Monday, January 26, 2015

The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave #1) by 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.

My Thoughts:
I finished this a few days ago and have been letting it marinate. There's a lot I could say.

For one, this was about an alien apocalypse. Nothing new. Honestly, I kept comparing these aliens to The Host, mixed in with some good ol' War of the Worlds. Throw in some lonely survival plotlines and major army training and we've got ourselves a book with no originality at all. But Yancey made it good. Here's what worked:

Conflict. Yes, the aliens killing everyone was a major problem, but the really interesting conflict was the <i>inner</i> conflict. The book was divided into sections and each section was from the POV of a different character. We got inside a few different characters' heads and in each brain there was major conflict. It was fascinating. There would be whole paragraphs of contrasts: "I can't trust him. I have to trust him. I shouldn't stay with him. I need his help." Stuff like that, it was all over the place. So simple, yet so profound! When you have conflict like that (and everyone has something like this) it's exactly this easy and exactly this difficult. Two completely contrasting thoughts that will drive a person crazy thinking about them.

Twists. Throughout the book you get major hints about what's going down, who's on what side and how things are going to play out... but all the hints contrast. It's really hard to tell which hint will end up being the right one, which plot the book will follow. I mean, near the end it gets easier to figure out but while you're in it it's confusing. Well done. There were a couple things I didn't see coming. Love that.

Desperation. There's a lot of emotion in this book. And with all the crazy stuff going on people do a lot of things out of desperation. Seen from that perspective things like, oh I don't know, weird romances seem believable. As does other stuff, like wanting to be a part of an army. And such.

Sarcasm/Hyperbole. Perfect amount of dark humor. The humor in this book was the exact right type for this serious book; Dark, sarcastic, skeptical. If that doesn't make sense, go read it. There was no goofy foil character, nothing you could count on for reliable comic relief. But the narration had a lot of funny moments, in that sad, sarcastic kind of way.

So, overall, I liked this book and will definitely finish out the series. All that stuff up there equals good book. There were a few things that didn't work: I couldn't tell whose head we were in when the narration switched, with the exception of the little brother. Everyone else sounded the same. And there were a lot of repeated ideas and phrasing. I get that Yancey was trying to show similarities between everyone's plights or whatever but it was a bit much for me. Anyway, that's my only real beef. Go read it. You'll thank me.

Sexual Content: Mild
Language: Mild-Moderate (honestly don't remember so it couldn't have been too bad)
Violence: Heavy
Drugs/Alcohol: Mild

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