Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave

I was in a race (with myself) to get to Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave, because, as I said here, I know that I will want to watch the movie, and I am determined to read the book before I do catch the 70MM version of it. So, I put it on my March Reading List and made a beeline for the book (well, not really, since the book was already on my bookshelf – but you get the point).

The 5th Wave is about an alien invasion that happens not in one wave, but in five waves. And we get to live through the 5th one in the book along with the protagonist Cassiopeia (Cassie) Sullivan. Cassie is a 16 year old who has survived 4 terrible waves, and takes you through some moving moments of tragedy and loss. And Rick Yancey does three things in this book.

One is, he has made his aliens quite similar to that of Stephanie Meyer’s aliens in The Host. And there’s nothing terrible about it. He has given his own spin to it (in fact 5) and that seems perfectly alright. After all, we have come across big headed, wide eyed alien clichés that we have gotten comfortable with. And Stephanie Meyer and Rick Yancey give us something else. This is nice.

Two, he has used an easy-to-read narrative style packed with sarcastic comments that the protagonist(s) use as they tell you the story. And this, to me, is very very refreshing. I like the sarcasm. I like the tone. I like the way the story goes back and forth and just opens up just enough of the plot at a time so that I could understand what I was meant to. This too is nice.

Three, Yancey explores clichéd themes. Oh yes, he does. And that hit me from nowhere and it hit me hard. It was unexpected. Let me not get into the clichés and spoil it for you. Maybe you can be as accepting of them as I am of the concept of how the aliens ‘invaded’ the characters in the book. This is not so nice (for me). No, it isn’t.

I was expecting more. Especially after the first 50 pages of the book made me feel the fear I usually feel when I pick up a Stephen King book. The foreboding feeling that something unexpectedly chilling will happen. Yes, I tend to get spooked out way faster than the average person. So, you can imagine, when I was down a few pages of the book, the power goes off, and I’m sitting alone at home reading this book and I’m thinking “well, this book gives me the creeps”, I really thought it was doing a good job. Till the clichés happened. Then the lights came on.

Anyway, this does not mean that I will not read the next book in the series. I definitely will. I may even read it this month if I finish A Clash of Kings ahead of time. But will my expectations for the next book be as high? Maybe not.


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