Last week’s Book of the Week was Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, a book that left me feeling like I could never recover. It was an absolutely beautiful book, order and I just didn’t know how to keep moving on past that.
But books are my life, and I read fast, and of course, I keep reading. I’ve read about six books since then. But none of them were really fitting for the Book of the Week. Some of them were textbooks, even, but hey, I count those for my reading goal. I read them, they’re books, they count.
Anyway, I was reading today, in between class and homework, and I just finished this week’s (belated) Book of the Week not even twenty minutes ago, as I’m writing this.
And I feel like I’m in the same position I was in last week, while writing the review for Fangirl. I’m floored right now. I honestly don’t know what book to read next on my ever-growing pile of books because I’m afraid I’m going to be stuck inside the world of this book for a long time. So with that, I now present to you:
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
young adult, science fiction
Part of a Series?:
Yes. It is the first novel of a planned trilogy. The title of the second novel was recently revealed to be: The Infinite Sea
You May Like if You Liked:
James Dashner’s Maze Runner trilogy, Marie Lu’s Legend trilogy
This is a new feature on the Book of the Week. As most of the reviews I do are YA, and YA is starting to break apart into YA and NA, and that sort of thing, I will be recommending an appropriate age for the books. Keep in mind this is MY personal recommendation and it varies on the maturity of the reader.
13+: Violence, Death, etc.
The Others have come. We’ve made movies, we’ve written books, we’ve talked about aliens coming to our world for so long, but now they are here, and it is not what we expected.
The first wave is complete darkness.
The second wave is a knock out, earthquakes, tsunamis, taking out country after country.
The third wave is the plague, the disease that wipes out 90% of the surviving population.
The fourth wave is The Silencers, the aliens that come down and hunt the remaining humans.
Cassie is trying to survive. She lost her mom to the third wave, her father to the fourth wave. Her brother was taken, and she made him a promise to come and find him, and she will do anything to not break that promise. She can’t trust anyone, though she feels like she’s the last human on earth.
Until she meets Evan Walker. Evan Walker, who saves her life, and takes care of her. Evan Walker who is gentle and affectionate and, yes, good looking. Evan Walker, who is absolutely determined to help her. But Cassie can’t trust anyone, and who knows what more is coming…
The book is multiple points of view. Mostly you get Cassie, but you also get Evan, Cassie’s little brother Sammy, and another character by the name of Ben. I really liked this about the story. I did. I think you are able to get multiple perspectives to the story this way, to see people draw conclusions about the same thing in different ways. Its brilliant. So you’re wondering what my beef is then, right?
There’s no distinguishing between the characters at first. There are different “parts” but that doesn’t necessarily mean a different point of view from the previous and it also sometimes takes a few paragraphs to realize who is narrating and then you kind of have to go back and reread the paragraph, knowing who the character is. I may have been the only person in the world that had this issue but it wasn’t a huge, back-breaking issue. It was more, like, okay, not one hundred percent sure whose head we are in right now…And with a science fiction novel, you’re already trying to keep up with this complicated world that the author has built anyway, so its more brain work to try and figure out who is speaking before its blatantly obvious and its not always apparent at first.
There is so much good that I don’t know where to start.
Rick Yancey is brilliant. I just discovered tonight, while perusing GoodReads and his website to do this post that this is NOT his first novel, and now I’m dying to check out his other novels, because this novel literally blew me away. I’m floored. Dumbstruck. Paralyzed. Unable to move on to another fictional world because I am so stuck into this. Sometimes it takes me a bit of time to recover from a novel, but I’m a power reader. I have a blog to run, I have to move on. I am also trying to read 200 books this year, so that’s difficult too. But now I look at my ridiculous pile of books to read, and I can’t even decide what to read next.
I’m big on world building. If you’re going to write a novel that is fantasy or dystopian or science fiction, you better build your world well, because then everything else tends to fall into place. Sometimes, you can have the greatest story and some kickass characters but if the world isn’t built well, I just don’t buy into it. So with a science fiction like this, where aliens are finally coming to earth, it has to sell me. I have to believe it. And I do. Its OUR world, its the world we know, but transformed and its so easy to buy into the new technology that the aliens bring, its easy to buy into the horrifying things that they do. Its really easy to buy into the world that Rick Yancey has created. He makes everything subtle and yet huge at the same time so you feel the familiarity of our world, but you also feel the incredible impact that this arrival has brought to it. It also felt so incredibly real that sometimes you almost have to remind yourself that you’re in a book, not real life, and sometimes you do wonder if its possible. It doesn’t feel like science fiction, it feels REAL. That’s how perfectly Rick Yancey builds this world.
I mentioned the character points of view earlier in the “bad” section. I only disliked the fact that I would be confused on who exactly was speaking at the moment. I actually really loved the multiple points of view. Granted we only get a couple of them once or twice, and we mostly focus on the points of view of two characters but I love that because it really connects you closer with the characters. I love Rick Yancey’s characters. Again, with the realism. They aren’t perfect, you know? They’re teenagers, survivors in this ridiculous world, and they are strong, there is no denying that but they aren’t perfect and I love that. They work hard, they make mistakes, they are constantly, always fighting for their lives. Its hard work and nothing comes with ease. I love being inside their heads because the different characters like Cassie or Evan or Ben or Sammy are all so different and they’re seeing things differently and you get to see that along with them. I love that one character will discover something way before another character, and you kind of watch as two scenarios in two different places head toward a collision and seeing both of those points of views, with the others unaware of it, is exciting.
Which brings me to the story itself. This is a long book. It is not a short book that you can tell yourself you’ll read in one day, unless you’re like me and you read ridiculously fast. Its 457 pages and its a not a small 457 pages. This is a huge book, and with long books, you better have a good story or people are going to give up.
This is so completely untrue of this novel. This story is gripping from the very first moment you begin in to the very last page, when you flip it back and forth, wondering, if you somehow missed something because there is NO way that is the end of the book. (Boy, was I relieved when a simple Google search ensured me that there are more books to come…) This story is gripping, its full of action but even when there isn’t action going on, the tension is so tight, and its so palpable and it leaves you clutching the pages with excitement. The multiple points of view gives you so many different perspectives on what is going on, and yet, you still have NO idea what is going on. Its a mystery piled up on top of ten other mysteries, which are buried amongst a bunch of other mysteries and questions. The book is full of questions and as soon as you think you have one answered, another one pops into its place. Sometimes I would pause for a moment, to sort of see how many pages I had left, and I would think, “there are so many more pages, there is still so much more that could happen to these characters.”
I literally could go on and on and on about this but I won’t. I’ll leave you with this: this book is amazing. Its an outstanding example of what a young adult science fiction book should be. Well, its an outstanding example of what any science fiction book should be. It has the mystery and the tension and the excitement and the action and it throws in the little bit of romance, and its perfect. Its a shining example of what young adult literature can be, and as I continue my fight for the acceptance of YA, I will definitely use this as an example. Its a fantastically written novel with a compelling storyline, addicting characters and it’ll leave you absolutely breathless.
5 out of 5 Stars
Recommended or Not?:
YES! Stop reading my blog NOW, and go find this book. Go to your bookstore, order it online, download it onto that ereader, just do it NOW. You won’t regret it in the slightest. I regret leaving it in my book pile for as long as I did. Its worth the money, the time and the crazy emotional ride. Go. Now.
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I hope you all enjoyed this week’s edition of the Book of the Week!
If you haven’t already dashed off to go read The 5th Wave (which you should have), check out some of the previous Book of the Week reviews here.