Monday, August 10, 2015

The 5th Wave - Rick Yancey

The 5th Wave
Title: The 5th Wave
Author: Rick Yancey
Publication Date: 5/7/13
Pages: 457
How I Found It: If I remember correctly, a coworker recommended it to me a while back.
Date Completed: 7/16/15

Summary: The alien attack is in its fourth wave, although humans have yet to see any of the extra-terrestrial invaders in the flesh. Most of humanity has been exterminated. Cassie, a teenager girl among the few remaining, works for survival on her own. She can trust no one if she wants to survive, but can she survive if she trusts no one? 

What I Thought: This book turned out to be pretty much just what I expected, which is really a rare experience if you think about it. How often does a book honestly and truly meet your expectations - for better or worse? This is particularly surprising since I actually knew very little about the story before starting it. 

Cassie runs around southwestern Ohio (a regional choice which made it fun for me as I recognize so much, down to specific highway intersections mentioned) trying to decide who, if anyone she can trust. The story of the initial approach and attacks from the aliens is documented in flashbacks interspersed throughout the story. This works nicely juxtaposed against Cassie's loneliness and fears. 

I could easily see this book translated to the big screen. I was not surprised at all to learn Chloe Grace Moretz will be starring in just such an adaptation come early 2016. It's a movie I'll see, for sure. The story works perfectly well as a novel and Yancey does a nice job. Yet, there is something about this genre that really comes alive on screen in a different way. Perhaps I am just speaking out of generational conditioning, but I think it will work nicely on screen.

I do have to say, the book was hard to follow at times. Alternating points of view occasionally made it difficult to ascertain which character would be leading the new chapter. You could usually figure it out pretty quickly, but there were a few times where I had to flip back and forth trying to nail down the identity of the narrator. 

Also, as much as I hate to say it, I did not find the characters very inspiring. I struggled to connect to them. This could be because nearly all of them were teenagers or younger. When children and adolescents in charge of saving the world, hormones get involved and complicate things. I don't love that. There were parts of the story that ventured a bit too far into teen drama for me. I would have rather stuck to the action and the fighting for humanity storyline. Yancey did that for the most part, but things got a bit too "teenage-y" at some moments. 

I did really like how Yancey approached the idea of alien invasion - at least in the first half of the book. Toward the end, things got a little odd, as they tend to do when authors decide to explain details of alien existence. Still, the scenes of the world reacting to the approaching invaders and the chaos which followed throughout the first few waves felt spot on to me. Few books deal with the first reactions to such catastrophe and Yancey did it particularly well. 

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Will I Re-Read: Probably not
Will I Continue Reading the Series: I'm not adverse to the idea, but I don't think I'll seek it out.
If You Liked This Try: The Passage / Ender's Game / These Broken Stars
A Reduced Review: Not perfect, but a fun ride for anyone interested in what alien invasion might look like if teenagers were the ones fighting it. 

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