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The 5th Wave Hardcover – May 7, 2013
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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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.
- Format: Hardcover
- Publication Date: 5/7/2013
- Pages: 480
- Reading Level: Age 12 and Up
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When the first wave comes, all technology is gone in a moment. An EMP takes everything out. The second wave caused massive tsunamis and destroyed the coasts of the world. The third wave infected and killed 97% of the remaining population in brutal fashion. The fourth wave destroyed all trust in humanity and introduced the constant threat of drones. The wave that makes you question every action... and the fifth wave... is us.
Cassie must survive in this strange world with no mother, father or brother to care for anymore - fighting and living because if she is the last human on Earth she refuses to go out with a whimper. She will fight until she can fight no longer. But she is not the only body left, even if she may be the only one with her own mind left. It is possible that one in every three people left is an Other. A Silencer. An Imposter. Has your mind and body been hacked? Do they look like us or can they make themselves look like us? Or maybe they've been here all along. Waiting. That's when you can't trust your eyes. You may be looking at an Other and not even realize it.
We next meet Ben, who must rediscover his fighting spirit if he wants to survive and survive he must. After not succumbing to the virus that infected him, he cannot give up. Taught to fight and given a new name, he must battle for his place.
Part III shows us a new perspective, an Other awakened in a human body and given a mission. To kill. To finish the human race, one by one. He has been tracking Cassie for a while and takes aim. Shoots. Traps her, but for some reason cannot bring himself to finish her.
Hunted. Shot. Then saved? Cassie wakes up being tended to by Evan on the family farm. He is the only one left of his family. Evan helps to nurse her back to health, bakes bread, carves walking sticks and wants to help her rescue her brother Sammy. What can't this farm boy do? And why does this make us so suspicious? Even Cassie can't quite bring herself to trust him. There are just little things that seem off, like a life-long farm boy with smooth hands and perfect cuticles. No callouses to be found. There's a small nagging feeling in her mind that asks- what if he's an Other?
The characters are well written and believable. You feel for them. Root for their successes and hurt when they fail. You wish for their survival despite the current chaos and destruction of the world. The world is familiar and yet fundamentally altered by the Others.
The book draws you in from the start and you puzzle over people and motives. Who will survive and if the human race survives this destruction, how will this ordeal fundamentally change the survivors? I am constantly questioning my conclusions and re-evaluating what I believe i happening. A great book is able to reveal just enough that the entire plot is not given away by page ten. This post-apocalyptic, alien-invasion novel is highly recommenede, especially if you plan to watch the movie. I cannot wait to read the next book, Infinite Sea!
WHAT I LIKED
+ I marveled at Rick Yancey’s exceptional ability to effortlessly paint a perfectly terrible doomed world. This is seriously one of the most dreadful world’s I’ve visited in the dystopian realm, and it wasn’t so much the imagery that left me agape and with a paralyzed immobility, but the choice of words Yancey used that set the tone and triggered an inevitable appreciation for things we often take for granted ― family and companionship for starters, home cooked meals, nicknames that grate on the nerves, the sound of music, laughter, trust, time to name a few.
"Even when there were people around to call me anything, no one ever called me Cassiopeia. Just my father, and only when he was teasing me, and always in a very bad Italian accent: Cass-ee-oh-PEE-a. It drove me crazy. I didn’t think he was funny or cute, and it made me hate my own name. “I’m Cassie!” I’d holler at him. “Just Cassie!” Now I’d give anything to hear him say it just one more time."
+ Most, if not all the characters started out as fragmented dystopian archetypes which is an element I appreciate in dystopian books. We have the lonesome and extremely cynical Cassie Sullivan who’s determined to find and rescue her little brother Sam from the Others. The high school football star Ben Parish who is found wrestling with an inner demon that peppers a dark overtone onto the story line. And lastly, the complex and altogether mystifying Evan Walker who truly got the story moving. Strictly speaking, I loved seeing how each one fought to hold on to their existence and the endless terror that ushered in new moments of painful regret.
+ I have to admit that while I did see Evan Walker’s unexpected twist early in the story, I was really surprised with the way his character arc unfolded. Truth be told, Evan Walker is by far my favorite character in this book. Most interesting to me was how he changed over time, and how his internal conflict manifested throughout the plot line. Seriously, author Rick Yancey could write an entire book on his character arc alone, it’s well-executed and genius!
“I’m a shark, Cassie,” he says slowly, drawing the words out, as if he might be speaking to me for the last time. Looking into my eyes with tears in his, as if he’s seeing me for the last time. “A shark who dreamed he was a man.”
+ It’s rare to find a distinctive voice that can say so much with so very little words in the dystopian genre. One of my all-time favorites being Katniss Everdeen. That being said, Cassie’s storytelling was utterly enthralling and simply brilliant! The dialogue, the banter, the altercations, all of it was written in such a realistic dialogue.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE
- My most prominent complaint with The 5th Wave was with the alternate point of views. Firstly, I should confess that I’m not typically a fan of multiple POV’s―albeit, The Lunar Chronicles making the exception. That said, I understand the author’s choice in giving the reader a glimpse into Zombie’s and Evan’s mind and thought process, the story and conflicts wouldn’t have developed otherwise. On the other hand, however, with Cassie’s spellbinding narration, it became irritating having to take in the abrupt switches. To boot, with the consistent distance between each character, I felt there was a lack of attachment, which in turn made me less empathic towards their plights.
- The plot was gripping and full of tension, but after a good quarter into the book, I seemingly lost interest; the plot didn’t reach any great heights and I expected more. To begin with, I had hoped to see Cassie fighting her way into a battle of wits against the Others on a more grandiose scale. **SPOILER** It stands to reason that the way she managed to find her brother was too convenient and clunky. I don’t know. I think it would have been amazing to see her recruited along with the child soldiers. I’m almost convinced there would have been a lot more action and plot development than what we received.**END SPOILER**. All that to say, I didn’t like the way the story drifted into a cringe-worthy romantic subplot that released a whiff of insta-love to say the least.
- Personally, I would have enjoyed the story on a greater scale had I actually seen each Wave actually unfold rather than have the author Cassie show them to me. Other than the 3rd Wave, and everything it entailed, I never really felt any suspense or desperation for the other Waves. What I mean to say is, the emotional impact was vague and missed the mark.
- I’m not sure how I feel about Cassie at this point, she’s definitely in a mixed bag for me. While I love her dry humor and reckless infatuation with Evan, I found her to be way two-dimensional. In truth, we are only shown one part of her persona and that’s her snippy attitude and response through reactions and emotions. Everything else, however, was undeveloped and lacked a great deal of depth. It goes without saying, her snarky approach became tedious and bogged down my interest in her character towards the end. I’m hoping to see more depth and complexity to her character arc in book two.
In the end, I enjoyed The 5th Wave. I found the world-building and tone to be most incredible, there were certainly some thought-provoking moments to boot, and the story telling was (as aforementioned) spellbinding, but overall, the story wasn’t as spectacular as I anticipated it to be. In any case, I'll still be reading book two ― which I've already purchased