Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey

Title: The Fifth Wave
Author: Rick Yancey
Published: May 7, 2013
Publisher: Penguin
Genre: YA Science-Fiction / Dystopian
Source: The Book Depository

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. 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, until Cassie meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan may be her only hope for rescuing her brother and even saving herself. Now she must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up. Cassie Sullivan gets up.

Ahh.. The Fifth Wave.
I think I can safely say this wasn't in any way, shape or form, the story I had been expecting since buying the book. And to be honest, I don't mean that in the best way. An alien invasion, striking Earth in multiple waves, metaphorical waves might I add, and driving the human race to near-extinction. Just how, exactly, do you interpret that synopsis?

There were a lot of aspects I really disliked, frustrated to the point where I had to put the book down and take a breather, and just as many parts I really enjoyed, which kept me trudging through the tough times. [Am I an alliteration God or what?]

I guess I'll start with the parts I liked, so I sound so negative haha. I absolutely loved the dark, almost eerie ambiance of the book. I started reading, with the typical YA cliche optimistic mind-set even though I knew the story's premise was an alien invasion. It was a pleasant surprise, as you can guess, really unique in contrast to the feel of almost every other YA book I've read, and I really enjoyed that.

The characters. Oh man, the characters. Another part of the book I found myself really enjoying, and surprisingly so. Granted, I liked some way more than others, and even at that, there were aspects of every character's personality I didn't exactly love, but that just made it more realistic. I loved how every character was distinctly different, and felt real, true to their personalities when you take into account what's going around them.
There was, however, a particular character I could honestly say I hated, which kinda segues into what I didn't like about the book.

Reznik. Ah the dickhead. Remember my saying I got so frustrated I sometimes had to put the book down? Yeah, it's predominately because of this guy. For a huge chunk of the book, I saw him as this unnecessarily, unjustifiably cruel character, and that seriously affected my reading experience throughout the rest of the book. Usually when there's an antagonist, I see their motives or possible motives for being so harsh, which even leads me to liking their character a lot more than I should because they're so complex and interesting. But in Reznik's case, I just saw a big slab of mean! To the book's defense, this is sort of resolved nearer the end, but that's just the point, I can't put myself through painfully slow, seemingly meaningless chapters in which your villain acts like the devil incarnate himself, without reason, and then see he wasn't all that bad. Even when it was resolved, it kinda felt like a cop-out because, and I'll try not to spoil the story, he had to do it.

The most disappointing part of the book, in my opinion, was how slow the first half was. Don't get me wrong, I know in books like this the world development and such is necessary in the first hundred pages or so, but there were times I actually and genuinely questioned why sentences were put in. I suppose it's Yancey's writing style, and how it didn't sit too well with me, but I honestly felt like some parts were unnecessarily descriptive and a tad too vague. The beginning of each part, for example, you know, when you come across those blacked out pages and you switch points of view? I felt like Yancey took too much time describing and talking about things the reader knew nothing about, and too little time establishing just who was actually narrating, and as a result it took me a few pages to get back into the story.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that the writing didn't flow as well as I was expecting.

But yeah, that's what I thought about the book, or most of what I thought anyway. It was a pretty good read, especially as it neared the end, but the storytelling was really weak in places.

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