The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave #1) – Rick Yancey

The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave #1) – Rick YanceyTitle: The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave #1) by Rick Yancey
Publishing Info: May 7, 2013 by Penguin
Source: Anderson's Bookshop
Genres: Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: July 14, 2013
Related Posts: The Infinite Sea (The 5th Wave #2), The Last Star (The 5th Wave #3)

    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.


I was terrified to start THE 5TH WAVE. I do not like alien stories — basically ever — but after so many rave reviews and friends telling me it’s a totally different kind of alien story, I decided to trust them! The aliens in this book — usually referred to as “the Others” (because they’re something other than human) — are not little green men with big eyes come to Earth in corporeal form. They co-inhabit human bodies and have been “awakened” at the right moment, basically after all the growing up and puberty and whatnot, so they really are ONE with the human — body and soul. They look like humans, talk like humans, act like humans… Until they turn around and shoot you.

I think one of the things that also helped with the alien topic was that they were believable. We don’t know what aliens would look like if they did exist and I think this is a great way of NOT putting a body that we couldn’t possibly imagine to that idea of life outside of our planet. Also, the Others are essentially destroying the humans in waves (hence, THE 5TH WAVE) so there’s a sense of post-apocalyptic Earth that was a big part of the book as well. I usually enjoy those kinds of books. (I do love my post-apocalyptic & dystopian books!)

THE 5TH WAVE focuses mainly on Cassie who is essentially telling us her story as it happens to her with a few flashbacks here and there. I gotta say… I loved Cassie! She used to be the nice girl, and once the 1st wave hit, she really instantly toughened up. I loved her sarcasm and biting humor and she actually reminded me of one of my friends so it was almost like reading about someone I knew! I loved that we get to see how tough and brave Cassie is, but she’s still totally scared out of her mind at the same time. She has a lot of tough decisions to make to stay alive and I really felt that sense of nervousness and constant fear from her.

I know a few reviewers had said that the change of narrators was a bit confusing, but it didn’t really bother me. I was expecting each chapter to alternate or jump around, but there are specific sections and each section — not chapter — is narrated by one specific character. Sometimes it changes from first to third person and sometimes the voice is not always immediately clear, but I really wasn’t bothered by it too much. I think it was more of the fact that regardless of POV or narrator, I needed to focus just a bit more. Some parts were alternating between present time and flashbacks, some parts were jumpy because of action, some because of a stream of consciousness-style flow, but I didn’t find it confusing. It just required a bit more focus than reading a “fluffier” type novel.

The thing I loved the most was how all of the loose ends tie up in the end. Stories come together, mysteries solved, and we FINALLY find out who is good and who is bad. The whole point of the book is that Cassie can never trust anyone because the Others look just like any other human and there’s nothing to give them away as untrustworthy. I kept suspecting people left and right, switching my opinions of good and bad in my head, and when everything finally came together, I felt much better! I think because the book received so much hype, I wasn’t let down per se, but I wasn’t TOTALLY amazed and shocked. I loved the suspense, action, characters, and plot, but it wasn’t quite a five-star read for me.


Cassie // Character Obsessions: Staying alive, not trusting anyone, her Luger and M15, her brother Sammy.
Cassie was totally awesome. I loved her as our main character. She was loyal, brave, and determined despite the fact that she was completely alone and totally scared beyond belief. I loved that she sort of turned tough (although that’s the side that we as the readers always see) and her sarcasm totally cracked me up. I feel like I could be her sidekick… Although I totally wouldn’t want to be involved in the alien apocalypse, but yeah. I think we could get along!
Evan Walker // Character Obsessions: The Others, keeping Cassie safe.
Evan Walker was mysterious. I wanted to love him — okay, I totally did — but I also couldn’t trust him. Cassie had that tiniest bit of doubt despite all that he did for her so how could I not? I loved his role in this story from start to finish.
Zombie // Character Obsessions: Training, Nugget, Ringer.
Oh hey, Zombie. Didn’t expect you to be such a big part of the story and you totally made it twice as awesome. The whole entire way Zombie’s character is brought into this story… I don’t want to go into detail at the risk of spoiling, but it’s awesome. Just you wait and see! 


Kept Me Hooked On: Science fiction. Most of my sci-fi reads are more paranormal… dystopian… even a hint of fantasy. Aliens? That’s sci-fi for sure. True, the aliens did make it more of a post-apocalyptic world, but this was more sci-fi than I usually read and I really enjoyed it! Looking forward to more.
Left Me Wanting More: You know what… I can’t think of anything. Although it wasn’t a FULL five stars for me, I can’t think of anything it was missing!

Addiction Rating

THE 5TH WAVE lived up to the hype. PHEW. I devoured it in one day (seriously). It kept me on the edge of my seat with suspense and action and even had some nice romance in there!


         Cinder         Reboot

Hi, I'm Brittany!
Hi, I'm Brittany!

I'm an avid reader, candle-maker, and audiobook lover! Here you'll find book reviews, fun blog posts, and my other loves of photography & craft beer!

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17 thoughts on “The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave #1) – Rick Yancey

  1. Jasmine

    The POV’s were confusing for me. When I got to the next chapter, something changed and I noticed that. And I’m like “Woah, what’s happening? I thought we were on this. And now we’re..?” And I agree, Cassie was my favorite character. I was like “OMG, So Kick-Ass!!” What was even more shocking was how she kept going. How she wasn’t going submit to the alien and die. She didn’t give up when she had no reason to. She toughened up so quickly. It surprised me. I’m so glad this is a trilogy! 😀

  2. Rachel

    This is my pick for your Birthday Giveaway Competition – it’s been on my “I need that in my life, now!” list for a wee while but a mixture of Diploma work (and an ever expanding TBR wall of books) means I haven’t gotten around to it yet, and as it’s being talked about so much I feel like I’m being left out 🙁

    I’d love to get my hands on this and do a review on my brand-spanking new blog (I’ll send you a link when it looks presentable, promise!).

    I really like the layout of your reviews, with the details and blurb at the start, though I couldn’t read too much of this one as I didn’t want you to give the story away!!

    Love your website. R.

  3. Maggie @ Just a Couple More Pages

    I think I pretty much agree with everything you’ve said. I don’t think I’d ever read an alien book before this one and while I don’t know if I’ll read another one, I did like this one. Especially Cassie who, as you said, is really great. I didn’t find the change in narrators confusing either, but I did find myself trying to quickly go through the parts I narrators I didn’t like as much as others so I could get back to my favorite characters. Great review!

  4. Amy

    Remember the other day when you, me, and Alyssa were talking about review-writing binges and how we need to sit down and write a whole bunch because we’re all so behind? This is one my unwritten reviews.
    I’m so glad that you loved it though. I, too, was really surprised by how much I loved Zombie before I even knew his real name. And then I loved him more. But Cassie was really such a standout. I loved her attitude.
    I don’t usually do alien books, either, but I am BEYOND glad that I read this one and waited on that line at BEA for it, haha! I CANNOT WAIT for book 2. Seriously. Dying over here.

  5. Angelica @ Paperback Princess

    Brittany I really enjoyed The 5th Wave, and like you I didn’t really find the different POV’s confusing. I am amazed at how well the Author did this though. Most of the time when there’s alternating POV’s the book/story gets confusing and jumbled, but I think Yancey’s writing was just fantastic, not only was the different POV just worked so well, it also gives the readers in depth information because we see from different POV’s, so we’re not only seeing the events from Cassie’s eyes. Eg. if we didn’t have Ben’s POV we wouldn’t have known what was happening at camp etc.

    Then, if that wasn’t skilled enough he also did the flashbacks, which again he wrote brilliantly without confusing the readers. I’m definitely keeping an eye out on this Author 😀

    Wonderful Review!

  6. Rachel

    Well, I can officially say I’m sold on this one. I got a copy of this at BEA and it is so pretty and also everyone seems to love it, so I’ve been keeping it on my shelves. BUT I have been pretty worried because I am so anti alien (my parents brought me to see Signs at an outdoor theater in the middle of the woods when I was ten, so you can imagine how that went over). The aliens are obviously way different and actually sound pretty cool! Great review!

  7. Amanda @ Late Nights with Good Books

    I was also a little hesitant to read this one because of both the hype and the subject matter. But I ended up feeling very similarly to you on this. It was an interesting, solid read. I wasn’t a huge fan of the alternating POVs (I never am, though). And I cannot see how the two third-person ones were really necessary. I did appreciate the bigger perspective having more than Cassie’s POV gave readers about the world, however. Great review!

  8. Vivian

    Yep, everyone keeps saying how much they love this book and I really wanna read it. It’s a ton of pages though, so Idk when I’ll have time to get to it. I love me a good scifi book! Great review!

  9. Vyki @ On The Shelf

    Very exciting review! I really want to read this book. It is kind of weird I haven’t read an alien book yet since I used to be obsessed with aliens when I was younger. I have seen so much good stuff about this book and this is definitely one I want to read soon.

  10. Alice in Readerland

    I’ll have to check this one out! I’m glad that you loved Cassie and thought she was awesome, and I really liked that you said that all of the loose ends tie up in the end! I’m so tired of open-ended/unexplained ending books, so I’m really glad that The 5th Wave clears up the mystery at the end. 🙂 Great review!

    Alice @ Alice in Readerland

  11. lily

    I’ve stayed away from this one even though I’ve heard amazing things about it because the size of the book intimidates me and the mulitple POV and switch from first person to third person narration kind of annoys me. I’m thinking of giving this one a try though so we’ll see! Great Review

    Lily @ Lilysbookblog

  12. Stormy

    I really liked this one too! The changing POV’s didn’t bother me either, which seems to be the main thing people either love or hate about the book. But I also thought the aliens were well-done & the fact that they looked exactly like humans is one of the reasons this book worked so well for me–I’ve always found that concept incredibly creepy.

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