Review: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

The 5th Wave
Rick Yancey
G. P. Putnam’s Sons
Published May 7, 2013

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Most of the human population has been decimated by the first four waves of a highly intelligent alien attack. Though no one has learned to identify the enemy, the ominous shape of the mother ship hovering in the sky above the earth strikes fear in the hearts of the few who survive.

Sixteen year-old Cassie trusts no one. She survives by moving from place to place, reliving the past, when the most terrible conflict she faced was her unrequieted affection for Ben, fellow student and popular athlete. Now Cassie simply bides her time until she can no longer run from the last promise she made. A promise to rescue the last person alive whom she loves. When something sinister begins tracking Cassie, she knows she can’t hide for long. Her best option is to find cover and prepare a counter-attack, one that will hopefully end her pursuer before he can end her. But when Cassie finally faces her enemy, she discovers that things are much more complicated than she could have imagined.

Ben has lost everyone dear to him. Then he is rescued by a special forces group and trained to fight the alien invaders. Revenge seems just within his grasp, but something isn’t right. And the more Ben thinks about it, the less certain he is about who he is really working for.

One might think a story which begins with a girl wandering the woods remembering the recent past would be uneventful, but Yancey’s novel is anything but. Though the flashback sequences can be lengthy, they paint a picture of a world totally unprepared for the cunning enemy it faces, a world which quickly falls into destruction. As Cassie and Ben pursue survival and revenge, they learn values of self-sacrifice and trust. The plot is packed with plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader eager for just one more chapter all the way through the end.

Cassie and Ben’s story will continue in The Infinite Sea. The sequel is scheduled for release September 16, 2014.

Language Content
Extreme usage, mild frequency.

Sexual Content
As Cassie and her peers gather in the high school gym and rumors of the end of the world circulate, a friend suggests that Cassie approach her long-time crush and ask him to have sex with her, because, well, the world is about to end, so what does she have to lose? Cassie doesn’t follow this suggestion, but as survival becomes less of a guarantee, many people experience a shift in moral values. Cassie does spend some time kissing a boy and sleeping next to him.

Spiritual Content
The events of Cassie’s life cause her to ponder whether or not God exists. More questions than conclusions.

Alien attacks become more direct and devastating as the story progresses. One wave consists of a deadly disease which in late stages causes bleeding from all orifices. Yuck. Some battle scenes and weaponry are described in graphic detail. Children are recruited as soldiers and are both treated brutally as well as commit some brutal acts in the course of training.

Drug Content
No recreational drug content.


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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

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