The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Book cover of The 5th Wave

The 5th Wave is set in the midst of an alien takeover. This is something I was excited about because I am tiring a little reading about zombie apocalypses. The takeover is done in four waves and we start following Cassie, a teenager who has lost her parents in the first waves, as she runs from and is wondering what the fifth wave will entail. Most of the human population has been wiped out and the aliens are targeting the remaining. Her brother was taken away by the army and she promised him that she would find him, which is what she is doing. So far, so good. Still interested… just about.

Then she is rescued by a mysterious stranger, Evan Walker. This is where the story fell apart for me. Sure, it must be great to find another human being. However, if I woke up in a strange place with a stranger in the middle of an alien apocalypse, the first thing I would not notice is how good looking this person is . This is my greatest struggle with YA. Girls are portrayed as boy hungry, crazed beings. So no matter the situation, the girl will be pulled towards the good looking stranger. She will be comforted rather than freaked out by him falling asleep whispering “You saved me” again and again in her ear. Would you allow someone you have only known for a few days to cuddle up to you in bed? Is this the right sort of advice to give to girls?

Cassie is portrayed as a hot-tempered, whiny girl while Evan is calm, strong and someone who puts up with her when she is freaking out. I am a little sick of reading about boys who are so mysteriously calm. It seems that some YA authors have never actually met a teenage boy. They are anything but steady at the best of times. Trust me, I spend quite a lot of time in an FE college, surrounded by boys.

Cassie and Evan eventually leave a snug little home in the middle of nowhere to go look for her little brother. On the way, the truth about Evan is revealed. He is an alien in a human body. Does Cassie run for her life? Of course not. He was tasked with killing humans but fell in love with Cassie. She allows the alien to enter her body and realises that she loves him.

The one character that I did not totally irk me was Ben Parish aka Zombie. He stuck to the narrative and behaved like someone who is being trained to be a boy soldier in the midst of an alien apocalypse probably would. His narrative was a welcomed respite. Did I mention that Ben was someone that Cassie had fancied at school? I did not see that coming. While the whole world is going to hell, she is still thinking about him. Would you pine after someone who you did not actually know if your parents had died in two separate yet equally horrific ways? Would you daydream about a boy when you were being preyed upon by aliens and were trying to find your little brother?

Cassie’s brother was taken away to the same camp that Ben Parish was trained in and they were there together. When Ben Parish realises the reality behind the camp, he goes back to find him. Cassie is there too and Evan has seemingly destroyed himself to help her rescue her brother. The book ends with Ben Parish kissing Cassie and they sit cuddled up watching the sun rise. There are more books in this series. I will not be reading them.

Does any of this remind you of a little know girl called Bella? In short, Twilight meets The Host. Shit squared.

P.S. Do not, I repeat do not, let a boy you have known for a few days fall asleep whispering anything in your ears. In fact, report him.