Thursday, 22 October 2020

THE 5TH WAVE by Rick Yancey

3 out of 5 stars

On Amazon UK


On Goodreads

On BookBub 

How I discovered this book: Amazon Browse

In A Nutshell: Post Apocalyptic thriller, with EMP blackouts, tsunamis, pestilence and aliens (yep, it's got the lot!). It is also YA.

I didn't realise when I bought this book that it's YA.  I've recently read other post-apocalyptic books in which the main characters were adolescent, that didn't feel YA at all.  It was only later that I looked at its categories on Amazon, and discovered the intended audience.

That having been said, at first I loved it.  Starts with Cassie, who is 16, in the later stages (the 4th wave) of the takeover of Earth by aliens.  Back to when they first appear - a ship, hovering near us in space for 10 days, while the entire country is in uproar about what it might mean.

The 1st wave is an EMP blackout that wipes out the electrical grid.  The 2nd is a spate of tsunamis around all coastal areas, forcing survivors into the centre of all countries.  3rd, a plague that wipes out 97% of humanity.  The 4th is discovered only gradually - apparent humans who are 'infested' with something that alters their brains to make them think like the aliens.

First we see what happens to Cassie, from the 1st-4th waves.  Next, a chapter from the POV of a teenage boy, who actually survives the plague.  Thirdly, one from the POV of one of the soldiers whose was impregnanted with whatever it is that the aliens put there - this happened 4 years before.  This part, in particular, I found most absorbing.

Then we go forward a little and find Cassie trapped in the snow, almost dead.  This is where the book fell down for me.  Her saviour just happens to be an amazingly hot-looking guy of around 18, who is living in a cabin alone.  Somehow, he has all the equipment and know-how to save her from certain death.  Despite them having lost everything, being in horrendous danger and, no doubt, deep shock, the two engage in flirtatious teen banter, and it becomes more like the sort of romance I would have abandoned even when I was at the younger end of the book's target market.  So I stopped reading it, which was shame, because the rest of it was SO good.  I might go back to it, and just skip-read the romance bits.  I'm not sure. 

I wouldn't normally review a book I didn't finish, but I am doing so because a) I had already set up this page with the links, b) the rest of it was extremely good, and c) it might help other YA writers to realise that 'teenage' doesn't mean 'unaware that developments are ludicrous'.  On the other hand, it's got literally thousands of great reviews, so maybe it's just me.  On the other other hand, some of the lower star ones also complain about the emphasis on the teen crush, rather than the excellent plot.  So maybe it's not.



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