I read this one a couple of months ago, so apologies if my review isn't up to par.
Title: The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave #1)
Author: Rick Yancey
Released: 7th May 2013
Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
When it comes to TV, I'm very selective with my aliens. Star Wars? Not for me. Doctor Who? I'm glued to my seat. But when it comes to books, one mention of aliens and I'd better have that book ASAP. That, coupled with the never-ending stellar reviews, made me eager to get my grabby hands on this as soon as possible. And when I did, I was only able to put it down with great difficulty so that I could converse with my awesome buddy reader, Rebekah from Reflections of a Bookworm (her review here). I say converse, but there might have been some fangirling too.
Humanity is no longer the same. The world is no longer the same. Four waves have come and gone, in which billions of people have been killed. And still no-one knows who's alien and who's not, because the aliens have taken the appearance of humans. They could be your old neighbour. Your old teacher. One rule becomes clear: trust no-one. There's safety in solitude. This is the rule that Cassie lives by, even as she travels across the country in search of her brother Sammy, who she promised she would find when they got separated. It's a rule she doesn't intend to let go of. Until she meets Evan Walker.
The 5th Wave is told to us in multiple POVs; the first time it happened I was a little confused because I wasn't expecting it and there was nothing to tell me that it had changed, but after that I found it easy to keep up with whose perspective was happening when. These I thought worked really well, and the flashbacks, too. The only thing I would say about the flashbacks, and I'm not even sure if this is actually a complaint, was that they could be quite long; I remember one in particular where I was reading through the flashback and then it switched back to the present day, leaving me slightly startled because I'd completely forgotten that what I'd been reading had been in the past. But overall the writing style was stunning. Without a doubt the perspectives I enjoyed the most were those of Cassie and Sammy. Cassie was an incredibly tough protagonist, and I loved the humour she brought in. Admittedly her behaviour when she met Evan was somewhat questionable, but really that was a small thing amongst a number of strong points. As for Sammy, he was just adorable, and I loved that he and his big sister had such a close relationship. That's not to say I didn't enjoy the other perspectives; each one was really enjoyable to read, including Evan's.
As for the plot and the world, well...it was amazing. The concept of the waves was really intriguing, and actually presented in a realistic manner. Such amazingly detailed world-building made this book dark and gritty, and I also appreciated Yancey's exploration of the impact the invasion had on humanity, the questions and the fear that it brought. Hope is extinguished in this world, because hope can get you killed; so can trust. And how long can you live without trusting anyone? What does it mean for the human race that they were never alone, and that they're now fighting for survival on their own planet? Will any of them make it out alive? How important are people really, in the grand scheme of things? How big? It is abundantly clear that the author has thought everything through and knows exactly where he wants his story, and his characters, to go. Certainly he ended this first instalment not on a cliffhanger, but with enough to leave us crying out for more.
The 5th Wave, then, is simply mind-blowing. As with all books that are surrounded by hype, I found myself slightly wary on starting it, but this truly is deserving of all the praise out there. I was immediately engrossed by the world presented to me, and I enjoyed each point of view as it came. This is definitely one I'll be coming back to.