Book Review: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Yancey is in line with some of the better YA dystopian trilogies.

The pace keeps you interested, the plot and the characters keep you engaged.

the5thwave
The 5th wave

For a YA novel, it gets kind of wordy. Many times during the middle of the book I kept wondering if I was reading YA or if I was reading something from a MFA grad who wanted to look smart. I say this lightheartedly as overall I enjoyed the book. But I did wonder if he couldn’t have shrunk it down a bit. And I don’t usually say that.

The concept of the Other is a personal favorite of mine. Yancey plays with the alien invasion theme in a way that is very Matheson-esque. The reimagined alien theme works brilliantly. And the best part is, he doesn’t give you big scary aliens to make the read worth trudging through, nor does he suggest that people were being saved by the aliens or that the aliens wanted to enslave humans…Actually he makes it a clear point to mention throughout the book that these aliens are so NOT what anyone ever imaged them to be.

That said, he does have a point to make. And the point is drilled home before you even read the opening line. There’s a quote about what Europeans did to indigenous peoples in the Americas. For those of you rolling your eyes, stop it. He doesn’t beat you over the head with the whole “look what we did to the Indians” though I kind of wish he would have. The average reader will miss this point completely. The point of the story was to point out that humans are dicks and just because you won and just because you were a conscientious objector doesn’t mean you get a free pass. You still killed 7 billion humans.

The other concern I have is that…bit of a spoiler here so stop reading if you don’t want to know…the way the female protagonist saves humanity? “Love”

Seriously? You give me a great, strong, female protagonist that isn’t as dimwitted as Katniss and THAT’S your conclusion? The only possibility in a Girl = Savior is “Love conquers?”

That ONE line nearly ripped me out of the book and made me throw it.

OK. I’m done. Negative gone. In all, it’s a great read. It’s inventive (which is so rare, even in this dystopia genre that claims to always be inventing things…it doesn’t). It skirts really good social ideas that the U.S. seems unwilling to consider. And the main character, Cassie, is strong, active, not needing of a man to love or save her. Though there is some of that…she doesn’t NEED it. It’s just human nature, and it’s played that way here too.

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