The 5th Wave (The Fifth Wave, #1) by Rick Yancey



First of all, I had a little laugh, looking at how many to people immediately marked The Monstrumologist as to-read, once they finished off with this book. Let me spoil the fun, by saying that book is not like this book. That book was an eye (haha) opening experience, and left me thinking while I laid down to sleep every night. That book was perfection, and this was a little sub-par.

I never expected to give this book less that five-sparkly stars. I mean, come on, it's RICK YANCEY. The Monstrumologist is one of my all-time favourite books and Will Henry remains one of my all-time favourite book characters.

I can see the appeal of this book and I understand why most people LOVE this book, but in my opinion, there are better books out there that offer more intensity, more betrayals and more heartbreak. The two books/series I am talking about is theChaos Walking trilogy and Ender's Game.

First, I would like to talk about what makes the Chaos Walking trilogy a better substitute:

A: It offers superior alternating POVs, switching between male and female. When Patrick Ness ends one of the perspectives, he stops at somewhere that leaves you thinking, and you almost have to put the book down and reflect on life for a good five minutes. I think that occurred a couple of times throughout The 5th Wave, but most of the other times, it stops at a cliffhanger. Cliffhangers are great and they gets your heart pumping, but that is quickly sputtered out by the other POV, which is in its build-up phase. That excitement inflicted by the cliffhanger is sent into hyperpolarization, which is a term used to describe neurons in our brain. It basically means my feelings for this spiked, an now, as I see a new POV is beginning and it is in its build-up phase, I get bored. My feelings about whatever exciting just happened, drops. It drops below even the boredom of the incoming POV. Because I know I have to sit through ~30 pages before I get back to that cliffhanger. Pretend the Resting Membrane potential is me reading, and something exciting happens and action potential occurs, but the disconnection of the POVs puts me in to a screeching halt and drop into hyperpolarization.
This is the exact reason why I steered away from A Game of Thrones. The anticipation dies after George R. R. Martin goes through about 15 other characters (exaggeration) before coming back to the one I was really excited about.

I'm going to put more stuff about a neuron firing under the spoiler tag.


The charge a neuron is usually at is somewhere from -70 miliVolts to -90 mV. In this diagram, it's at -90 mV. When a stimulus is strong enough to generate an action potential (causes the neuron to fire), it spikes all the way up into the positives. Once it peaks, some exchange of ions happens (I'm trying to keep this simple), and the voltage drops down, approaching it's preferred Resting Membrane Potential (of - 90 mV). But to make sure it goes back to -90 mV, it hyperpolarizes and goes pass -90 mV, as a safety insurance. Then it kind of back pedals to go back to -90 mV.

B: The enemy seems more invincible. I know Rick put a lot of effort into making the Others appear powerful and destructive, but I never really felt like that last drop of hope evaporated. I loved how devastated Chaos Walking made me feel, every time something bad happened. (DARN YOU MAYOR PRENTISS!) It's the same way the Joker makes his readers feel. You feel like the Joker is always a step ahead, and no matter how hard the Batman tried, he'll always be behind the curtains, unable to get a full view of the Joker's plans. I really wanted to get frustrated, and have my heart pulled out of my chest, yet it never really happened. 

Now, moving on to why Ender's Game was better written. I admit, I don't really have that much of a problem with this part, as I did with the halting POVs; I just felt like rooting for Ender more. Whatever hardship happens in The 5th Wave, I never really felt sympathetic of them, and they go through a lot of crap. Life is hard for them, yet I never connected with any of the characters. That was my biggest problem. 

Lastly, I want to address Cassie. Every other review seem to raves about her: how tough she is, how she is such a badass, and how much she cares about her little brother (this is good, other two points, not so much). I am a little bit tired for characters being labelled as tough, when all they are is stubborn and sassy (and a little bit whiney). There is too much physical toughness in YA female characters, and while that is great, we can't forget mental toughness. I think being clever and cunning is even better. When someone you don't completely trust tries to help you, I get your hesitation. But, can we not go through the whole "I didn't your help because I am not a damsel in distress" thing? That just shows rudeness and how stubborn you are. Instead, try and act nice, and thankful. If they are trying to play you, play them back. Keep them guessing what your true intent is, and be tough mentally. That is what I want to see in a female character. Someone who is witty, cunning and deceptive. (Another reason why Chaos Walking is the Crème de la crème).

I would like to thank Cersei Lannister, Margaery Tyrell, Diana Ladris 1.0 and Mistress Coyle for being cunning b*tches who played people like puppets. 

I do think this could work as a movie. But the first 80 pages is a lot of exposition and throughout the entire book, here is A LOT of inner monologue. I don't know how they will translate that on-screen. The first 80 pages could have been summed up in a 2-minute intro to the movie. Here is my take on it:

The first 50 pages feels like the intro of a movie where it's just scenery shots with a voice-over of the main character.

The beginning 50 pages would appear in the movie like this. -wide sweeping view of abandoned cities, smoke rising- -female voice-over-

/Hi, My name is Cassie, short for Cassiopeia, and I could very likely be the last human alive on Earth. 

We first spotted them just beyond Mars; their ships massive and not at all like the flying saucers we had imagined. 

We reacted like how you would expect us to react. Some panicked, fearing an alien invasion, while some rejoiced at the possibility of an Earth and Alien alliance. As you can see, the latter was very disappointed.

-shows clips of car crashed, planes falling out of the sky-
The 1st Wave hit and only took out half a million people. It was only an electromagnetic pulse that stopped all of the electronics. Not so bad. The 2nd was far worst. 

-shows clips of the rod falling, people running from the waves, and drowning-
Those mother fuckers knew that an earthquake at the bottom of the ocean had the potential to create a tsunami. So they dropped a metal rod twice as tall as the Empire State Building on a fault line and BAM. 3 billion people drowned. 

-show swarms of birds flying and squawking-
The 3rd Wave was the worst. They turned our own birds on us. 300 million flying shitters crapped out an airborne version of the Ebola virus and there goes 97% of the remaining 4 billion.

They killed 99% of us humans without having to come out of their not-saucer-like ship. They turned nature on us and we had not idea how to defend ourselves.

Unfortunately, I survived all three waves. I will never see my parents again, I will never hug my best friend Lizbeth anymore, and I will never be able to stare at the most perfect boy in the universe, Ben Parish, any longer. Even though he never knew I existed.

Instead, I am now running away from the remaining 1%. Why? Because you never know if it is one of Them. They appear to be normal human beings. Same body proportions, same face, same sadness in their eyes. You would never be able to tell its one of Them until they shoot you between your eyes. 

I haven't seen another human being, or human being look-a-likes in so long that I'm beginning to think I might be the only one alive. If you are reading this, congratulations. You proved me wrong.

-camera switches to an over-the-shoulder shot of a girl writing on in a notebook-


tldr; This book was a subdued lovechild of the intense Chaos Walking trilogy and Ender's Game.