Keppel’s Korner Reads: “The 5th Wave”

The cover art of  "The 5th Wave." Courtesy of Rick Yancey.
The cover art of “The 5th Wave.” Courtesy of Rick Yancey.

The 5th Wave is the first book in a trilogy by Rick Yancey about humanity on the brink of destruction by alien forces, and a single girl’s quest to stop them.

The novel opens with a human survivor named Cassie, who recalls surviving the first four “waves,” caused by aliens, called “The Others.” (No, they’re not the White Walkers from A Game Of Thrones, although I admit I think that’d be kind of cool). Each wave is a cataclysmic event designed to systematically weaken humanity, until they are gone from the face of the planet. The First Wave: a global power outage. Everything, from homes to airplanes, are rendered powerless. The Second Wave is a series of massive tidal waves caused by The Others by dropping enormous rods onto the Earth’s fault lines, wiping out almost half of Earth’s population. (That’s about three billion people, folks). The Third Wave is a deadly virus that kills off nearly all of Earth’s remaining survivors, while the Fourth Wave is the revelation that some “human” survivors are actually aliens working to systematically eliminate the few survivors that are left. Cassie now stands at the dawn of the Fifth Wave, with two goals in mind: rescue her brother from the aliens, and destroy them in the process.

I have seriously mixed feelings about this one. In the first half I was flying through it, devouring all the information about humanity’s demise and the grand finale of the Fourth Wave. I thoroughly enjoyed Cassie’s story about her family’s fight to stay alive, and her realization of what the Fourth Wave really was. And then something happened. Maybe it’s because I accidentally left the book in my locker over spring break. Whatever the case, after the first half it got really…boring. Almost half of the second half features Cassie lying in some dude’s spare bedroom, a guy she doesn’t even know. Later on, when it’s revealed what The Others are, and what the Fifth Wave is, it feels anticlimactic. Like going all the way to the top of a roller coaster, and then it getting jammed right before you start the plunge. I honestly expected the big reveal to have more of a dramatic flair to it, a big “this is what the aliens are and what the Fifth Wave is, you’re all doomed” sort of thing. Instead it was more like “yeah, this is what The Others are. That’s what the Fifth Wave is. What do the aliens want? Stay tuned for the second novel.”

Nonetheless, it was still a decent read. For all you sci-fi lovers out there, give this book a shot. Maybe you’ll like it more than I did.


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