We had vampires, werewolves, fallen angels…Are aliens going to be next big thing? Not that I’m complaining. At all. Don’t zap me, aliens.
Cassie Sullivan finds herself alone, knowing that the Others are everywhere. The First Wave was a blackout. The Second Wave washed away the humans. The Third Wave tore Cassie’s mother from her, leaving only the strongest to survive. The Fourth Wave killed her father and stole her brother.
The Fifth Wave is coming. It is here. It is now. It is in them.
We are the Fifth Wave.
Yancey does an excellent job of draping a cloak of uncertainty and paranoia around his readers. I spent 3/4 of the book subconsciously looking over my shoulder and drowning myself in a sea of panic, doubt and suspicion. Who can you trust? How do I survive? Do the things that make me me even exist anymore?
Can I even be human?
This book deals with issues about humanity in a succinct and powerful manner. Camp Haven reminds me a lot of the death camps in WWII Human beings are forced to turn on each other in an effort to protect themselves from the Others who are trying to wipe their species off the face of the Earth. The Fifth Wave–a terrifying period of time. Stealing humans of their compassion, of their reason, of their capacity to care about others.
Wonderland completely freaked me out. It was so easy for the Others to go into everyone’s memories; to find out what makes them tick, what scares them, what has the power to turn guilt and shame to vengeance and clinical detachment. I sincerely hope that this program is not developed in the real world in the near future!
I also really liked the similarities in both POVs: the either/or conflict, running/facing etc. Despite the vastly different settings that Ben and Cassie are in, they both face the same difficult decisions. Can I trust this person? Do I run away and hide or face what is frightening me? This dichotomy of POVs also heightens the tension because from Cassie’s side of the story, readers know that Vosch is a murderous ass, yet from Ben’s view, Vosch is the one who understands Ben’s torment and gives him a purpose in life.
I really liked Cassie. She has a dry, sarcastic sense of humour that makes her likeable and a totally kick-ass character. Her internal monologue between fighting her instincts and what she wants makes her intriguing because she seems to go into an analytical survival mode. She’s committed to a what-I-have-to-do-to-stay-alive mindset.
I have to admit that hearing the name Evan makes me cringe. Because all I can imagine is football high-school star with wavy blond hair, blue eyes and perfectly white teeth. The perfect dumb jock. I’m sorry, Evan. I know you’re not like that. That being said, we don’t know a lot about Evan. It makes for a very ambiguous character, tying into the tension-wrought atmosphere of this world.
Evan and Cassie’s relationship was not easy to believe in. I still don’t believe in it mostly because it was altogether too cheesy for me. I’m dumbfounded at how easily she fell in love with him after all of the time she spent knowing about the rules of survival. How could she just launch those rules out of the window as soon as she smelled his chocolate breath? What? Is it because she hasn’t been near a boy in a couple of days? It just doesn’t fit.
Ben is a surprise. I never thought that he would play such a big role in the book. It is quite interesting to see that despite being thrown into such a depressing environment, he still retains part of his old personality (the swagger). It’s kind of a big “HA! IN YOUR FACE” shout at the Others: they cannot totally destroy him.
At first, I thought Ringer was Lizbeth. I mean, she’s Cassie’s best friend, she should probably play some sort of role. But when it looks like Ringer is a totally different person, I’m at a loss as to who she is.
I enjoyed Ben’s POVs more than Cassie’s, mostly because seeing Cassie infatuated with Evan is a bit nauseating for me. While I really liked how exciting the plot was, I disliked the cheesy lines that the story occasionally dispenses (Evan, particularly). It takes away from the characters’ sincerity and it feels like it is memorized from a romance novel.
It was nice to read a bit from Sammy’s POV but I didn’t think it was entirely necessary. Ben already provides the POV for the brainwashing that the Others do to the humans.
It’s a unique twist on the issue of what makes us human. Is it our biological functions? Our brain capacity? Or does it go deeper than just skin and blood? Is it our hearts? Do we cease to be human when our ability to love and feel fare obliterated? I was more fascinated with this theme than with the relationship between Cassie and Evan.
Overall, I really liked this book and I cannot wait for the sequel to come out but I hope that Yancey strays from the Twilight route and gives his readers an atypical but equally genuine romance.