The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey (Book Review)

The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave, #1)The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

My rating: 1.5 of 5 stars
What this book is about:
Cassie is an average teenage girl whose main concerns revolve around school, her friends and boys. Especially one boy named Ben Parish. But when the aliens or the Others decide to take over the Earth, Cassie and the whole planet have to prepare themselves for war. It starts with the 1st wave when the world loses all power. During the 2nd wave the world loses bilions of people. At the 3rd wave, a plague kills Cassie’s mother. Now Cassie, her father and her little brother Sammy need to stay together and find a way to survive in this unforgiving world that does not belong to humans any more.


A science fiction, young adult apocalyptic dystopian that reads from multiple perspectives. Two of the perspectives are in first person, like Cassie’s, while the other two are in third person perspective. The book is divided into 91 short chapters the longest one being 10 pages long. The shortness of each chapter felt very unnecessary most if not all of the time. The story is a fast, quick-paced read and the expected elements of romance as dictated by the YA committe of YAsville. Why was this book such a grand disappointment?

Let’s start with the positive part.I picked this book to read for the BookTube-A-Thon and admittedly, as I mentioned already, it read quite fast. As fast as you would expect from any YA action novel you pick up. There is action throughout the story, there is a small element of mystery about what the aliens are and what they want from Earth and all these components make a story that although I did not enjoy, I also didn’t feel the strong urge to abandon.

It is over in less than a minute. The shadow withdraws.
Now it is only the man, the woman, the baby inside her, and the intruder inside the baby, sleeping.

This book follows probably the most annoying protagonist I’ve ever read from. Yes, I went there. Cassie is such an annoying voice to read from. It begins with her being alone in a forest, in a world brimming with alien intruders, while she tries to find a way to survive. Okay, I can work with that (I would think as the reader). But the Cassie starts cracking jokes and talking like a 16 year old American high-school girl that you would expect to see in the movies. And the jokes or her humour in general are just not funny. Not only are they not funny, but the way she talks is so annoying and so out-of-place that it takes the whole ambience and feel of the story away. A completely unrealistic, immature, annoying little girl that wants to talk about her high-school crush in the middle of a freaking alien invasion.

It’s like a cocroach working up a plan to defeat the shoe on its way down to crush it.

Tropes, tropes, tropes.It has become a ‘thing’ now, aparently, that when you are reading a YA novel you are expecting to see very specific themes and clichés in the story. Why have authors fallen into the trap of writing for the YA readers and not writing what is actually on their mind without trying to satisfy and impress a specific reading audience? I really did expect the 5th wave to be different but that was because of the fact that I forbid myself to read the synopsis or any reviews before opening the book. Now that I opened and read it I must say I am utterly disappointed not only in the book but in all the books that follow these specific, tropy guidelines. I have nothing against romance used in books but when it comes to the point that you can predict almost everything 50 pages in the story then why am I reading the damn book?

Dusk is the best time to travel. I’ve never seen a drone at dusk. Three or four during the day and a lot more at night, but never at dusk.

The alien invasion part is not really explained and in general doesn’t really make sense. Okay, I understand that Earth has a unique factor that makes the planet somewhat special. Us, humans make the planet special with our consciousness and understanding of our existence. But when aliens come to Earth, why do they come? What do they seek? We don’t really get a clear answer. It is a science fiction story but definitely not a thrilling adventure based on facts or science that makes actual sense. The technology of the aliens is never explained (oh just a banana looking object that kills people, oh a silver round object that can disable every electrical device).

It’s been a long time since humans were prey animals. A hundred thousand years or so. But buried deep in our genes the memory remains: the awareness of the gazelle, the instinct of the antelope. The wind whispers through the grass. A shafow flits between the trees. And up speaks the little voice that goes, Shhhh, it’s close now. Close.

The story is not original, it’s simplistic and with a writing style that uses classic YA vocabulary. Let’s take an overall look to the story. We have Cassie, who has a brother and two parents and goes to high-school like every other teen her age. Suddenly, a mothership is spot somewhere in space and the world doesn’t know what to expect. It turns out, the aliens are not coming in piece. During the 1st wave, the extraterestrials kill the power of the whole planet. Every electromagnetical machine stops working. In the 2nd wave a huge earthquake creates massive tsunamis that wipe out whole countries. The 3rd wave brings the plague that kills 9 out of 10 people on Earth. Now, we are somewehre between wave 4 and 5. What I find amazing in all this is that even though we are reading a book that involves not only the whole Earth but even beyong our lonely planet, the author never managed to give me a feeling of how big the effect of the invasion was. It’s as if the only people left in the world were Cassie and 10 other characters and this was the only focus of everything. Bad execution, very bad. When the apocalypse comes you want to see the world wide impact, not only what a cute little girl with a horrible sense of humour is going through.

Overall, this is a story that would appeal to a young audience with the expectation of a fast, adventurous read. You can have fun reading this book. But I would not recommend it to anyone who loves science fiction or is expecting anything more complex than a fun, simple, angsty, teenage novel about aliens and teenagers who hold the fate of the world in their hands.

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8 Comments Add yours

  1. I’m glad I’ve found some else who found Cassie annoying too!


    1. mensrea3 says:

      You too? Ah, nice! 🙂 She really messed up half of the book for me. Have you also read book 2?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I ended up finishing the series. The last book is probably the best of the series but as a whole it was just ok. Sam becomes even more annoying than Cassie.


    2. mensrea3 says:

      I will brace myself! Maybe it runs in the family :p

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ouch!! I really loved how you didn’t hold any punches amazing review 🙂


    1. mensrea3 says:

      Haha thank you! I think it’s very obvious that I was disappointed. Have you read this book?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Nope but I am always down for post apocalyptic stories :0 I will check it out.


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