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.
It’s Rule #1 that before you watch the movie, you read the book. When it came to The 5th Wave, I saw the movie first and decided- now that’s a book I want to read! Unsurprisingly, while I was quite happy and entertained how the movie played out, the book is just so much better. Of course the book is better.
Humans are social animals. They cluster like bees. The attacks relied on this critical adaptation. The evolutionary imperative that drove them to live in groups was the opportunity to kill them by the billions. What was the saying? Strength in numbers.
The aliens have come. You’ll find this fact out very quickly so technically this isn’t a spoiler. This is an alien book. There have been 4 Waves of disastrous events during which majority of the human population dies. I won’t go into details about what happens during each Wave because that would be spoiling the book.
ALIENS ARE STUPID. I’m not talking about real aliens. The Others aren’t stupid. The Others are so far ahead of us, it’s like comparing the dumbest human to the smartest dog. No contest.
What you do know from the blurb is that Cassie’s brother is taken away and Cassie made a promise to always go back to him. Slowly but surely, by remembering her father’s theories about the Others and through all the obvious that has been happening, Cassie is piecing together what the agenda of the Others is. She is alone, she is surviving. And then she meets Evan Walker.
The introduction of Evan to the story of course adds the possibility of a love interest element. Evan is a… how shall I put it… a guy’s guy. You get the whole ‘broad shoulders, fine ass’ yada-yada. …He grew up on the farm as part of an 8 member family so this fact tells the reader (well, it did to me) that his traits include consideration, dedication and the ability to love. <spoiler> I most regretted knowing Evan’s story from the movie. If I had read the book, the big surprise element would have probably blown me away. Well, OK, it’s kind of predictable as well for readers who always wonder about the coming twists and reveals but I enjoyed his character and I was reading the book knowing that he was not all that he seemed to be.</spoiler>
Cassie is strong-willed, snarky and a bit of a firecracker. All the traits you want to see in someone who survives and does it well. Her inner monologue was youthful but intelligent and I felt like I was in her head, surviving with her. I think Chloë Grace Moretz as Cassie in the movie was a really good choice. Chloë played Hit-Girl in Kick-Ass and she seems to fit into the cool, sassy roles really well with her innocent looks only to surprise you with a potty-mouth and a kick-ass personality. The only thing that drives Cassie- even when she feels like she’s the last human left on earth, even when she’s fighting with the madness of being in solitude, even when she’s on the brink of death– is her promise to her brother. The promise of ‘I will come back to you’. One goal is all it takes to push that girl to keep fighting, to keep going, to never trust anyone and knowing that to be alone, means the guarantee of survival.
I must have apologized to him a thousand times during those snowbound days. I’m sorry, Sams. I said no matter what, but what you’re too young to understand is there’s more than one kind of bullshit. There’s the bullshit you know that you know; the bullshit you don’t know and know you don’t know; and the bullshit you just think you know but really don’t. Making a promise in the middle of an alien black ops falls under the last category. So… sorry! So sorry.
Writing: I enjoyed the writing in this book so much. There are 4 POVs (Cassie, Evan, Sammy and Ben aka Zombie). The first switch in POVs (from Cassie to Ben, I think it was) threw me a bit, because I was like- ‘Why is Cassie saying those things?” but then it all made sense, so naturally I thought why isn’t there a clear disclaimer who’s POV we’re reading? But… but-but-but… The POVs don’t switch paragraph to paragraph, they switch as and when it makes sense to do so within the story progression and by way of dividing the book into parts. Plus, eventually, it’s impossible to not understand whose thoughts you’re reading.
The tone of the writing was with a youthful tone, as we are dealing with teenagers and I was pulled in completely by each POV. Completely. And even though I had seen the movie- and spoilered myself- I still came across some unknown elements in the book which were not in the movie. Naturally, there are some changes made in the book-to-movie adaptations but the book had way more grim scenes in it. The book delivered the feeling of doom by added grim details. <spoiler> The P&D, or Processing and Disposal, at Camp Haven was just gag-worthy and the Camp itself could really have been called Auschwitz where Reznik was the alien version of Hitler. </spoiler>
Oh… Almost forgot… In the movie something happens in between Cassie and Evan. It didn’t go quite the same way in the book and to be completely honest with you- I preferred the book version. So-so-so much more I enjoyed the book version. I hate that they didn’t keep it the same in the movie because screw that, <spoiler> I’m tired to death with movie producers and directors not being able to portray intimacy in any other way than sex.</spoiler> Booo! The spoiler tags are probably useless here because we’re all Smarties but just in case… just in case… always wrap it up, yo!
Overall: I enjoyed this 458 page book a lot. I was totally engrossed, and even though I didn’t much appreciate the occasional teenage love interest element, I can see why it needs to be in the story. The characters are young- their priorities are what they are. And there’s no dystopian story where love doesn’t play a big role because in times of hardship love takes the front seat. Rating this book 5 stars. I can’t deny how much I enjoyed the story and really I didn’t find any faults there… you may, so if you read the book and see total awful errors and big no-no‘s, let me know! Will I be reading the second book? Oh hell, yes I am going to read the next one! The 5th Wave has only just begun!