Book Review: 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.

3.5 cupcakes

The 5th Wave is exactly how I like my post-apocalyptic worlds: dark and with high stakes. There’s this prevailing feeling of hopelessness that, coupled with the intrigue of what the 5th Wave could possibly contain, certainly makes for an intense read.

This creepy factor peters off towards the middle of the book when our protagonist, Cassie, forgets that survival should be her main priority and falls into an unfortunate case of instalove with Evan. Not only is the romance severely lacking in chemistry, but it also serves to weaken Cassie’s character and any previous admiration that I had for her. Any suspicions that Cassie (rightfully) had about Evan were swept out the window whenever he so much as smiled at her, causing the plot to drag in many places, and ruining the effect of the subsequent plot twist (if it can be called that, given that I had guessed it fairly early on).

I wasn’t really able to connect with any of the characters. While I appreciated having multiple perspectives, the fact that they weren’t labelled led to a bit of confusion on my part, since Cassie and Zombie sounded quite similar; if it weren’t for the fact that they were in much different settings (and of different genders), I wouldn’t have been able to tell their voices apart. I really enjoyed seeing the world through Sammy’s eyes: the naive voice of a child brought much-needed light-hearted, aww-worthy moments to the story.

Some of my favourite parts of The 5th Wave were the philosophical musings on moral ambiguity and the notion of humanity. It posed some questions that I’m still considering: what does it mean to be human? Is humanity something that one can gain or lose?

Overall, I enjoyed The 5th Wave for the most part; if it weren’t for the romance, I feel as though I would have loved it just as much as everyone else. That being said, I’m still looking forward to reading The Infinite Sea , if only to see how much more intense the alien invasion can get.


Book Review: Angelfall by Susan Ee

It’s been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back.

Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.

Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl.

Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels’ stronghold in San Francisco where she’ll risk everything to rescue her sister and he’ll put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.

My Rating: 5 cupcakes

Angelfall had been on my to-read list forever. In 2011, the online world exploded with love for this self-published ebook about angels and the apocalypse. I’m usually a sucker for hype, but the idea of an angel book worried me a bit; after all, a lot of the more popular ones (Hush Hush, Fallen, Halo) had been incredibly disappointing. After reading all of my Goodreads friends’ five star reviews and seeing that my library had ordered in a copy, I finally got around to reading it — and I’m so glad that I did.

The post-apocalyptic world that Ee has created is horrifying, brutal, and very compelling. The cities have crumbled, street gangs run rampant, and humans have resorted to any means necessary to survive. Angels roam the skies, but they’re nothing like the cherubic image that probably popped into your head when you saw the word “angel” — they’re tough, menacing, and strongly resemble God’s warriors from Biblical times. You can certainly tell that Ee did her research: the mythology surrounding these angels is accurate and realistic without becoming too preachy.

Penryn is easily my favourite YA protagonist. Smart, funny, and a martial arts pro, Penryn is the ideal heroine in every way. Accompanied by a paranoid, schizophrenic mother and a wheelchair-bound sister, Penryn shoulders a lot more responsibility than your average seventeen year old girl, yet she rarely complains about it. Instead, she desperately wants to protect her family, and is willing to put herself straight into the path of danger to keep them safe.

One of my favourite things about Angelfall is the fact that there’s no instalove and no love triangle; instead, the relationship develops slowly and naturally, and takes a backseat to the action. There’s a suggestion of romance but both parties involved certainly have their priorities straight: after all, rescuing your sister and safely navigating a post-apocalyptic world are a bit more important than declaring your love for a perfect stranger.

Angelfall is certainly deserving of all of the hype. This quick-paced, action-packed story filled with unforgettable characters, witty banter, dark touches, and well-researched angelic lore made for an excellent read that will certainly be picked up again and again.