The 5th Wave (2013) – Rick Yancey


I’m not often disappointed by a book, and can usually let things slide when I’m not completely wowed by something, but this one just let me down. I didn’t know much about it until I saw the trailer for the upcoming film, and decided to read it.

I like most of the premise, the way these aliens show up, and instead of blowing things up and attacking have a whole different way of slowly claiming the planet, and exterminating mankind, but, I didn’t care for the characters.

Not that the characters are badly written, or poorly realized… it’s just that there are absolutely no surprises in the story here at all. It’s all pretty easy to figure out what is going to happen, and predict where the story goes and who is going to be what or do what.

Yancey is a fine writer, and I like the way his characters act and the dialogue works, but it falls flat because despite the novel way the aliens invade, the characters are stereotypical Young Adult creations, feeling like they’ve been lifted out of one genre, and dropped down into this one.

Cassie, short for Cassiopeia, is 16, and is one of the few survivors of the previous waves. She’s alone, trying to keep to the promise she made her younger brother Sam to find him, when he’s taken away by the military (part of a plan to keep all the children together, and perfectly safe).

So she sets out, but is being stalked by a Silencer, part of the 4th Wave.


Meanwhile, at the base run by Colonel Vosch, young Sam, all of 5, is assigned to a military unit, and his squad leader is Ben Parish, training the children and young teens to be soldiers and killers. Ben Parish just happens to be the boy Cassie used to crush on in high school (can you see this playing out yet?).

Along the way Cassie is taken in by Evan, who may not be all he appears to be, and a bit of a love story develops between them.

And for all that, none of the revelations are particularly shocking, or even revelatory. I knew what was going to happen beat to beat, and that bothered me, because I loved the premise.

And don’t use the argument that it’s a Young Adult book, there is some amazing writing taking place in that field, and more often than not, they entertain.

Currently, I am left divided on whether or not I want to read the rest of the series, the third book in the series is due out momentarily. I can hope that perhaps the first book was merely set-up, and that Yancey takes the story in new and unusual directions in the second and third parts, but I hated reading this one, and knowing exactly what would happen moment to moment.

Perhaps I am being too harsh, and I don’t want to be, I really wanted to like this one… Did you read it?



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