they are trained military style, then sent out to kill any adult survivors left. Like honestly? Why waste the resources, what's the point if you're going to kill them later? I don't understand!
Silencers? I bet I know what they do...
Ben Parish? I knew it.
Love story/triangle/square/octagon? Called it.
That person who just died? I knew who it was pretty much before I even began reading the book.
When you tell a reader not to trust anything, that's EXACTLY what we are going to do. We're not going to see things like Cassie, who is alone and surviving day-by-day and just seeking for one glimpse of humanity, the chance of warmth...we're going to become like the author. Questioning everything, rationalising why that's not what it is, and playing a guessing game of what is real and what isn't. Cassie does that to a point...but then her whole character arc goes to crap fairly quickly. BUT I'LL DO CHARACTER POINTS IN A MOMENT!
I know why Trust in the recurring theme in the book, and that's pretty obvious. Without trust, are we capable of humanity anymore? And if not, isn't that what the Aliens wanted in the first place? For us to mistrust each other and pretty much do all the killing ourselves and let the Aliens lay back? But when the point has been driven into the ground, smacked repeatedly, and pulverised into your brain throughout the entire book, it gets old VERY quickly. I get it. Trust no one. I'll start with you then, Author.
*SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER*
(This is the spoiler line, there are MAJOR spoilers under it, so be warned)
The plot twists as well did not grab me by the shoulders, shake me back and forth while I stood there like this
I am nearly not trusting myself for having read this book now...
One of the most annoying things for me, and it wasn't something I thought about until much later in the book, when you find out that Ben Parish is actually one of the protagonists, is that the chances of Cassie having her dad, her little brother, AND HER HIGH SCHOOL CRUSH, all survive until the 4th wave was surely slim...but sure enough, to make sure the plot moves forward at a shaky rate, they all did. Granted, her Dad was silenced by the silencers *Snickers under breath at my joke* when the fourth wave hit, but THINK OF IT. Somehow, all 4 of them were immune to the disease, somehow managed to avoid the natural disasters, learned survival skills when the electromagnetic pulse wiped out all electronics, AND managed to dodge the Silencers...like are you for real? That does not happen in real life. IT DON'T.
But in that same vein, the plot was good! It was a original idea which had the potential to be the next great Young Adult novel like The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, and Percy Jackson...and it would have been one of the first about aliens and an apocalyptic world, instead of a dystopian rebellion with a female protagonist who has a love triangle.
She had the great markings of a strong-willed, brave, but vulnerable and flawed female protagonist. I swear she did. At the start, I really liked her. I even commented to myself, "Wow..she is actually pretty cool!" at one stage....then the love interest came along.
Why, oh why, do authors feel the need to destroy female characters when a male interest is introduced? WHY!?!?!? Why can't a woman be an independent fighting machine with compassion in her bones AND have a love interest who respects her abilities and prowess in snapping a man's neck, and doesn't feel the need to coddle her or push her aside to protect her? WHY!?!?! Why does all her hopes, dreams, and fears instantly turn into nothing and all about the guy she loves?
That is an ACTUAL quote from the book. I almost ripped the page off with my teeth from pure anger when reading this. Sure, I am known to acknowledge the pristine beauty of a male specimen once in a while, but NEVER HAVE I EVER done it in the middle of an apocalyptic/emergency situation. Nothing screams 'ROMAAAAANCE' like wondering whether if you are or not in danger. This is where I personally feel that, Rick Yancey being a male, does not understand the female perspective of finding someone attractive. It's the most cliche, stereotypical type of swooning I have ever seen...and it actually hurt my face from cringing so hard. She clearly does not have a *Creeper Alert* in her brain that most women have, which lets you have this sixth sense if you're in danger of a Creeper. You get the vibes, and it's universally acknowledged. But clearly Cassie's must have been bashed in when the Aliens hit because, goodness grief girl, you are just making it too easy to be kidnapped.
What can I say? Evan Walker is a *SPPOOIIIOOOIIIOOOIILLEEERRSSS* is a Silencer who had been implanted in a human subject until it was time for the 4th wave. He grew up with Human-Evan's memories, and soon enough *cough cliche cough #noteventryingtobesubtle* began to feel like a Human himself. He was one of the few where when the Aliens, who held a council about if they should or shouldn't completely decimate a species, he said no alongside a minority of other Aliens. Too bad. Evan gets thrown into a human specimen, and it's done.
But Evan Walker struggles with his humanity as he is a Silencer, pretty much an Alien Sniper whose mission is to kill all remaining adults by gunning them down.
That is...until he comes across Cassie and *gasps all around* falls in love with the kind that he is meant to kill off. HOW ROMANTICALLY CREEPY. As he continues to stalk her, not being able to bring himself to kill her himself by a shot to the head, he proceeds to read her diary when she is off hunting, and stare at her through the barrel of his sniper rifle.
Wow, catch me...I'm swooning.
I could not even believe or fathom how stupid and unromantic this relationship was meant to be. There were times where I kept re-reading a passage and thinking..."Somehow...somewhere...some teenage girl will read this and wish with all her might that some guy will do this to her...I cry for humanity"
Initially, like Cassie, I liked Evan's character. A battle-torn alien but human bodied, and jUST SO HAPPENS TO BE AN ATTRACTIVE ONE WITH A TRIANGULAR BACK AND RIPPED EVERYTHING, who was flawed emotionally and is basically a kicked puppy who you wanted to tend to...but that was until he and Cassie met. Which, to me, the way they met is BEYOND creepy and has gone into Predator territory. If I woke up from being passed out because some loser shot me in the leg, in an attempt to bleed me out, and found some hot bashful guy tending to my wounds...I'd be instantaneously suspicious. Sure...I'd find him attractive...but WHY THE HECK IS THERE AN ATTRACTIVE GUY OUT HERE TOUCHING ME AND MY WOUNDS WHEN I'M UNCONSCIOUS? #Suspicionisstrongwiththisone
And for some reason, Cassie does not seem to question that Evan knows her name without her telling him and the fact that he knows a heck lot about her when she was unconscious. And has a oddly strong adoration for her when they 'seemingly' just met. Does that not raise questions?
And within a few chapters...they've already started macking out and he is pretty much telling her he'd die for her, and I'm just rolling my eyes and sitting here like...
Sweetie. It ain't working for you, so just stop it.
Okay...so...I knew for some reason (Let's just call it my intuition, or my capability of reading how many times Cassie mentions Ben Parish and her love for Ben Parish and how hot Ben Parish was/is and how she wanted to marry him) I knew that he'd pop up. I just knew that somehow he'd survive, and he'd be the 3rd point in the triangle of stupid. I didn't care for his character as much, and I can't actually pin point why. Perhaps it's his, 'Woooah maaaan' type of attitude that kills it for me, or the fact that I knew it was Ben Parish before Ben Parish knew he was Ben Parish. I'll admit though, when he was first introduced, and let's be honest here...the way the character's perspective were introduced with nothing else, was confusing as heck. There were times where I flicked back in the book and thought, 'HOW MANY DARN POVS ARE THERE?!?!?'
But all of Ben Parish's parts in the book just made me yawn...as he was simply Ben Parish, and nothing more than that.
He is cute! I have a soft spot for all the little kids in novels. Tomasz for instance in More Than This by Patrick Ness...or literally any kid ever. Perhaps it's because I work with kids, so imagining them in stories is very real to me and i'm like 'NOOO DON'T KILL THEM OFF, ANYONE BUT THE CHILDREN! THINK OOOFF THEEE CHIIIIIILDDREEEEN!"
Sam was a cutie pie, and I absolutely adore him.
He can do no wrong! :)
Every other Character:
Stuff you...you all made dumb choices that led to your utter betrayal and inevitable death. Deal with it.
While you may think that I'm just grumpy, and that I'm making this book out to be the next worst thing ever in the history of life...I will grant it some positives!
The plot was very original, and that's what drew me to the book. It was something different to all the YA novels I've been reading of late, and it was a nice change up.
It's pacing was fantastic. A blurry of what and huh and hey! It made me rip through the pages to find out everything there is...like it was holding a tantalising pizza in front of my face that was close enough for me to reach out but not close enough to grab it.
SOME romance scenes were cute, I'll admit...but there was always a hovering and stalking factor of creepiness behind them. But romance is romance and I'm a sucker for it, regardless. Just a little squeal here or there for cuteness, that's all.
So yes, I am torn. While it was a good read, it was also one of the most frustrating and irritating and just AAAUGGH worthy books I've read to date.
So for that, I give it a 4 out of 10.
I'd still recommend to others, only to see if they liked it or completely despise it..or are like me and on the fence.
(PS. Favourite Quotes will be tagged at the bottom and linked to the Goodreads page of it :) )
“We’re here, and then we’re gone, and it’s not about the time we’re here, but what we do with the time.”
― Rick Yancey, The 5th Wave