Reader's Choice Review #1: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Series: The 5th Wave #1
Publication Date: May 7, 2013
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 457 (ARC)
Source: Gifted
Recommended By: Krista
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.
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

I'm disappointed, I have no other way to put this. I was really looking forward to this book and I so greatly wish I could sit here and say that it lived up to the hype. But, in reality, the hype just made my disappointment even more intense. Don't get me wrong, this is perhaps one of the most unique plot lines I have ever come across. The story as a whole is awesome. But there are several things that hinder the plot from reaching its true potential. If such things were corrected in book two, I'd be back to being blown away.

I think that the reason I tend to stray from post-apocalyptic novels is because they're often unbelievable. You know, you have to convince me that there's no hope left in the world. And props to Yancey because he did just that. At times, this book was so depressing and the odds of survival were so low that I was sick to my stomach and I had to put my book down. Despite the amazing plot, the reading experience was slow. I felt ever word on this almost 500 page book. It was a long journey from the beginning to the end, similar to ones journey of survival an apocalypse. I trudged, a lot, wondering when the end was near.

The beginning of this book was absolutely amazing. It was absolutely creeptastic and the atrocities committed in this world were weighing. I could not put it down. Cassie was a strong character. She was fierce, she was a warrior and she'd kill for her own survival. I loved her when she was alone, fighting for herself. And then she met other people. And I began to hate her because she transformed into this new person. She had all the fears and unnecessary worries and it seemed that the way she was written was altered altogether. I went from watching this girl who reminded me of a warrior princess to a girl who reminded me more of a brutish boy. There's a distinct line between a girl who can kick major ass and a girl whose so burly and brutish she reminds me of a boy. Her speech, her thought processes, everything reminded me of a young, immature boy. It almost seemed obvious that Yancey was trying to make his girl girly and in doing so he took her sarcasm and made it boyish. She literally said "playing kissy face" at one point. That's something I expect from a middle school boy, not a sixteen year old girl. You changed, Cassie for Cassieopia (of which we're reminded of repeatedly), and it ruined the story.

The other problem with this book was the point of view changing constantly. I counted five point of view changes and there was no warning for everything. Eventually, I learned the distinct voices, but I was thrown off repeatedly throughout the duration of this book and it did not make for an enjoyable experience. I'd prefer if I was given a little warning, Yancey. We have Cassie, Zombie, the Silencer, Evan, and her younger brother, Sammy. Sure, a little kid reads different than an alien or a teenage boy, but it completely threw me off and the frustration! I can't even begin to explain the frustration. I almost DNFed this book several times because I could not deal with the POV changes.

The other problem that I had is that I put everything together a lot quicker than the characters. I'm not explaining anything or ruining it for you, but I saw everything with Zombie's true identity and Evan's background from a mile away. I wanted to tell the characters to kick rocks because of their sheer surprise. If you survived four waves of an alien invasion, you'd think they were sharp. But nope, they're the dullest tools left in the damn shed.

The romance was perhaps one of the worst done as well. It was forced and random and bordered slightly on obsession. The awesome Cassie from the beginning disappeared the second the romance emerged where she was curious about love seemingly after the first (and unwanted on her part) kiss. She's comparing her feelings of Evan to this guy, Ben Parish, who she was obsessed with pre-invasion but he didn't know she existed because he was an Adonis and she was the girl in the background. She says she can't love Zombie because love is what she feels for Ben. Are you nuts?! The concept and understanding of obsession is non-existent in this novel even though there is no romance and only obsession. It frustrated me, a lot. The romance just seemed out of place as a whole.

The introduction of the side characters in Zombie's group eased my frustration because they really were characterized well. And the ending, wow! It was amazing. The action, the surprises, the revelations. I loved it. It made up for the fact that I couldn't deal with other aspects of the book and it brought me back to that amazing plot line that's unfortunately hindered by a bad romance, obvious plot twists, and frustrating perspective changes littered throughout the book.

All in all, a solid read if you're in the mood for it. It's deserving of the hype of Yancey corrects the issues stated above. The plot was so amazing that everything that hindered it was glaringly obvious and frustrating.

While I understand why so many enjoyed this, I understand why so many people couldn't get through it. I got through it out of sheer determination in my desire not to DNF, though such a desire reared its head several times throughout this novel. I can't tell you whether to pick this one up because it's not as if it's life changing. It's not as if I'm blown away or deeply disappointed. I'm just marginally satisfied. I can't shove it in people's face, but I can't rip it out of your hands. You have to decide for yourself on this one.

With that in mind, I think this is perfect for adult readers because of the description and beautiful writing style. It's also rather violent and I don't think younger readers would be able to handle some of the deaths in this one. 



3 stars

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Is there anything that you would like me to read?
  

12 comments:

  1. This totally didn't live up to the hype for me either. :( There are some things I really liked about it, but a lot of it was cliche-ridden and the perspectives were horribly done.

    And, I totally agree! I've seen a lot of Cassie hatred, but if it had all been her and she hadn't gone soft the moment she saw a cute boy, I would have loved this! Also, her narrative sounded EXACTLY like Zombie's. His writing was not strong enough to not put headers at the beginning of each section. Ugh.

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    1. Like, they were in first person! 5 in first person! No, you just can't. It leads to me pulling out my hair and that's not pretty.

      Same! She ruined it for me! I managed to recognize Zombie's simply because he was in a training camp and she was not. Such good potential wasted. :(

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  2. Great review, Lili! Sorry this one didn't blow you away. Now I may wait to read it for sure. Hype can seriously damage a reading experience, especially if you're going in thinking it's going to be like a bar of gold on the bottom of the ocean (which is what I initially thought about this book, lol).

    I also hate bad romances. But at least the plot was unique. I may give in to all the hoopla and read it later, but for now I'm definitely going to put it aside. Thanks for the honest review :D

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    1. Haha that analogy is great! It describes this book perfectly, but it's not good enough to be gold or silver, it's bronze instead.

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  3. I was one of those people who DNF it. I really liked everything about this book up until Cassie met Evan. And then he forced her to kiss him, even though she said no repeatedly. And honestly, that would have been fine, if only Cassie hasn't ended up enjoying it. If Yancey had portrayed that as WRONG, I would have kept reading. But honestly, I lost a lot of respect for him as an author after that scene. Yancey, a grown man, wrote a scene wherein a sixteen year old girl's privacy was violated and then she was forced to make out with the person who did the violating and then she ended up liking it. It makes me want to pull my hair out thinking that people really believe this is was teen girls like.

    Okay, ending my rant now.

    This is a great review, Lili, and I'm so happy to have to read it. I love that you outline all that went terribly wrong in this book. It's a shame that the characterization fell apart; this could have been really great. Kudos to you for being able to finish it.

    Bekka
    Pretty Deadly Reviews

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    1. Yeah you told me you DNFed and I totally understand your frustrations, but I powered through for reader's choice. Haha, it didn't impact me in any way though and I easily could have DNFed if I wish. I do agree with how he portrayed the kiss as being wrong. He could have had her deny it for flirty purposes but nope!

      Kudos to me! *throws confetti*

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  4. Aw...so sad this one wasn't that good. I have heard lots of mixed reviews on it, so I keep pushing it down my TBR list. Thanks for the honest review!

    Jennifer
    YA Sisterhod

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  5. It's always a shame when a potential book that is hyped doesn't work for you. I'm still going to read it, because it sounds great, but I'll keep in mind that I might not like it as much as I expected. I'm not looking forward to that romance..

    Mel@thedailyprophecy.

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  6. This one's been sitting by my bed for a long time because of the hype, and I'm afraid I'm going to be a DNFer. I'm waiting for the right mood...

    "At times, this book was so depressing and the odds of survival were so low that I was sick to my stomach and I had to put my book down. Despite the amazing plot, the reading experience was slow. I felt ever word on this almost 500 page book. It was a long journey from the beginning to the end, similar to ones journey of survival an apocalypse. I trudged, a lot, wondering when the end was near."
    Oh, geez, this is why I can't do a lot of dystopian lit. Too harsh for actual humor and lightness. Lots of plot twists, sure, and excitement, but that's not enough.

    It's the worst to discover things before the characters - Cinder was kind of like that, but it sounds like where Cinder upped this book is in world-building, romance, and the MC. I'd heard a lot of the same about the POV switches too.

    "It almost seemed obvious that Yancey was trying to make his girl girly and in doing so he took her sarcasm and made it boyish. She literally said "playing kissy face" at one point."
    Oh nooooo. When girls change because of boys (I'm assuming they are, in part, those who make up the other characters), it just makes me sad.

    "The awesome Cassie from the beginning disappeared the second the romance emerged where she was curious about love seemingly after the first (and unwanted on her part) kiss." Nonono. So I'd heard bad things about the romance, about it kind of being stupid and ridiculous (he shoots her, right?) and insta!love like and now I understand those comparisons. So it's got a survivalist MC who immediately feels for this guy? Blargh!

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  7. This book got so much hype and great reviews so I of course read it too. Like you I was disappointed. It wasn't as good as I thought it could be. Cassie does annoyingly change, and when we first get the different POV I was so darn confused.

    Great review!

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  8. I have such a hard time with post-apocalyptic/dystopian's for a couple of reasons. One, they are all so similar, it starts to get frustrating. Two, they are so incredibly depressing, and most of the time that isn't what I want when I read a book. But The 5th Wave sounds like it at least doesn't suffer from the first reason. But the hype of it definitely worries me for the exact reason that it was a disappointment in ways to you. I will absolutely read it one day, but not until all of the books are released. And hopefully, I will enjoy!

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  9. Different story. Yancey didn't spend time with other "waves" - disasters covered over and over in other books. Story really gets going with the 5th. Not going to give spoilers, but if you see the movie that is out now, come back and read the book.

    Kevin Elwood

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