Book Review: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Title: The 5th Wave

Author: Rick Yancey

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Genre: Science-Fiction, Mystery & Trillers, Young Adult

Published: 7 May 2013 by Penguin Books Australia

Format: E-book, 457 pages

Synopsis: The Passage meets Ender’s Game in an epic new series from award-winning author Rick Yancey.

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.” (Taken from Goodreads)

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“We’re here and then we’re gone, and it’s not about the time we’re here but what we do with the time.”

Everyone is raving about this book, because they’re right – this book is great! Some goes as far as calling this the next Hunger Games. While I’m not going to agree with that (nothing can really beat the intensity and originality of HG), The 5th Wave is definitely a good contender for being 2013’s most popular young-adult book, read by the masses.

Two things keep me hooked on a book:

  1. Plot line
  2. Characters

I’m not someone that dissects each and every paragraph looking for the themes the author has scattered through the book. I read for enjoyment, not to analyse. So what I need to keep me entertained is a well thought-out plot with a good pacing, and characters that I can invest my time in. If I’ve gone through 300 pages and want to punch everyone in the face, you know there is something wrong with your characters.

What makes this book great is that it meets both my criterias. Fast paced adrenaline pumping plot? Check! Amazing characters that have made me cry more than once? Double check!

While his writing is a little choppy, Yancey makes up for that with his cast of amazing characters that you just can’t help but root for. There’s Cassie for Cassiopeia, Zombie, Evan Walker and Sammy. Each has such a unique voice of their own, and it was sad to see one go as the chapter with their point-of-view ends.

In the midst of an alien invasion, it was so good to see a very sassy and bad-ass heroine take center stage. Cassie was so smart and intuitive, you can’t help but wait in bated breath every time she does something. It’s refreshing to see a female-lead stand on their own two feet and be able to SURVIVE by themselves, even when the world around them falls apart – literally. My only issue with Cassie was her behaviour after she meets Evan Walker. There was a point where I wanted to shake her and go, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING CASSIE. AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THIS!” but luckily, I doubted her too quickly. She is a bad-ass karate girl, I tell you! Her unwavering love for her brother and her need to keep the promise she made to find him was such an emotional part of the story. He is her drive to survive, and the reason she chooses to fight rather than give up.

Then there’s Zombie. I can’t say that his real identity was all that shocking, not with all the hints Yancey kept dropping about him. A lot of the ‘twists’ in the story was quite predictable, but The 5th Wave is much more a character driven story than a plot driven one. I really enjoyed reading the novel through his eyes as well, it was a good change to the pace of the story. What he goes through to survive is entirely different to Cassie, but like she has Sammy to fight for, he has the need to prove that he will not run away again when things get tough. Zombie crawled out of his grave as a new person, and his character grew stronger because of his will to change himself.

Evan Walker; now there’s an enigma. Once again, who he really is was not hard to figure out. Yancey’s plot twists are basically handed to you on a silver platter. At first, I found him extremely creepy, but he definitely grew on me. His devotion to Cassie transcends everything and I really, really need to know what has happened to him. How can you leave it off like that Mr Yancey?!?!!?

I am definitely looking forward to book two, but my gosh, August 2014 is to far away!

Thank you to Penguin Books Australia for providing an e-copy in return for an honest review. 

Book Review: Zephyr The West Wind (Chaos Chronicles #1) by R.J. Tolson

Title: Zephyr The West Wind (Chaos Chronicles #1)

Author: R.J. Tolson

Rating: ★ ★ ☆ ☆☆

Shelf: Read-in-2013, Young-Adult, Fantasy, 2-out-of-5, Released-in-2012, Kindle-eBook, Netgalley-Read, Book-Tour

Publication Date: 21 August 2012 by Universal Kingdom Print

Synopsis: “Seventeen years ago, in the island village of Dentro, lived a large and powerful demon. With just a howl, mountains were obliterated. With the help of an outsider, the chief of Dentro destroyed the demon and sealed its dark power within three powerful ancient weapons: a spear, a shield, and a sword. After leaving the unwelcoming village, the man who had helped destroy the demon took the sword in an effort to keep the village and its people safe.

Months later, a villager bore the son of the outsider. Carrying the child of a stranger was in violation of a sacred village law, and everyone knew whose child the boy was. Born into a village filled with hateful people, Zephyr grew up not knowing why he was so hated. With no friends, and eventually no family after the passing of his mother, Zephyr was forced to survive by himself as an outcast.

Zephyr’s only wish was to make his mother proud and force the village to recognize him–while surviving in a world filled with demons, paranormal abilities, love, hate, and undiscovered lands.” (Taken from Goodreads)

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I think this book started out very strongly. I was entranced by the prologue with its promises of ancient Greek mythologies and was very, very excited to devour this book. However, that was just it – the prologue was full of promises that Tolson did not deliver. What I did like about the book was that Zephyr is a good role model for children reading his story. His strong afflictions towards being the best person he could possibly be, even to people that had treated him like trash, was a message that put a smile on my face. I think Tolson created a character that was strong in this sense. This was the one consistent trait of Zephyr’s that I liked, because there were SO many inconsistencies riddled throughout the book.

The biggest problem I found with Zephyr’s character was when he said he wanted to gain power to protect the people he loved. These were people that he’d only met recently. While that could be overlooked, I couldn’t read about him leaving his boy tour guide unconscious within the palace that he was touring while he ran away from a fight that he’d started. At that point I was like, ‘Really? You left him unconscious and you’re just going to leave?’
There were many other inconsistencies that I couldn’t bring myself to overlook. On his quest to recover the ancient weapons in order to save his village, Zephyr had to visit two cities that were at war with each other. They were called Cheshria and Sleeves. At Cheshria, the guards manning the gate didn’t even bother to check the carriages that held Zephyr and his companion, Leon, and let them through into the city without a second thought. The driver of the carriage was a friend of Zephyr’s and had told the guards that the carriages held his servants. I found it hard to believe that the guards would not bother to check the carriages at all, or question as to why servants are riding in the carriage while their master drove it.

What irritated me more than these inconsistencies was the way this story was written. At the beginning of the story, Zephyr narrates the story as if he’s addressing the reader. Thankfully this doesn’t last long because I really dislike novels that are narrated like that. Moving from that, Zephyr then continues to narrate the story by repeating things the readers have already learned by voicing them aloud as if we were stupid. And as if that wasn’t irritating enough, the story suddenly switches to Leon’s perspective suddenly and without warning for a few chapters near the end. Not only was that change in perspective abrupt, it just totally ridiculous because Tolson does not tell that audience that it’s Leon’s perspective, you have to figure it out yourself. When this first happened, I had gone halfway through the chapter before I stopped in my tracks and was like, ‘Wait…this cannot possibly be Zephyr narrating this…what’s going on?!’
And please don’t get me started on the ‘love’ story. Was it really necessary? Because it was just so cringe-worthy reading through it. While I do think Zephyr and his love interest, Autumn, are good people, I really couldn’t root for them. From the beginning, Zephyr turns into a blubbering idiot when he meets her. And from then on, she’s The One. Yeah, ok. And don’t even get me started on how he manages to have visions of her sneaking away from her village in order to come find him and help. That is not even explained. Was he thinking about her so much that he just suddenly have these visions in his sleep that actually turn out to be true?

While you may think I hated this book, it wasn’t horrendous. I really enjoyed the fight scenes and they were exciting to read about. Especially the ones at the end when they really felt genuine and you couldn’t tell that Zephyr was definitely going to win. However, this was a book that I did have to force myself to finish – and that is never a good thing. I will probably be giving the next one in the series a miss.

THANKS TO: Samantha Lien from JKSCommunications for providing me an electronic ARC to review honestly.