Depending where you are, The 5th Wave hit theatres either last week or today. On first look at the trailer, it looks like it has a decent premise. With it so quickly adapted into a movie that even casts Chloe Grace Moretz, who I personally think is a potentially great young actress, The 5th Wave had me intrigued. Mind you, so far YA novels have been rather lacking at good alien invasion movies and the trailer has hints of some very teenage cliche romance that probably is way more sappy than it needs to be. I am rather forgiving for YA novels, mostly because I’m not exactly their target audience anymore, yet I enjoy them from time to time because it is easy reading. Still, whatever the movie has to offer I don’t know and its definitely not going to be what is to be expected in the book.
I’m still on the fence on whether to go see The 5th Wave but let’s see if the book has convinced me, shall we?
The 5th Wave
(The 5th Wave #1)
by: Rick Yancey
After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.
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. – Goodreads
Goodreads score: 3/5
The 5th Wave makes me feel a little like watching The Host. The premise is there but the approach could have been a lot better. But then, that isn’t even the issue. You know, the troupes and the predictability and the heavy YA novel feeling. All those things was not a problem. My biggest issue with this novel is the writing especially right at the beginning when I read this line, which probably might be a key line in the movie (who knows, right?). Wait for it… embrace it, ok?
When you can’t trust anyone, then you can trust no one.-The 5th Wave
Writing: 10 out of 10… *rolls eyes* When I read that line, I dog-earred the page to remember where it was and closed the book. I took a little breather and found a reason to back up why I’m reading the main character’s diary and inner monologue, because the author wants us to remember that she’s an innocent high school student and reinforce that point eventually that this alien invasion has changed and toughened her up. With myself slightly convinced, I moved on with the story.
Forget the writing style, that can be adapted to. The premise is good. It might be a little flawed at parts but I can buy that. At least a part of it. Not exactly how people survived 4 waves of disaster since those were pretty intense situations and somehow in all this, they got some tough-ass homes that remained standing but they do try to answer why the aliens are aggressive as they are and who they are.
After you get past that part and the story really starts moving along, the entrance of the character of Evan Walker and the other narrative by Ben Parish really makes the story much more intriguing to read. Cassie is supposedly the main character (according to the movie) but her character seems to never be built enough to captivate my attention. She doesn’t seem like a girl caught in an invasion trying to get back her little brother. She just seems like a teenage girl that is insecure and doesn’t trust anyone because she lost her family but yet she wants to feel loved and fall in love but also find her brother and its a constant struggle because she doesn’t know how to put her priorities in place. Does it make a difference? It kind of does to me and I really don’t know how to explain it better. Maybe its the fact that I wished her character was more consistent but then it could be trying to make her more reflective of her age and lacking the experience to actually be a soldier in this situation. So no, Cassie makes some bad choices and she’s kind of naive and in the most random situation she’ll be a teenage girl who focuses on how hot Evan is and wants to touch him. Her character is missing something that I can’t quite grasp.
However, Ben Parish’s narrative is much better. Its because there is this comparison that makes me question the author’s writing for Cassie because with Ben, its much better. His character is really well written and there’s a pain and struggle in his story. There’s growth and it feels real. Its even the surroundings and the characters around him put together with the situation he is in that makes it more intense to read. Evan Walker also makes for that mysterious feeling. Its pretty easy to guess how everything unfolds but yet, those characters are much better developed.
In all fairness, The 5th Wave is an easy read. The writing style doesn’t always quite work for me and some lines were really…not so well-crafted. But, the idea is there. Maybe its not all logical or probable but for any YA novel, there is a certain level of suspending our beliefs. Cassie’s character could’ve been better developed but it was balanced off with a much better alternate storyline narrated by the other main character Ben. The insert of loner Evan Walker was also done well. The 5th Wave isn’t an epic or even great read. I’m still a little lukewarm on how I feel about it. The completionist in me might want to read the rest of the trilogy just to see what happens because that ending kind of made me wonder about one of the character’s fate. I haven’t quite decided on that just yet. I guess we’ll see…
Before we end this post, I should address the question before the little review here. I’m actually on the fence about the movie. It feels like it could be impressive as a movie if they decided to keep the meat of the alien invasion although I’m pretty sure that it wasn’t the route taken. While I don’t particularly see an issue with Chloe Grace Moretz playing Cassie since she is a good young actress, I am a little skeptical of Nick Robinson playing Ben Parish, especially after what he goes through. There’s a level of inconsistency of what I feel like his character looks like in the novel to in the movie. Maybe I need to watch the trailers to see what renewed feelings I have. 😉
Have you read The 5th Wave? Any thoughts? Are you planning to see The 5th Wave?