The first thing I have to say regarding this review is to say how I came to have the book in my possession. I received this book through a contest from Penguin Random House Canada called Blind Date With A Book. Basically, I follow their twitter account(s) and got wind of the contest where you had to guess about a book based on one clue. A few days afterwards, a package appeared at my doorstep. I would like to mention that they did not ask me to review, at the time they did not even know I run this blog, but I thought it was only right that you know how I got this book. Not to worry, my review is my own words. They always will be my own. So let’s get to my review of The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey.
The 5th Wave is a young adult novel about the aftereffects of an alien invasion. The invasion itself comes in, you may have guessed, five waves. The book begins with the precipice of the fifth, and tells stories about the ones that came before.
One the subject of the waves themselves, I really enjoyed reading about the first wave. This wave was an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that shut down all electronics. This does not just include phones and televisions. The EMP also affected airplanes, cars, et cetera. I have had quite a few conversations about things like alien invasions, and I remember talking to my Dad about the idea of an EMP and how it would be very clever to use that to bring the human race to its knees.
So, this book is about an alien invasion of Earth. Yancey tells this story through rotating first person perspectives all in the present tense. First person perspective alone is not all too difficult to use compared to the other perspectives (except for second person, which is much harder in my opinion). His use of the present tenses, however, impresses me. Most stories are normally in the past tense. Maintaining a constant “present voice” is very difficult for many writers.
The count of good things about this book, at this stage, is two: the concept of the alien invasion and the use of the present tense.
Many criticisms of this book I have seen online involved the “quality” of the writing and complaints about it sounding a bit juvenile. When I compare it with other books I may agree, however I think the way in which Yancey wrote this novel makes sense. One thing I have not yet mentioned but is quite important to the book is that adults never really come into play in any major role. Children are the feature in this book. Each of the perspectives Yancey uses comes from a child. The age of the child ranges, some are young adults, but they are still children. Thus, their voices will have a young (sometimes juvenile) quality. They may worry about things that seem absurd to adults or they could seem flighty or seemingly stupid/gullible.
The point here is that children are quite different from adults and their voices would therefore come off differently. Does that make sense? This book pulls off, in my opinion, the perspective of children quite well. Would I personally prefer an alien invasion from the perspective of adults? Yes, a little bit. However, I still found myself reading this book quite quickly. I took free moments, such as during my lunch break at work and while sitting in the waiting room of my doctor’s office. I find that with books I enjoy, I want to finish them. I tend to read faster and find extra moments in which to read. In contrast, I know when I really dislike a book as it becomes a chore to read and thus takes me quite a bit longer.
What this all boils down to however, is if this book is worth the read. If you have any interest at all in reading about an alien invasion and post-apocalyptic world, I would recommend reading The 5th Wave.
Title: The 5th Wave
Author: Rick Yancey
Publisher: Penguin Group