Review: The 5th Wave

Author: Rick Yancey
Date of Publication: May 7 2013
Pages: 480
Source: Library

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.


I knew I would enjoy The 5th Wave. I didn't know what to expect, but it was a foregone conclusion that I would like it. Sometimes, you can just tell, and maybe that sounds weird to some people but I do have a sort of intuition for some books where I know I'll like them. The 5th Wave was a book I had been coveting since the first time I saw the cover and read the synopsis, and so it shouldn't surprise anyone that it was a really good story.

The premise slays.

It's killer awesome with so much potential to be one of those really epic stories with loads of action and depth. There is definitely a thoughtful aspect to The 5th Wave, and what I like is that the story is crafted well. It seems like it's a confident story because it's long with many ambitious components that have worked out.

The beginning is quite slow, with some info dumping, and it works in this format. I've always said that I'm okay with information being given through flashbacks if that means the story can begin in the thick of the plot, and that's what The 5th Wave does. It meanders along, explaining what happened to the world and building an emotional connection to Cassie, our main character. This is actually quite a chunk of the novel, the part where nothing really happens except what previously occurred is being explained, and it's slow, I know, but I found it interesting all the same.

The first part is a realistic depiction of the apocalypse. I loved seeing the details like how the government and society reacted, and what different individuals thought of the random space ship that appeared above the Earth. I also enjoyed getting to know Cassie, who by the end of The 5th Wave grows quite a bit from what she was like before. She's a very sassy character but she has a conscience and I thought she was rude sometimes, but I also thought she was realistic to me. In the end, I respect her and fully support her.

So many apocalyptic novels end there, with the gloomy memories and vague beginnings of a plot. The 5th Wave however is a much stronger story than most novels, and it decided that it's going to prove how badass it is by ramping it up as you read, so by the end, the actions scenes were so intense that I skipped whole paragraphs as I was reading because I was on such an adrenaline rush. I had to force myself to slow down and reread some parts, focusing on every word, because I was that excited to see what would happen next.

The ending was bittersweet, but more importantly, it was a satisfying end to a satisfying book. The 5th Wave is a complete read because it has a relatively self-contained story, and while there's quite obviously room for more in the overall story arc, lots of stuff happens in this book.

The one struggle with The 5th Wave is that I can't mention a lot of what I usually consider in a review because so much of the The 5th Wave is tension, suspense, and mystery. Where's the fun in knowing everything?

So I guess the most relevant, vague thing I can say is that Rick Yancey is a writer able to inject identifiable personality into his writing, and he is quite good at developing all the typical things one would expect from a book, like character, plot, and some phenomenal world building.

The 5th Wave is ideal for those looking for a gritty, somewhat thoughtful apocalyptic story that will no doubt turn into a fantastic movie, seeing as the book was quite cinematic. I flew by The 5th Wave and it's one story that I would recommend. 4 stars.



  1. Dying to read the next book, to be honest. I hope The Infinite Sea would make up for that ending. ;)

  2. Haha I think I liked the ending! & I'm super excited for The Infinite Sea as well.


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