Friday, March 4, 2016

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Thank you, Target! I found this book for 20% off, and since there was a movie about it, I figured, why the heck not? Apparently the movie blew (but that won't stop me from seeing it) but I heard good things about the book.

It's a standard, Young Adult novel about a girl and the end of the world. You're introduced to her, living in the woods with an M16 and a teddy bear, discussing how she can't trust anyone. Since The Others arrived, and the Waves started... she survived on her own. Her thoughts are young, but powerful, and she's realistic. I'm quite sure I would probably think those same exact thoughts, and I'm a heck of a lot older than her. She knows she's being hunted but still tries to go on a fool's errand to save her younger brother.

At first, you think it's just one point of view, but then we're slowly introduced to several characters. I was confused when Ben, or Zombie was introduced, thinking that Cassie somehow contracted the plague, but when I realize who it was, Cassie's high school crush, I wanted to see where it went.

It's rare that I read a book where I continually guess or make assumptions about where the book is going. I usually go for a ride and wherever the author takes me, I'll go. I may complain about the journey afterwards (and maybe even during it) but rarely do I try and guess the entire plot. I actually don't mind spoilers, because even though you find out how things happen, there is still a character's journey and there are still many other discoveries.

However, Yancey did a good job of making me want to guess. When Ben, and then Evan, was introduced, along with other characters, and paths crossing between all of them, I wondered how the novel was going to resolve itself. It's a big honking book, and there were a lot of perspectives. Where was Yancy going with this? How many books are in a series? When are they going to fight?

He made sharp turns, and the end result was a bit how I expected, but only after some sharp turns and false leads. Sometimes with YA novels, when the author makes the artistic choice to write in first person, they want to identify with their teenage audience, and use the same crippling YA, first person language. I understand the reasoning for it, but when it's done badly, it's done really badly (I'm looking at you, Stephanie Meyers). Absolutely Yancey uses limited first person point of view for several young characters... but it's not stifling. He even goes so far to use the same phrases between characters, and instead of wondering how on earth they know those specific phrases that could only manifest after humans formed a post-apocalyptic community(which was not done in the book), you are delighted that you are familiar with those terms, and you root for the teenagers to face The Others and fight.

It was a quick read, a simple concept, and does the right amount of show and tell. You find out a lot about the 5th Wave, and the destruction of Earth, but you have many more questions about the Aliens' arrival, what happened to their own world, and most of all, if you'll ever see Evan again.

I highly recommend reading the book. I hope they didn't butcher the movie too badly.

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