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The 5th Wave

by Rick Yancey

genre: post apocalyptic, action, adventure, aliens, young adult

Aliens, teens with guns, and a world upside down. This story touches on profound themes while also delivering an entertaining story. Find out why I gave it a 4 out of 5 stars!


the-fifth-wave(Taken from Goodreads)

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 took this audiobook with me on my 12 hour roadtrip to Melbourne. I’m glad I did! I had heard some chatter about this amongst book tubers and decided to check it out when I had the chance.

I really enjoyed Cassie, the main female protagonist. She was funny, witty, and sarcastic. Some of the things she said made me chuckle. With my partner in the car with me, he also found plenty of what she said to be humorous. Since the setting of the novel is so sinister and desolate, it was nice to have the humor spice things up.

Originally, I was so excited to read this book because it dealt with aliens. It looked like the kind of book I was waiting to be read for a long time. Even though it was classified as young adult, I think that most of the book is rather mature. Which was perfect for me! There were plenty of profound themes that were touched on and explored such as: what makes humans human? What future is there to strive for in a ‘future-less’ world? Who are watching the watchers?

Since I was listening to an audiobook with too many hours to spare, I let myself get lost in the book. Even from the get go, there was action. But I feel like if I had read this as a paperback, I may have gotten bored from time to time. There is heaps of inner monologue which is both good and bad, bad because it can stall the action/plot. I preferred Cassie’s story much more than Ben’s but they both told fascinating tales.

The writing style was great for the most part. Some beautiful metaphors were used, some were extended across the entire novel such as the cockroach symbolism. Something did irk me though, I felt like there was too much repetition of ‘strong phrases’. When I first read the line, I was inspired and wowed. The second time I read a very similar phrase, it damaged my opinion. It felt lazy and repetitive. If I heard it used again, I practically dismissed the entire paragraph.

For example this powerful statement,

[I am the one not running, not staying, but facing.
Because if I am the last one, then I am humanity.
And if this is humanity’s last war, then I am the battlefield.

Was repeated not only on Cassie’s side but also Evan’s.

[His heart, the war.
Her face, the battlefield.]

And in Ben’s.

[I will make my final stand here, Benjamin Thomas Parish. And you will be my battlefield.]

I feel like ‘battlefield’ was meant to be a symbol but it got a little tiresome to me. Some strong metaphors were just used too many times in too similar ways that they lost their strength.

The ending is what brought this book from 5 to 4 stars. The first half of the book was great. Then romance was thrown into the mix and I wasn’t convinced. Evan comes off stalker-ish more than anything to me. A lurker. Even Cassie states the obvious and yet she still seems to like him. I didn’t feel for Evan. Near the end, I began to feel something for him but his personality didn’t flourish. He felt too empty to me as a character and yet it seemed like he was meant to be important.

I liked Ben in the sense that you got to see his character development. His voice wasn’t as distinct as Cassie’s though and he didn’t make me smile quite as much. I still felt like he was a little obnoxious, even though he had hardened up significantly throughout the book. Also, I adored Sammi and Bear.

While it was a fresh change to read about aliens, the plot didn’t break any new grounds for me. I was able to predict a fair bit of it, but it was still an enjoyable ride. What I didn’t like was that the aliens were so smart and yet…so stupid with their ‘master plan’. Without spoiling anything, I was seriously disappointed with how the human vs alien situation resolved. I did love the idea of killing off humanity through a series of ‘waves’ though.

When the action was all over, the book ended on a dull tone as well. It felt too…surreal. Too weird of an ending for such a gritty book about survival. I guess it just didn’t “match up”. It felt too ‘happy’ even though they had just experienced hell. I felt robbed. A few aspects of the story also felt discarded. The ending was hurried and I’m not sure if that’s because a second book is going to be planned or what. If there is, I would definitely take a look at it!

4 out of 5 stars

amazonbutton2 copyThis book is for you if you:

  • Love post-apocalyptic books with a hint of sci-fi
  • Enjoy a strong, funny female lead and plenty of character development

This book is not for you if you:

  • Want a YA book with lots of drama and romance
  • Don’t like violence or the idea of children/teens with weapons
  • Want a quick, lighthearted read that doesn’t involve much deep or thought-provoking content

 Ermisenda Alvarez

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