the 5th wave 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.

Cassie Sullivan is one of the funniest characters I´ve ever read about. She is the ultimate sarcastic teenager; she has no qualms about speaking her mind, and the way the author does it really makes it seem like a sixteen-year-old is telling me the story. She´s really funny and all that, except we can tell she uses the dark humor to get through all the tough things life kept flinging at her (i.e. alien invasion, lots of death). What made her seem real and actually her age was not just how she spoke and thought, but all these little things the author remembered to put into the story, for example, besides food, Cassie would forage for tampons. She is so, so tough and ends up becoming a badass, but at the same time, she freaks out a lot over boys. I absolutely loved reading from her point of view, her personality is a literal treasure (surrounded by barbed wire…and maybe some alligators). Plus, for most of the book she´s by herself talking to a stuffed bear, nothing beats that.

There are so many interesting and unique characters present throughout the book, and no matter how much “screen time” they got, they all played important parts. There are no meaningless actions and conversations. And, from that, I´d say the second most important character in the whole plot is Sam/Nugget. His relationship with Cassie is the only reason she didn´t just give up, and he reminded me SO MUCH of my little brother (needless to say, I cried a lot because of his little soldier butt). He and Cassie went through so much together, and you can really feel the love between them.

Nugget also formed a bond with our dear ol´ Zombie. Zombie (despite his general moodiness and morbid behavior) didn´t just become a seventeen-year-old soldier in this book; he became the mother hen of his squad and basically adopted tiny, adorable Nugget. Their conversations and interactions are just so cute, and the entire time I just felt like going, “Awww, that´s my Zombie, running around shooting things and being all motherly!” Also, I think it´s worth mentioning that the entire time people were talking about the pestilence, Nugget thought they were talking about the “Pesky Ants.”

Another relationship I´d like to bring to the spotlight, is the whole Cassie/Evan combo. It´s a whole lot of awkward snapping retorts at first, which slowly transforms itself into civilized conversations, and eventually gives way to friendship. And then, BAM! Surprise! Romance! (Okay, not really a surprise, we could all see it coming). But, I did enjoy how it did not happen all at once, since I strongly dislike the “love-at-first-sight” concept. Also, Evan Walker, despite all his good-looks, is so awkward sometimes! He´s like a little baby seal. A little, creepy, baby seal. And their relationship is not all candy, spice and everything nice; it has some pretty rough patches because he´s too secretive and Cassie can be too mean, too stubborn and definitely too impulsive. He´s keeping secrets and trying to help. She throws things at him.

Despite all the laugh-out-loud moments, the story in itself is devastating. There is so much death and despair, and at certain points, the humor is strongly needed to break through all the darkness and heavy crap these kids deal with. People are being murdered and raped, their homes destroyed, all that they once knew turned into ashes. You can tell the author did a lot of research, not just into natural disasters and diseases, but he had to keep track of distances and geographical locations AND  had to create a somewhat plausible plan to try to wipe the entire population off the face of the earth. And he did a great job.

His style is very interesting and captivating, using lots of pop culture references and fresh ways to describe things. The story is divided between Cassie´s real time and short flashbacks of how it was before and during the Four Waves, so it´s all a big puzzle, and we never know all that´s going on or what happened before. It´s very mysterious and the information is spread out in such a way that doesn´t weigh down the plot. Plus, the descriptions are very good, and it´s easy to picture the setting and scenes. Sometimes I felt like some of the character development was too fast, and they adapted too well to the invasion, but it didn´t mess with the storyline and it wasn´t bothersome.

Recommend this book 100% if you like aliens, badass fight scenes and a whole lot of sarcastic humor. Five out of five stars.