Why I Didn’t Finish the Fifth Wave

5thwaveI was excited about the Fifth Wave. After all, before publication I was primed with marketing materials (first few chapters snagged at a conference), and I eagerly devoured them. I even had the classic, “I wish I had written this” yearning after reading those intro pages. All good signs.

And when I re-read those first chapters after publication, I felt even more confident I would blaze through this book and finish at 2AM, with a guilty, satisfied smile. The beginning of the book was paced decently, the protagonist, Cassie, was sassy and interesting, and the terrifying state of post-apocalyptic Earth fit with what would really happen if ultra-advanced aliens set their sights on our planet. (less E.T. and more Half-Life 2)

Alas.

Let me back up and give the synopsis. The Fifth Wave is about Cassie, one of the last survivors of the first four waves of mysterious alien attacks that have wiped out billions of humans. Humanity is teetering near extinction, but Cassie is determined to survive. She camps in the woods alone, kills, feels guilty, interacts with interesting family members, tries to figure out who is an enemy and who is a friend, etc. The story is told in first-person from her point of view, and I liked that approach. She’s also a book-lover and lugs around some favorite tomes–limited backpack space and alien apocalypse be damned.

The whole first third of the book is tinged with a gritty, desperate air of mass extinction and survival at all costs. Like The Walking Dead, but better.

[some spoilers below ]

The book goes downhill, fast, when the author (Rick Yancey), decides to jump POV to Cassie’s little brother, Sammy. Then he jumps to a mysterious stranger dude, Evan, who saves Cassie and starts a creepy, awkward relationship with her. Then another guy, Ben, who is important to Cassie and is part of the brainwashing military compound.

Basically, once Evan entered the picture and gave Cassie a weird bath, I was done. I just didn’t know I was done for a few more chapters. All the head-switching was difficult to follow, and all the characters but Cassie either annoyed me or creeped me out.

Plus, even though I didn’t read to the end, I could see the plot coming a mile away. Who is mysterious Evan? You’ll figure it out many moons before the author thinks you will. And that’s no fun.

At the very least, forbidden love should feel tingly and dangerous, not creepy and squirmy. So, I ended the book on my own terms. And I feel confident in saying Cassie wouldn’t have chosen this book to tote around in her apocalypse backpack either.

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5 Comments

Filed under Book Review, Uncategorized, Young Adult Fiction

5 responses to “Why I Didn’t Finish the Fifth Wave

  1. Therin Knite

    I also disliked this book. Well, loathed would be a better word. Everyone keeps saying it’s amazing, and I’ve felt like the odd man out for a while. Glad someone agrees with me.

    Thanks for the review.

    • I really wanted to like the book, but it most definitely was a letdown. Have you come across any YA alien books you did like? Always looking for good recommendations…

      • Therin Knite

        Unfortunately, no. Alien invasion isn’t a typical subgenre I read. Not because I specifically don’t like it but because it’s just not something I come across regularly. I picked up The 5th Wave because everyone was raving about it. I read the beginning before I bought it and thought it was going to be amazing…then I started losing it at about the same point you did.

      • A good alien invasion one would be on my wishlist, but I haven’t found any decent YA ones. Maybe it’s just not written about very often? I read the classic Ender’s Game long ago… If you haven’t read it, definitely worth a read.

      • Therin Knite

        Yeah, I’ve dabbled with most of the classic alien invasion tales. It’s not especially common in YA I don’t think.

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