Friday, January 29, 2016

Review: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey - Book & Movie Review

Title: The 5th Wave
Author: Rick Yancey
Series: The 5th Wave, Book One
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: 7 May 2013
Buy: Amazon | The Book Depository | Dymocks Australia

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.
(summary from Goodreads)

The 5th Wave suffers from an unlikeable main character and insta-love at the wrong time.

The truth is, this book would have been marked DNF if it hadn't have been a book club pick that I had to read. I got about half way through before tossing it aside for 3 weeks and then forcing myself to finish it. I really couldn't get past how much I disliked Cassie and her attitude. It was one long exercise in whining and cruelty. Where I should've been feeling for her situation, for the hardships and losses she'd faced, I was instead just annoyed and bored. And that was before she was injured and seemingly saved by Evan Walker. This is what truly lost me. The world is effectively ending, your little brother has been kidnapped by freaking aliens, but hey, just go ahead and spend weeks either making out with Evan or despairing over whether you can actually trust him, Cassie. Urgh. You can't see me, but I'm throwing my hands up in disgust. And yes, Cassie is healing, but come on. I would've much rather read about her pushing herself to get better - that kind of desperation is what I expected from The 5th Wave

After almost the first half of the book from Cassie's point of view, the rest alternates between her and Ben, with a little Evan and Sammy thrown in here and there. I didn't much care for Ben any more that I did Cassie, but I appreciated the shift away from the romance drama. Ben's narration at least gives us an insider's point of view to the whole aliens taking over the world thing. The army, their supposed plans, and the battles that follow were the best thing about The 5th Wave. This book should have been a lot more of this! Yancey's created a world that is life and death, high action and intensity - at times. If the focus of the story had have been this, I would have liked the book more. Evan's narration had potential to be so much more too, considering a certain revelation, but nope. The only character I can say with conviction that I liked, was Sammy. I don't think that's saying much though. I was intrigued by Ringer too, it seems she'd have quite the story, and I hear she has point of view chapters in Infinite Sea, which might be interesting. I was also intrigued by the many references to the voice in Cassie's head...I wonder, I wonder. But truthfully? Nothing is interesting enough to make me continue reading this series.


Title: The 5th Wave
Starring: Chloe Grace Moretz, Nick Robinson, Alex Roe, Liev Schreiber, Maria Bello, Ron Livingston, Maggie Siff, Zachary Arthur, Maika Monroe
Director: J Blakeson
Writers: Rick Yancey (author), Susannah Grant (screenplay), Akiva Goldsman (screenplay) & Jeff Pinkner (screenplay)
Released: 14 January 2016
Website: The 5th Wave Movie

Four waves of increasingly deadly alien attacks have left most of Earth decimated. Cassie is on the run, desperately trying to save her younger brother. (summary from IMDb)

You're probably wondering why I would see the movie when I hated the book. Blame my mother. She really wanted to see it and had no one else to go with. Plus, I did wonder if there was a chance I'd like The 5th Wave movie without being in Cassie's head, as it were. The answer is yes, at least in that regard. I liked movie-Cassie better. A lot of her exposition is obviously cut, and so the attitude that so detached me from the book is practically nonexistent. The romance drama is cut a bit too, yay! It's still practically insta-love, but rather than making out, she limps off to save Sammy. Double yay! Not that there isn't some making out, Evan fans. Don't fret. The movie stayed mostly true to the book. There weren't any severe, plot altering changes, at least. There is a lot cut, I guess, to keep it from being too long. I have mixed feelings about that. On the one hand, having it drawn out probably wouldn't have worked, but as it is, it felt too rushed. It lacked plausibility and didn't feel genuine. The build up was missing. The biggest change is that the movie makers decided to hold off on the reveal of who the Others are. I guess to up the tension? It could have worked, if the reveal when it came was more climactic, but it's pretty meh. The world isn't really expanded on even in the movie, more's the pity. I found Ringer to be a lot less intriguing too, boo. The acting wasn't particularly notable either. Moretz does a lot of panting and widening her eyes to look stunned; Roe looks nice, to be sure; and Robinson lives up to Ben's moniker, Zombie. Schreiber is pretty great, in that he's what he always is. I think he could be worth watching future movies, depending I suppose on what happens with his character, Vosch. I was all for the gender swap of Reznik and was really looking forward to Bello playing the part. But unfortunately movie-Reznik is not book-Reznik - instead she's Dr. Pam from the book, pretty much, and it was incredibly disappointing.

If you're a fan of the book, I'm sure you'll enjoy the movie. If like me you're not a fan of the book, don't rush to see The 5th Wave. And if you haven't read the book? Well, I'm still a firm supporter of reading the book, but I'd say you're probably likely to enjoy it too. It's not fantastic. It's a see it once and be done with it kind of movie. That's how my mother, who hasn't read the book, felt about it, if you're interested.



  1. I agree with you completely. Perfectly written review! I haven't read the book, but from the movies it did not wow-ed me enough to pick up the book. I was actually annoyed at how rushed the whole movie felt. I practically guessed who the "others" were from the start of the movie, it was that predictable. A little bit more of foreshadowing would definitely work. However, I do appreciate Evan Walkers, he is just so hot! The movie was a one time thing, but I won't be rushing off to read the series either.

    1. Thank you, Natasha, I appreciate it! :-D I was wondering if it was easy to guess who the Others were - I thought so, but having read the book I felt I couldn't judge. And I'd spoiled my mother, so I couldn't there either. ;-) It definitely needed a more build up in tension, right? And I'm with you about Evan. The lake scene certainly was lovely, haha! I certainly have no plans to read the rest of the series, but I'll probably be stuck watching the rest of the films! ;-)