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111 of 120 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Terrifying Yet Compelling
There is something about alien invasion that I find so utterly terrifying, yet so compelling. When I first heard about The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey, I knew without a doubt that I had to read it. Previously, I had read Yancey's Monstrumologist books and found myself utterly impressed with his writing style - pacing and plot were not sacrificed for syntax. Yancey's science...
Published 15 months ago by April

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91 of 106 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lacked Originality
As a mother of teens, I often read YA as a means to see what they are reading as well as have informed discussions about the books to enhance their learning. Over the past few years I have enjoyed commercial staples like The Hunger Games and Divergent, discovered hidden gems (such as the criminally over-looked Unwind) and endured moronic drivel like the Twilight series...
Published 13 months ago by S. Jordan


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111 of 120 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Terrifying Yet Compelling, April 7, 2013
By 
April (OTEGO, NY, United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The 5th Wave (Hardcover)
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There is something about alien invasion that I find so utterly terrifying, yet so compelling. When I first heard about The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey, I knew without a doubt that I had to read it. Previously, I had read Yancey's Monstrumologist books and found myself utterly impressed with his writing style - pacing and plot were not sacrificed for syntax. Yancey's science fiction novel absolutely lived up to the expectations I held for it - namely that it would be strongly written, make me think, and have me invested in the characters.

The Others have attacked humanity through different waves. The first wave of attacks leaves people without use of electricity. The second wave results in coastal destruction. The third wave brings plague. The fourth wave involves the Others, the aliens, hunting the last specks of humanity. So, what does the fifth wave of attack have in store? Yancey's plot weaves loss, fear, and questions of what comprises humanity in an epic, pulsating story. Told through a variety of point of views, The 5th Wave is about a girl, Cassie Sullivan, who decides to save her brother Sammy despite the insurmountable odds against her. Along the way, she meets Evan Walker who is a bit of a mysterious loner dude, but he just may be Cassie's only shot at rescuing Sammy.

Cassie Sullivan is hardcore. With an M-16 she follows the mantra, if something is shooting at you, shoot back. She was not always that way though. Before the invasion, Cassie was a frizzy haired girl that no one noticed. Yet, she adapts to her new life. Straight up, Cassie is incredibly compelling. I rooted for her to come out okay and unscathed for the whole of the book. I loved that she used her brains before she uses her M-16. I love that Yancey paints an interesting image of a girl who is willing to trust and fight to live, when she has every reason not to. The 5th Wave is an epic book with an epic main character.

Yancey does not skimp on secondary characterization, either. Evan Walker, for example is characterized as a `Noticer' and this is often repeated throughout The 5th Wave, and backed up with example. Then there is Zombie, a boy who has several point of view chapters and finds himself conscripted, along with other children, to wield weapons and hunt the Others, as though they were adults. Zombie is given a whole backstory and he spends much of the book trying to rectify an awful mistake he made during the invasion. Sammy, Cassie's brother, is given a point of view section as well. I found it interesting, seeing the invasion from the eyes of a very young child. As a reader, I could not help but hope that Sammy would retain his innocence and not be changed. But of course, that is a lot to ask.

The world built in The 5th Wave is fascinating - what happens during an alien invasion? What happens when the aliens are able to inhabit human bodies? It's an interesting question that the book postulates and one that allows for a world similar to ours but with key differences. For example, cars no longer work and so, Cassie must travel on foot along lonely highways with no company but abandoned automobiles. It's a bit terrifying, the thought of our world without people and technology. I also have to admit that The 5th Wave reminded me a lot of The Host by Stephanie Meyer, in the way that the Others invade and take over, only The 5th Wave is better. Stylistically, I much preferred Yancey's view of hostile takeover to Meyer's.

What I really liked about The 5th Wave is that it does feel literary without sacrificing pace. I love that Yancey shows one can write an intelligent book that ponders deeper questions and not be boring. The 5th Wave is very well-written. It asks questions such as `what makes us human?' and `is survival worth it when all hope is lost?'. This is a book that made me think while entertaining me. I found myself tempted to dog ear a few pages as I went along, as the writing is invigorating. For example, there's a section where Cassie is questioning the existence of God to Evan. It's not overwritten, yet is still a bit philosophical.

I think if you are looking to be blown away by a science fiction book but have been apprehensive about trying them, give The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey a shot. It is exciting. It is emotional. It is compelling. It is smart. There's a lot of hype for The 5th Wave and honestly, that hype is not undeserved. Recommended for readers looking for their next young adult fix.
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91 of 106 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lacked Originality, June 18, 2013
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This review is from: The 5th Wave (Hardcover)
As a mother of teens, I often read YA as a means to see what they are reading as well as have informed discussions about the books to enhance their learning. Over the past few years I have enjoyed commercial staples like The Hunger Games and Divergent, discovered hidden gems (such as the criminally over-looked Unwind) and endured moronic drivel like the Twilight series. As others have mentioned, I had high hopes for The 5th Wave based on stellar reviews and what appeared to be an interesting premise.

Although the book started out promisingly, I had to force myself to complete it as it became more and more derivative and tedious - borrowing from TV shows like Falling Skies and books like The Hunger Games (and even The Passage) in a manner that bored and annoyed me. There is so little in the way of original thought here, I am stunned that the book has been so well received. Characters that seemed intriguing when they were fist introduced quickly become so predictable that you could almost anticipate their actions and statements before you turned the page.

As other reviewers have mentioned, the whole concept of the aliens and their mission in the story is not fleshed out enough to make it interesting or compelling. In fact, I found myself saying "oh please" out loud once or twice as the whole invasion seems constructed as a way for the characters to have certain experiences as opposed to a well-developed concept about these invaders and the larger implications for humankind.

While I do realize this is meant to be YA material, I still thought the book was far too one-dimensional and would bore most savvy young readers who have come to expect more for the whole dystopian genre. I also was irritated with yet another heroine who is introduced as strong and smart right up until she starts swooning over a guy. As the Hunger Games series has shown, you can introduce teen romance without making your female lead into a simpering fool.

Additionally, for those of you with kids who enjoy sci-fi, there is really not much in the way of the here and what is included in the plot about the aliens is quite dull and never really packs a punch in terms of plot of social commentary. This is much more in the genre of "teens finding their way in a dystopian hell-scape" and not crafter very well in that model.

I wanted to like The 5th Wave, but it fell very short.
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78 of 93 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Enjoyable Read, May 8, 2013
This review is from: The 5th Wave (Hardcover)
This book can be a lot of fun if you either a) don't pay much attention to details or b) aren't worried about factual lapses. As for plot - standard issue inscrutable aliens arrive in earth orbit and proceed to wipe out most of the human race. As it later develops, they could have accomplished their goals without as much as a minor disturbance. However, that would be beneath their dignity (seriously) so instead they embark on an incredibly complex scheme to kill everyone. Written as a YA novel with a sixteen year-old protagonist, it requires some heavy-duty suspension of disbelief. But I still found it very enjoyable for the first half with some scenes that were actually moving. Characterization was an especially strong point. Unfortunately it then lapsed into an extended parody of military boot camp and the story began to fall apart as the author tried to cover a couple of gaping plot holes. There are several unlikely events, a few preposterous ones and a couple that are flatly impossible. All this leads to an utterly unlikely rabbit-out-of-the-hat conclusion. The characters try to lampshade this with only moderate success. The viewpoint character also makes a lot of fun of popular science fiction plot lines without seeming to realize she is inside one. I hope this was the author's intention. Finally, I had trouble with the military content since the author apparently did not trouble himself to learn much about the military or anything about weapons, although both are heavily featured.
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79 of 105 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unpopular opinion: a fairly average sci-fi novel, May 12, 2013
This review is from: The 5th Wave (Kindle Edition)
"Do you know why we will win this war? Why we cannot lose? Because we know how you think. We've been watching you for six thousand years. When the pyramids rose in the Egyptian desert, we were watching you. When Caesar burned the library at Alexandria, we were watching you. When you crucified that first-century Jewish peasant, we were watching. When Columbus set foot in the New World...when you fought a war to free millions of your fellow humans from bondage...when you learned how to split the atom...when you first ventured beyond your atmosphere...What were we doing?"--quotation from The 5th Wave

Why, Mr. Alien, you were watching us and twiddling your symbolic alien mustache of course! Yet that six thousand years of creeping on humanity doesn't seem to have done you much good. Since your plan to kill the Earthlings and take possession of the planet (if that even IS your plan--unfortunately, Rick Yancey has left your intentions vague), well, that plan kind of sucked.

Yancey's alien species has decided to destroy humanity in waves--1st wave, 2nd wave, 3rd wave, 4th wave. Almost 7 billion humans, dead. Now it's the 5th wave, a wave that will challenge what it means to be human. Here's my question, though: if the aliens are oh-so-smart thanks to millions of years of evolution and as evinced by their fancy mothership, why are they killing humanity in waves? Why are they reverting to methods that allow plucky teenagers to fight back? Why can't they simply exterminate all humans in a single blow?

...I don't know if there are any answers to those questions, so my first issue with The 5th Wave is a basic logic fail. Sorry, but I do not accept these premises!

Considering the 7 billion death toll, the aliens are deadly, but to me, they were never scary. It's quite remarkable, really: How can a species kill 7 billion creatures and not be scary? By definition, shouldn't aliens be ALIEN? Unrecognizable and terrifying? Yet these aliens seem so stupidly human. Their technology is similar--you got the drones, bombs, microchips, and guns--which again raises the question: these are our intellectual superiors? The pinnacle of the universe's chain of being? Not buying it. And then their psychology is similar to humans'. Why are these non-human creatures getting bogged down by humanity? Humanity is just that--humanity. And these guys aren't Homo sapiens. Why can't they be truly frightening creatures that care nothing about us and act nothing like us? If these aliens are so similar to humans, I don't even understand why they're bothering to exterminate us. I'm sure we could find some room on Antarctica for our weird yet strangely human galactic cousins. So...logic fail number two! Aliens should be alien.

I wanted--and needed--more information about the goals of the aliens (I should note that the book rarely describes them as aliens but as "Others"). To distinguish them from humans, I needed more backstory. All I have is questions: why are they on Earth? Just to colonize? What events on their original planet led to their arrival? But we don't have these answers, so the aliens are mostly vacuous characters. Not horrifying, not sympathetic, not anything.

Before I even encountered the aliens and the numerous logical concerns they raised, however, I had to slog through the beginning. For a book about the apocalypse, it's not terribly exciting. In fact, it wasn't until the final third or so that I became enraptured with the story and let go into the pure action. The writing is partly to blame for this. The writing can be too internal and focused on the minutiae of the characters' thoughts. There are constant Go Humanity! pep talks where the story essentially stops for a page or two as a character epiphanizes and finds his or her apocalyptic gall. Some of them are rather charming--"I had it all wrong. Before I found you, I thought the only way to hold on was to find something to live for. It isn't. To hold on, you have to find something you're willing to die for."--others are distracting.

Even when the plot did kick up a gear, I remained mostly skeptical. I was never surprised and predicted all plot "twists." And although I enjoyed the ending much more than the rest of the book due to its nonstop action, I found the climax to be too perfect. Everything comes to fruition too carefully, too obviously by design.

I realize that the first part of this review is mostly composed of questions. Questions of logic, of whys and hows. But the questions I'm asking after closing the books are character questions--"How will the gang survive after everything that happened? What's going to happen to them next???" Those questions show that I care. I care about these characters and I want to continue reading about their struggles. And I guess, logic fails and all, that's enough.
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21 of 28 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't believe the hype..., May 13, 2013
This review is from: The 5th Wave (Hardcover)
I got really excited about this one, because besides end of the world/natural disaster stories, alien invasion stories are my thing. Good points: I liked the main characters, and the writing was smooth and well paced, and despite all of Cassie's annoying traits, I liked her and related to her. Bad points: I found the plot so completely derivative, without any need for being so.

Let me explain: As time goes on, it's becoming more and more difficult to write an ORIGINAL alien invasion story. It's all been done before. You are going to get comparisons to every story ever written. In light of this, I am typically the type to overlook these rehashed stories of aliens coming to earth to destroy and just sit back and enjoy. For some reason, every single thing that happened in this book seemed borrowed, and for no good reason.. And in the process, it seems like a hodge-podge mess of every alien story ever told being slapped together with tape and presented as a book and without a purpose.

The whole theme to the story doesn't make sense! Why not just wipe them all out and be done with it? Why the 'waves'? The fifth wave is the most silly of them all. All that effort into having them kill each other. Pointless when you have the weapons to do it yourself.

One of my favorite alien invasion stories is V. Yeah, some bad 80s special effects and silly lizards underneath the human suits, but I loved that their invasion involved keeping humans alive for food. There was a purpose to keeping humans alive. In this book, there was not. They could easily have killed them all in the first wave. And why watch humans for thousands of years? What's the purpose? To manipulate them later on into killing each other because you are too lazy to do it yourself? Ugh..the frustrations I have with this story are never ending!

It's clear to me why the publisher previewed the first 70 pages of this book for free...they were the best part of the book. The changes in perspective were obviously necessary to share everyone's story, but what they took away was our connection to the main character. What a shame...

Even worse still, the writer tries to put a love story together and fails BADLY. From someone who loves to read romance novels, and knows them well, THIS was not romance. This was awkward pairings.

I still enjoyed the story and would enjoy this as a movie, but I honestly don't think this book has lived up to the hype...wait for the movie and save your $$.
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43 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is a suckerpunch, February 27, 2013
This review is from: The 5th Wave (Hardcover)
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Sometimes the best books are the hardest to talk about. I mean, I could go on for paragraphs about the structure of THE 5TH WAVE. The book jumps from narrator to narrator. The first hundred pages are spent with Cassie - short for Cassiopeia - and the book leaves her head as soon as she's in mortal danger. Point of view is used to obscure who is an alien, a human, or if there's a difference.

I could talk about how there is a girl with two male love interests (sorta) and a boy with two female love interests (sorta) but none of that matters compared to how much the girl and boy love a little kid and want to protect him even when there's nothing left in the world but survival and saving the kid could mean dying.

I could talk about how this is top notch, classic horror science fiction, told beautifully. That the book itself explores how literature, how we write and read and how that affects us, makes us human. It's a binding experience. How I see little touches of War of the Worlds and other classic "the aliens are here and they're gonna kill us" stories but that THE 5TH WAVE is so absorbing because it does it's own thing. Sure, each of the waves are familiar, but combined they create the effect of a new invasion. This invasion is as intimate as the Yeerks in the Animorphs and as impersonal as the Death Star firing on Alderaan.

Mostly, I think I could talk about how I need a sequel. I don't know if there is going to be a sequel, I haven't checked, and the book certainly ends in a place that could be the end . . . but I want more. Those who survive may not know it, but there is so much left in their world. (Sorry for that awkward phrasing but I'm not giving away who lives and who dies!) (And a little research tells me it will be a trilogy - hooray! Ignore everything I've ever said about wanting more standalone novels.)

I'm writing this review in February. THE 5TH WAVE comes out in May and Penguin has already started some serious publicity efforts. I'm sure by the time the book comes out and I post this review on my blog there will be a huge build-up of hype and backlash to that hype. So just try to ignore all the hype, block out a few quiet hours for yourself, and read THE 5TH WAVE. I know, you're saying it's nearly five hundred pages long and you're going to need more than a few hours, but this puppy flew by. Mostly because I couldn't stop until I knew what happened.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!, May 3, 2014
This review is from: The 5th Wave (Kindle Edition)
I was halfway through this book before I realized it was a young adult publication. The author did a great job telling each character's story, and then pulling it together. I will definitely read the sequel when it comes out.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Who can you trust?, March 3, 2014
By 
Kathleen C (Minneapolis, MN United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The 5th Wave (Kindle Edition)
The 5th Wave is a story very similar to the Host. I enjoyed the book and am looking forward to the Infinite Sea to see where the continuation leads.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!, February 27, 2014
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This review is from: The 5th Wave (Hardcover)
I am a fan of the Hunger Games and Divergent. This book is great if you love those types of books! It's written in a few different views which makes for amazing story telling b/c you see how the different characters see the world. I love this book! I read it in 2 days :)
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I can't stop thinking about this book, May 16, 2013
This review is from: The 5th Wave (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
There's a great synopsis of this book and many reviewers have taken the time to give other readers a peek into what this story is about, so I'm only going to concentrate on my impressions of the story and the main character, Cassie.

Cassie is a survivor. She's the type of young woman that statues and street names are meant for. She may not always act brave and she second guesses herself like crazy, but when the world came to an end she burst out with a gun, a plan and her little brother's teddy bear (the bear is pretty important, it isn't meant to be a symbol of anything other than her determination to keep a promise, but I started to really love that bedraggled stuffed animal and I wouldn't be surprised to hear that other readers searched out a new teddy for themselves to sleep with after reading this book). Because of the awful things she's seen and experienced, she doesn't have a lot of softness left in her, she doesn't try to help other survivors and early on she shows little remorse for killing someone before they could shoot her, her ability to trust others has been sorely taxed.

There were several times in the book when horrible (I really do mean horrible) things happened where in the buildup to the event I thought, 'no way, Mr. Yancey can't do this his characters, this is a YOUNG ADULT book!!" I read a lot of young adult and have gotten used to a certain level of coddling when it comes to the bad things; violence, true violence and its aftermath is mostly missing in the books I've read and to read it happening to Cassie and her family was shocking. The last time I was so shocked like this by a book was when I read the Hunger Games (just to give you a frame of reference for what I mean by shocking).

But more than the whole world going to crap is a mystery about the invasion. Who are the bad guys? What do they want? Cassie knows, or she thinks she does. I really can't say any more, I started to doubt some of the things Cassie believed pretty early on, which is fabulous, finding myself disagreeing with her yet simultaneously rooting for her, was strange yet exhilerating.

The mystery comes to an amazing finale in this book, which is also great, I hate it when you have to read through multiple books to get to the problem and it's pretty ballsy of Mr. Yancey to show all his cards like this, it means the next book will have to pick up right where this one left off, no secrets, no super big revelations left, just planning, because of course, the world can't go on like it has.

All in all, I can't recommend this book enough.

Update: I just listened to the audio version and it was super exciting, great narrators, male and female.
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The 5th Wave
The 5th Wave by Richard Yancey (Hardcover - May 7, 2013)
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