Thursday, June 30, 2016

Series Review: The 5th Wave

Now that Rick Yancey has completed his trilogy The 5th Wave, and so have I, I wanted to do a quick review of the series as a whole, while also trying not to spoil it for any of you who have not read this series at all yet. (What are you waiting for?)

The 5th Wave
I have booktalked this book to death with the teens (and some adults) at my library. It was gripping, scary, and yet in some way relateable. Cassie Sullivan is a teenage girl struggling to stay alive and save her baby brother in the midst of an alien war. What I loved about this concept was that the aliens were not tentacled green monsters (or anything similar). In fact, they were mostly not present in the book; those that were present looked like regular people, but were emotionless and much more sinister than your average human. I also liked the jumps between character perspectives, which gave me a fuller picture of what was happening in different parts of the world created in this book. We jump between Cassie and some other teen and child characters, learning about their experiences as the "war" progresses.

The Infinite Sea
Continuing our tale where the last book left off (and without giving much away), this book followed much of the same pattern as the previous book, but mixed up who the narrators were. We were able to see into the heads of some of the more secondary characters from the previous story, learning their pre-alien infest backstories and how they got to where they are, as well as catching up with Cassie and the other characters we got to know in the first novel. After the characters have escaped certain death in the first book, they have largely been separated and are trying to survive the harsh conditions on Earth. This second book was very good, but it felt like the "middle," meaning that it was pretty clear we were in some ways just biding time until the last story. Some of this book also took me out of the realm of realism (as much as there can be in an alien infestation story) and into the realm of fantasy, which wasn't super ideal to me. I'm picky like that.

The Last Star
This last book in the series was action-packed. There were so many different fight scenes and near-death experiences over the course of this story. Continuing where we left off in The Infinite Sea, the characters are on the clock before something big and bad happens. (No, I'm not spoiling it!) The fact that there's a clock ticking makes this whole story very intense, keeping you on the edge of your seat and very aware of how much time is left. I wanted the ending to be a little different, but it worked.

Put all together, I really have to commend Rick Yancey for the amazing world-building he created. The books left me constantly questioning what I knew, tricking me along with the characters. There were a lot of ups and downs and quite a bit of blood and death. In that way, the books would make good readalikes for fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent. I also really appreciated the fact that Yancey never let us forget that these were children (characters aged 5-19ish) and how that would impact kids on their own in a treacherous world. The concept reminded me a lot of the zombie stories that have been oh so popular in the last five years or so, especially considering the kids are constantly on the move in abandoned places, foraging for survival. But with more guns.

I very much recommend this series, even if you aren't a fan of alien books. When I grabbed the first book, I didn't realize the premise was alien-based. Honestly, had I known that I probably would not have read the series, and that would have been quite a shame, since I really enjoyed these books. They kept me on the edge of my seat, made me laugh, made me cry, made me have existential crises, etc. So, give it a shot. Also, if you are an audiobook listener, these were excellent on audio. Some of the best I've ever listened to.


PS-I did see the movie out earlier this year and yes, the book was better. The movie was not terrible though.

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