Review: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Genre: dystopian, science fiction, thriller Age Level: young adult Series: The 5th Wave #1
Genre: dystopian, science fiction, thriller
Age Level: young adult
Series: The 5th Wave #1

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, just 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. 


The 5th Wave is all kinds of awesome. It is a book that messes with your head as well as your heart and leaves you thinking about it long after the last page. It is gripping and touching, gritty and thought-provoking.

I’ve always been interested in aliens, and who isn’t? It’s scary to imagine contact with other another species, especially one that might be hostile. There are a million theories about what will happen and how advanced they’ll be and what they’ll want. But, I think that if there are aliens out there, Rick Yancey’s vision may not be so far from the truth. Everything is logical and explained, which makes it all the more scary.

The mood of the book is dark and fearful. The characters can trust no one and know that the chances of them surviving the night are slim. These emotions are portrayed so well, you experience what the characters go through while reading. It elevates the book from being any other dystopian to a story that is real and tangible. It’s not just a story about an alien attack, it’s a first-hand account. It’s about the fine line between trust and betrayal, about what it means to survive and live another day – physically and mentally.

The plot is brilliant. Perfectly paced and really smart. It alternates between suspense, action and character development.  You never know what’s going to happen next and are continually blown away by each new development. It gets inside your head in a paranoia inducing way. The scenes without action were in some ways scarier than the scenes with action because you know somethings about to happen at any moment. When the action scenes did come they were awesome and thrilling. Reading the 5th Wave is a little like watching a lion chase it’s prey. You want to look and you don’t. You want to keep reading because you are hooked but don’t because you’re afraid something bad will happen to a character you like.

I loved all of the characters because they are so multi-dimensional and strong. All kinds of relationships are explored in the story: friendships, romances, families and partnerships. The alternating POV’s enhanced the story and helped to paint the bigger picture. Instead of just learning about the experiences of one character, you get to see how different people coped with the disaster. The only thing about the book that bothered me was that in a world were so many people have died, it seemed a little fortuitous that certain characters survive. But, there wouldn’t be a story otherwise so I can’t complain.

Highly recommended.

Other books by Rick Yancey:

The Monstrumologist – The Monstrumologist #1

The Curse of the Wendigo – The Monstrumologist #2

The Isle of Blood – The Monstrumologist #3

The Final Descent – The Monstrumologist #4

Have you read this book? What did you think? I’d love to hear from you!


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