The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
Published by Penguin
3.5 out of 5 Stars
Format: EGalley (Released 7th May 2013)
I’ve heard of Yancey, but have never read any of his works, but the premise behind The 5th Wave appealed, so I gave it a go!
Whats it about?
An alien invasion, but nothing like we’ve expected. The first wave was an EMP that knocked everything everywhere out. Second was a tsunami, a worldwide tsunami (so thats the UK screwed then), third was a virus spread in an ingenious way, fourth was the silencers…..fifth? Well you’ll just have to wait and see. We first meet Cassie, via a kind of diary POV, a 16 year old girl when she’s in the woods, alone, having lost her father and brother, through flash backs we find out more about her loss, and how its different to everyone else’s, and why she’s made a promise that sets her on a journey into the heart of the action. Then we have the silencer’s section. Stalker/silencer….its all a bit creepy, no diary format here, just creep-tastic first person POV. Then Ben who later becomes Zombie, one of many kids taken in by the government to train to fight back, they are all we have left. The characters stories intertwine, predictably in places, to create a web of a story that leaves you wondering just who you are sitting next to on the train/at work/at school. The ending also leaves it nicely for a sequel, but is not unsatisfactory either, it ends this chapter of the story well.
What did I think?
I enjoyed it, BUT (you knew there’d be a but!) there was too much chopping and changing and flitting from one character to another, plus I had a advance copy and the chapter separators were graphic heavy (a night sky full of stars) and crashed it every time they changed POV, which was particularly annoying towards the end where there was only a few pages between switches. Additionally, we started in diary form then changed into first person, it was a bit strange to switch, and we never went back to Cassie’s diary.
The story was chilling, a great new take on the alien encounter genre, although the twist(s) were mega obvious, the writing was such that you thought you knew (and you probably did) but then you think again. I can see why Yancey is a top name in the game, his writing did flow well and was extremely engaging (which is why the character changes were so annoying, you get into it and its stops). I think the major issue I had (and the reason for 3.5 stars) was that there was just too much going on. It took too long to really get into the crux of the story (which was Cassie’s promise), and we didn’t need all the Ben/Zombie side, personally I’d of kept that for another book, introducing him as a mystery in this one, and the second book covering his side of the story. My head hurts a little from trying to get everything sorted, knowing who to trust, when to trust them etc.
Over all a good YA read, not quite what I expecting, its neither dark nor fun, but very though-provoking, especially in terms of ‘what if?’. A good change from the paranormal stuff thats been saturating the YA market at the moment, and worth a read, but be prepared for a long slog, this is not a book to be devoured in one sitting, not because you don’t want to, but because it deserves more time than that.
ARC/Egalley kindly provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.