5th Wave (The Fifth Wave #1)
by Rick Yancey
Published May 7th 2013 by Putnam Juvenile
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.
Synopsis from Goodreads
For months, I was bombarded with review after review of this book, all of them five stars. And while I wanted to read it, desperately, I also worried that it couldn't possibly live up to the hype. No way. There was absolutely zero chance that I was going to give this book five stars. I convinced myself that it was going to be a solid four stars, successfully squashing down any expectations that I might've had.
And of course, I was wrong! SO worth five stars. Although it didn't start out that way. The book is broken down into parts, and as I started the book, my thoughts were, "Meh." The writing was good, the character was interesting enough. I was just expecting the pace to be a little faster. I wasn't drawn in like I had hoped. Then I turned a page.
Suddenly I am thrown into a second character's POV. Then a third, and a fourth. And I fell in love! With the book, with the characters, with the writing style. You name it, I loved it. Cassie is everything I look for in my female characters. I can sympathize with her internal trust issues entirely, because I feel them too! Yancey is showing us just enough that we learn to second guess absolutely everything! Every plot point loops back on itself until your head is spinning. The writing comes full circle as well, as we see certain phrases being repeated throughout the different characters. It is perfectly subtle and brilliantly done. Don't read it too quickly or you may miss the symmetry of it all.
I think what set this book apart from others in its genre (of the ones I've read anyway. I can't speak for them all) is the overall sense of unease it creates. It made me very uncomfortable, which, while being a good thing, certainly created a hurdle that I had to jump. I had to come to grip with the fact that Cassie is human and she makes horrendously human mistakes. There were scenes that made me squirm, and I applaud any author who can achieve this kind of interaction, of understanding, between reader and characters.
And so, besides recommending it highly, I will also grudgingly give it five stars. Yancey earned every one of them.