I enjoyed The 5th Wave more than I thought I would. I’d had this book on my to-read list for a while and finally decided to read it with the movie about to come out. (Recently, its seems that many books are being turned into movies.)
From the start, this novel engaged me. Cassie Sullivan, one of the narrators, is intelligent, likeable, and determined. She faces immeasurable odds in her attempt to rescue her brother from the Others, the aliens who are systematically destroying humanity through a series of waves (only one of the waves is literal waves).
Ben Parish and Evan Walker are two of the other narrators for this story. Each create new insights and twists to the novel, which bring to fruition the level of distrust that’s required to survive this apocalypse. More importantly, Ben and Evan serve as ways to push past the distrust, to force Cassie to go against what she has learned to do to survive, and in so going against what she’s learned, Cassie becomes more capable of accomplishing her goal of saving her brother.
This book isn’t very original. While reading there are strong hints of other young adult book series, TV shows, and movies incorporated. However, the waves was a refreshing notion to an alien invasion and I was still drawn into the story, especially Ben Parish’s voice. I enjoyed Cassie’s character, until she started falling for the mysterious Evan Walker. Then, she seemed to lose herself and the romance between these two characters felt very insta-love. I didn’t believe their love (all those “abs a-clenching, pecs a-popping” got my eyes rolling…yes, what’s in quotes was taken from the novel), which made that section of the book a slow read. In fact, I found the romance between Evan and Cassie creepy. (If the next book introduces a long triangle between Evan, Ben, and Cassie, I hope Cassie chooses Ben because he’s a much better fit for her and he’s a more developed character than Evan.)
The story could have done without the romance. I don’t know about you, but I’m not a huge fan of chocolate smelling breath (which is how Cassie describes Evan’s breath), of guys stalking girls as a form of courting (but it seems to be really popular among young adult novels), of guys being possessive to the point where I think they’d actually tie their love interest to a chair to keep her from leaving (which is an aspect often seen in young adult novels), or of blatant stereotypes, such as when Cassie thinks, “Time for the angrily-storming-out-of-the-room part of the argument, while the guy folds his arms over his manly chest and pouts” (I know multiple guys who storm out of the room when they get mad and many girls who would rather argue than leave the room. I also know people who would take a breath and then calmly discuss the issue. My point is don’t stereotype).
I was left with a lot of questions in terms of logical reasoning behind the plot, such as training children – some as young as five years old – to be soldiers while killing off the adults. (I won’t go into further detail on this because I don’t want to give anything away.) I pushed aside these questions and continued to enjoy the novel for what it was: a young adult book written for teenagers, and I reminded myself that there are numerous books on the market that contain plot holes, but were nonetheless enjoyable (like Divergent).
A lot of hype surrounded this novel. I understand where some of the excitement stems from, but I guessed the big reveals early on (partly because of the vast number of hints provided in the text; sometimes I felt that the hints were so strong I was getting bashed over the head with them). From reading other reviews, many people didn’t get what was really going on. If I hadn’t figured out the truth, the psychological aspect of this book would have been much stronger.
Either readers loved or hated this novel. Very few people had a meh response. For me, I’m glad I read this book. Give it a try.