Thursday, 17 July 2014

Review #8 - The 5th Wave

Title: The 5th Wave
Author: Rick Yancey
Publisher: Penguin Books
Published: 2013


A brief synopsis; (Via 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 was surprised that I enjoyed this book. I read it as a part of my book club, and it was one that I didn't actually finish before the meeting. (I was sat in one of the chairs reading it during the meeting, and I still didn't finish it until I got home. Also, on this note, book club is in two days and I have yet to start it. Ooops.)

The good thing about the main protagonist - Cassie, short for Cassiopeia, not Cassandra - is that she is inherently human. You can connect with her, because, whilst you may not be personally on the verge of experiencing the 5th Wave, you can still identify her dilemmas and link them with how you yourself might have reacted.

She's also not annoying, which is brilliant. In fact, none of the characters are 'annoying'. Sure, they have their off-moments and sometimes you really want to throttle them for being so naive and/or annoying, but you can't fault them - or Yancey - for that, because it's what makes the characters real- I forgot, really, just how young the characters are. It's easy to forget, what with the multitude of events set their way.

At certain points in the book, the narrative switches to that of 'Zombie', who is dozens of miles away from Cassie and seemingly unrelated to her in any way.

Of course, that turns out to be a lie, and Zombie is related to her in every possible way. Sort of. I don't want to spoil it, but when the connection is made, it's shocking and makes so much sense but is kind of improbable, but hey, so is an Alien invasion.

(Potentially. I mean, I don't know what really went on in Roswell, New Mexico back in the 1950s.)

Actually, I suppose I should have started with this, but prior to the beginning of the novel there has been 4 "waves". Each wave is vastly different to the one that occurred previously, and takes out a large number of the population. Cassie isn't even sure how many people remain alive. (Think The Walking Dead; how everyone gets separated into those small 'colonies', only Cassie is alone.)

She didn't start out alone- after one of the waves killed her mother, she was left with her father and her little brother Sammy, who travelled to a camp for the survivors. But then the so-called government officials showed up, and it all went to hell. Sammy was taken away with the other surviving children, and Cassie was too old to go with him- even though she was still a child herself!

At this point, she doesn't know what the 5th wave is or when it shall occur; she just knows she has to get her little brother back.

Despite not knowing that the 5th Wave is, or when it is due, she thinks she has a clue, especially when she states:

“How do you rid the Earth of humans? Rid the humans of their humanity.” 

Because Cassie knows that the humans are turning against one another- which is inevitable during an apocalypse. And they're also turning against her.

After an encounter on an abandoned highway that almost kills her, Cassie finds Evan. Evan is everything she desires, and everything she must avoid at all costs.

It's thrilling, and an evolution to her character. She has to trust him, yet the events just don't add up- how can she trust him?

But then Evan goes and agrees to save her little brother, so even though she may not trust him, she knows its the only hope she has of seeing Sammy again.

(This is the point where Zombie comes into play. Again, not going to spoil it.)

The action within this novel is not outlandish, it's easy to visualise and described in a way that makes it honest. It's fast paced, with no lull in the commotion and no over-descriptive sets that make it drag.

It's also funny- there are witty statements made that seem completely irrelevant, but when thought about they make total sense. They make the book seem more light hearted, which in truth is what everyone wants, because it means there's hope.

And what's a dystopian novel without just an ounce of hope?

The only problem I have is that there are several editing errors within the book itself- some speech marks are missing, and at one point, a character completely changes gender when the pronouns get switched.

But all in all, it was a great read, and I am looking forward to the second book.

I just hated the cliff hanger at the end. But then again, who in their right mind enjoys cliffhangers?

Star rating: 4/5

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