Review - The 5th Wave - Rick Yancey

The 5th Wave (The Fifth Wave, #1)Title: The 5th Wave
Series: The 5th Wave #1
Author: Rick Yancey
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Apocalyptic
Publication: May 7th 2013, Putnam Juvenile
Pages: 480 Pages, Paperback
Source: Thank you to Penguin Books SA for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review! 
Rating: 5/5 Cupcakes!
After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.
Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker.
Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.
The 5th Wave has taken residency on my shelf for over a year now and I'm not sure why I didn't read it sooner as I thoroughly enjoyed it! It was the perfect combination of a dystopian world, extra-terrestrial creatures, sassy characters and unexpected plot twists that made me love this book! I'm ecstatic to read the sequel to this heart-pounding novel!

The 5th Wave begins with our main character, Cassie Sullivan, telling us about the Others. The aliens who came from a planet unknown to dwindle the human population to a manageable number. The destruction comes in waves. The first wave cut electricity and anything that ran on batteries, the second brought tsunamis that obliterated the coast, the third brought Ebola and the fourth brought the Silencers, aliens in human disguise that eliminated the humans of the ability to trust. Cassie is sixteen and she appears to be the last of her kind left on this planet, her family and friends were killed months ago, except for her little brother who was taken away by soldiers to Camp Haven. She now walks the empty roads alone, trying to fulfill the promise she made to her little brother, to rescue him. When Cassie stumbles into a snowbank, struggling to stay alive, she is rescued by the handsome and mysterious Evan Walker and together they set off to save her brother. However, untruths and deception lies around every corner.

As this is an honest review, and I am entitled to my own opinion, I will say that I wasn't immediately gripped by this book and I struggled to read the first twenty pages or so, however, when I hit the part where I started enjoying the book, I really loved it! The book definitely seemed to improve as it went on and by the time I had finished it, I was disappointed that it was over. If you, like me, don't enjoy the first few chapters, KEEP READING. It gets so much better!

I love the idea of this book, I really do. It's refreshing to see a book in the dystopia genre that doesn't consist of a teenage girl trying to overthrow a corrupted government. The alien aspect really intrigued me and as it had sci-fi themes coinciding with dystopia and apocalyptic, it made me love it even more! I haven't read much sci-fi but I would like to, as anything to do with space intrigues me - even if it's fictional. I love apocalyptic books and a lot of books are more dystopia and not apocalyptic, so The 5th Wave had me even more enthralled!

The plot was fantastic, too! I will admit that the beginning was quite confusing and I wasn't completely sure of what had happened in Cassie's world and how the Earth came to be rid of nearly 7 billion people, but I eventually started understanding the events that had happened previously. I do think the author should have structured it so that it would make what happened more understandable for those reading it. However, he could have wrote it in this way to represent the characters' bewildered states, and let the readers feel confused like the characters as we both simultaneously try to solve this paradox. 

There were so many plot twists and so many cliffhangers and astounding revelations that had me astonished! I can't say much or refer to certain characters as it would spoil it, but there will definitely be moments where you'll just stare at the page while your brain tries to comprehend what you just read. I LOVED it.

I loved the characters and after finishing the book, they felt like my best friends. I didn't warm up to Cassie immediately but I eventually did. She was daring and spirited and so sassy! I was laughing several times at the comments she would made. I admired her pluck and how whenever things got worse, she just became more defiant. I additionally admired how determined she was to keep the promise to her brother, even if it meant nearly dying to save him. She was incredibly snarky and a risk-taker but I absolutely loved her audacious personality. Meet Cassie Sullivan, the next Katniss Everdeen.

Evan Walker. I adore him. He was quite a lonely character, yet so kind and brave. Him and Cassie were both in need of repair and it was breath-taking being able to witness them learning to trust and love one another after they had thought that couldn't be possible in this desolate world. There is, however, some mystery surrounding Evan and I wasn't expecting that outcome, but my love for his character hasn't changed. 

I loved reading Ben's story as well and I fell in love with him, too. The change in his character was quite noticeable and I was proud that although they had tried to shape into a hardcore killer, he still looked out for people and tried helping them. His and Nugget's friendship was adorable and I love how gentle and kind he was, as well as brave and witty. 

All the other side characters were fantastic, from Sammy (so adorable!) to Teacup (the fiercest seven year old I've ever become acquainted with) and Ringer, whose story I'm intrigued to hear more of, to all the other minor characters that featured in the story. They were all fleshed out and they all had their own roles to play. I never mistook one character for the other, and that is always important for me when I read a book. They all had their own distinguishing features that made me love them.

The relationships in this book were all written in a genuine, sensitive manner. Cassie and Sammy's sibling relationship was beautiful and I found it heart-breaking when they were split up. I really admired Cassie's determination to save her brother and his unwavering belief in his sister that she would fulfill her promise. Yancey fully captured how innocent a child is and even if they've been through the most deplorable stuff, they still trust people, which is a sharp contrast to the other characters in the book who trust no one,  and sometimes, not even themselves.

The romance in this book was also spot on! I loved Cassie and Evan's relationship and the way he slowly nursed her to health and got her to trust him. You could see Cassie's internal struggle, as for the past few months her first rule had been not to trust anyone and you could understand why. I really adored how much Evan cared for her and how much he trusted Cassie, even though she gave him a lot of reasons not to be liked by him. I could completely feel Cassie's pain and distrust with Evan at one point, but I, like her, believe he is genuine. I'm also intrigued to see if there will be any development between Ben and Ringer, or if there will perhaps be a love triangle between Ben/Evan/Cassie - we'll see!

I really like Rick Yancey's style of writing. There were several quotes that had me musing the meaning of life and promises and trust and surrendering and continuing when you want to give up and other philosophical thoughts. He also writes in a way that makes you feel incredibly empathetic towards the characters. The characters thought processes became my own when we were faced with a certain situation, specifically Cassie. I was constantly in a state of distrust and confusion like the other characters, as we both tried to distinguish lies from reality. It takes quite a skilled writer to make a reader feel that way.

Overall, The 5th Wave was a fantastic read filled to the brim with action, unexpectedness, sass, humor and philosophical thoughts that will induce wondering about the world (and life in general) within the readers. It will explore thoughts that will make us wonder about what makes us human and how easily our humanity can be taken from us if we were indoctrinated to believe lies. It will show how easily it is to turn humans into distrustful, inhumane people and how we thrive on love and trust and hope to get us through difficult situations. While exploring themes such as that, it introduced us to defiant characters that are fantastic role modes as they will fight for what they believe in whilst holding on to their humanity and how they will strive to keep their promises and to stay human in an inhumane world. The 5th Wave was utterly fantastic and I cannot wait to read the sequel!

I give it: 5/5 Cupcakes!