“The 5th Wave” by Rick Yancey
3 1/2 out of 5 stars.
“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.”
Last week I went to the theater with my sisters to see “The 5th Wave,” and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I ended up liking it. I had not read the book before seeing the movie, so I was kind of a blank slate going into the film; I knew a fair amount about the plot and characters from hearing my sister talk about “The 5th Wave,” but I did not have any expectations going into the movie since I did not yet have an attachment to the story. I ended up having a lot of fun watching the movie, and I am happy that I went into the film adaption of “The 5th Wave” without having read the book because that allowed me to just go along for the ride, instead of picking out the things that did not match up with the book. But after coming out of “The 5th Wave” movie, having fallen in love with Evan Walker and enjoying the character of Cassie, I knew I had to read Rick Yancey’s book!
While reading “The 5th Wave,” I was really grateful that I had seen the movie before I picked the book up, because having the visual details and the seeing the interactions between the characters on screen really helped me to envision everything that happened this book. Rick Yancey, for me, had an almost distancing style of writing that was kind of jarring at first, and he was not very descriptive during key moments in this book when I really wanted to see and feel what was happening. Most of the authors I love write stories that feel more consuming and immersive, but despite not having that quality of making me feel as involved in the story as I wanted to be, Rick Yancey’s book was surprisingly addictive; it doesn’t usually happen for me that way, yet “The 5th Wave” somehow made me feel a tiny bit withdrawn, but also like I couldn’t put it down. This book was glued to my hands for an entire evening, and I almost finished it before I had to go to bed, which I have not done in a long time!
I think one of the things that I liked about “The 5th Wave,” besides Evan Walker, was that it reminded me of “The Host” by Stephanie Meyer and an old show from the 1990s called “Roswell.” Science fiction and aliens were my two favorite things in books for quite a few years, and it wasn’t until just a little bit ago that I started to branch out beyond the science fiction genre. It was enjoyable to see those old themes that I used to love so much in “The 5th Wave,” and I thought that Rick Yancey did a very good job writing alien and dystopian dynamics, while still making them feel fresh and ready for a new generation of readers. Although I appreciated the elements he used to build his plot line, I was not the hugest fan of Rick Yancey’s writing style.
Rick Yancey had a kind of jarring, and at times, disjointed writing style that made me feel a little withdrawn from the story and its characters. It took me until about the halfway point in “The 5th Wave” to get used to his style, and once I did, I had a lot more fun reading it. Despite getting used to this book’s writing style and enjoying its addictive quality, I still struggled to care for some of the characters because of how distant I felt from them.
Cassie had a very intense and slightly grating perspective to read from, but honestly, I could not blame her too much for being that way because of everything she had been through. Cassie was a survivor and I admired that about her, but the way Rick chose to write her reactions and thoughts towards different situations and people in “The 5th Wave” made for a more aggressive and cold perspective to read from, which did not always make for the most enjoyable or compelling voice to read from. I think one of the reasons why I liked the movie version of this book so much was that Chloë Grace Moretz portrayed a more pleasant version of Cassie, and watching Chloë display all of the traits of Cassie’s character made me understand and feel more compassionate towards her and the loss she had endured, and I really appreciated that. I did admire, regardless of the movie, how much of a survivor Cassie was, and how determined she was to find and save her brother. I found the journey she went on to find her brother to be really interesting and it kept me reading, despite the fact that I was not the hugest Cassie fan, and once Evan Walker came in, I felt like “The 5th Wave” got WAY more interesting and dynamic.
Yeah, I might be a little bit in love with Evan Walker’s character.
Every time Evan was present, it felt like the writing in this book got better and its story line became more interesting. Part of that’s me just caring for Evan a lot more than the other characters in “The 5th Wave,” but I also think that something clicked in this book when Evan showed up and started helping Cassie; it just felt like he made this whole book feel like it was more, and he truly added SO much to this story. Cassie had a pretty harsh/intense perspective to read from, but when Evan showed up, his sweetness, his kindness, even his loneliness, made this book have so much more depth, and his presence also provided an opportunity for Cassie to show more than anger towards the life she had because of the Others’ coming. I was truly moved by Evan as a character, and my shipper heart just loved/loves this character SO much!
“The 5th Wave” was an interesting and fast paced book, but when Evan Walker was present, it became a more dynamic and engrossing read. Evan was such an amazing and interesting character in this book, and I also really loved what they did in the movie with his character, and the actor who played Evan did a great job making all of his qualities come across on the big screen. I think the only thing that was disappointing about “The 5th Wave” movie concerning this character was that they skipped a few really great scenes that were in the book, and I wish that they had been in the film. I would have gladly sat through another twenty minutes of “The 5th Wave” just to get some extra time with Evan! I think the only problem with Evan Walker being such an amazing character was that I desperately wanted for the rest of the book to just be about Evan and Cassie as they searched for her brother, and that made the perspective changes a little disappointing.
Zombie, or Ben Parish, was not necessarily a bad character, but I just read through his sections of “The 5th Wave” in order to get to Evan and Cassie, which is not a good mindset to be in when you’re supposed to get to know a character. Even while watching the movie, I was anxious to get back to Cassie and Evan, despite the fact that the actor who played Zombie did a great job, and that feeling of wanting to move through his scenes faster definitely did not change for me while reading this book. Zombie might have had an even rougher perspective to read from because of his being in such a harsh environment, and he was also quite bitter and vengeful due to everything that he had been through. All of that was understandable, but his were not my favorite sections of this book. There were a few interesting moments during Zombie’s parts of “The 5th Wave” that built the plot a bit more, but even then, all I really wanted from this book was for it to just shift back to Cassie and Evan.
Overall, I thought that “The 5th Wave” was a very fast paced and addictive read, despite the fact that I was not the hugest fan of Rick’s writing style. It was very enjoyable to read an alien science fiction book, and it had a pretty interesting plot that was well thought out, whether it be in book or movie form. What really kept me reading, though, was Evan and his interactions with Cassie, and I thought that those sections of “The 5th Wave” made this book come together and become a more likable story. Honestly, I would have been happy for this book to be another hundred pages or the movie twenty or thirty minutes longer just to get more time with Evan!
The book or the movie?
I definitely feel like the movie was a 4 1/2 to 5 star movie for me because, although it wasn’t a perfectly done film, I had so much fun watching it, and I fell in love with the actors’ portrayals of the characters. I also felt like the movie did a great job of drawing real emotion from me during some of the really key moments in it, and I liked that a lot about the film because the book never made me feel emotionally invested unless Evan was involved. Personally, I think that “The 5th Wave” was more of a 3 1/2 out of 5 star book for me due to the slightly jarring and disjointed style of writing and how overbearing some of the characters were at times, and it was actually the dynamic between Evan and Cassie that kept me reading it. It’s an odd and unexpected choice for me, but I ended up liking the movie more than the book this time, despite the fact that it was missing a few great scenes between Evan and Cassie.