The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
More like a 3.5. I had heard nothing but rave reviews for this. So many in fact that I pre-ordered in January. Scifi alien invasion & decimation of humanity is right up my alley so I was very excited to read this. And now I have done. It was okay, some parts were quite well done but this was so far from the epic read I was expecting that it's not even funny.
I grant that possibly I may be the incorrect target audience for this, not being a teen, notwithstanding. I read & watch a lot of scifi so human extinction stories where the humans are hanging on by a string, with a relentless opponent while exploring what it is to be human is not new territory for me. It's actually one of my favorites. I like aliens who have basically handed humans our collective ass & are still chasing us down to finish the job. The scarier & more ruthless the better. So therein lies my first disconnect with this story. The Others, didn't give me the ruthless, scary vibe. Perhaps it's because Cassie pretty much broadstrokes the first four waves of the story for us. Yes, it sounds bad but it doesn't feel terribly personal & she renders it with such pluck & snark that I didn't really feel the foreboding & no amount of what was to be deeply introspective babble pulled me in either. Additionally, there's not a lot from the POV of The Others & what there is as this book's initial layout, well... lets just say, it's no Six from Battlestar Galactica introduction. These aliens have a plan but I just felt a tepid sort of malaise over it. All things being equal, I'd have rather re-read Extinction Point by Paul Jones & rewatched the last two seasons of Falling Skies for my alien invasion/human extinction fix. Or the first two books of the Fuse Trilogy by Julianna Baggott for my post-apocalyptic & dystopia fix.
This was also touted as reminiscent of The Passage. As luck would have it, I just finished that tome a couple weeks ago & can only say that as a body of work, NO The 5th Wave IS NOT. I was so flummoxed by this comparison as I read that I was actively looking for the hooks. Here's what I came up with: it's a page turner & the character of Ringer is very much like Alicia Donadio in that beautiful, badass & so totally into the fight that she isn't about much else, way.
The romance. Yeah... just no. That's all I'm going to say about that.
This is by far not the worst book I've read, it has some great moments & many interesting ideas. I think that it's hugely popular & has broad appeal for a reason. In this instance however, I'm an outlier who simply was not won over nor had the feels & wasn't swept away with the epicness. Overall, I didn't see anything new here & that's what I was expecting given the rave reviews. Here's the biggest surprise for me of all, I'm thrilled that the book ended the way it did given that it's the first in a trilogy. No big suspenseful cliffhanger & I have closure because I have little desire to continue on with the series.
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