Review: The 5th Wave

In which I give a completely spoiler-free review of The 5th Wave. 

As you guys may have noticed in my last post, I finished The 5th Wave. 


I have a lot of spoiler-y things to rant about, so I’m going to give my spoiler-free review first, and then I’ll just rant in a second post so that anyone who has read it can come rant with me.

Without really intending to, I tend to measure books against the last book I read in that genre. Well, the last alien-invasion book I read was The War of the Worlds (which is an amazing book, as you probably already know) so the bar was set pretty high. And this book did it. It met that high standard set by H. G. Wells. It is phenomenal.

Here is the Goodreads summary:

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.


So after waiting a really long time to see the movie because I wanted to read the book first, I ended up seeing the movie the day before I started reading the book. Because my brothers rented it and I like watching movies with them. Don’t tell them I said that.

I’m really glad I did, because if I’d done it the other way around, I would have been super disappointed by the movie. As it happened, I enjoyed the movie for what it was, and was pleasantly surprised by how much better the book was.

So if you saw the movie and didn’t love it, give the book a try anyway. A lot of the annoying things in the movie weren’t that way in the book.

Stylistically, this book was beautiful. I’ve not read anything else by Rick Yancey, but he is obviously an amazing writer.

Thematically, I found myself scribbling “compare to 1984” and “compare to Lord of the Flies”  in a lot of places. Not because this book regurgitated those themes, but because it really added to them, built upon them, and brought some great thoughts to the table. It is a great contribution to the literary conversation on such themes as what it means to be human, what humankind (including children) is capable of, how to hold on to your humanity, etc.

Character-wise, I had a very difficult relationship with Cassie. I feel like I would have rather read the entire book from Zombie’s POV (I guess his real name is sort of a spoiler). I found the sections with Zombie and his squad-members to be much more compelling than Cassie’s. More on this in my rant post. Overall though, I didn’t hate any of the characters (except the ones you’re supposed to hate) so that’s good. I can be satisfied with that.

I also love how satisfyingly thick this book is! I’m kind of disappointed to see that The Infinite Sea is about half the size. It didn’t take me very long to read though; it is by no means an intimidating read.

I would definitely recommend this book if you’re into science fiction, alien invasions, post-apocalyptic scenarios, explorations of human nature, battles, action-packed stuff, reminders of what we take for granted, and those situations where a bunch of messed-up individuals are thrown together and form a great group of friend-ish people (I don’t know if you know what I’m talking about, but that is one of my favourite things in books).

I would not recommend it if you’re looking for a completely original alien invasion, a romantic subplot that is super cute, or a character-driven story. It’s just not what it is.

On goodreads I gave it a 5/5, but it’s not actually perfect, so I’m giving it a 4.5/5 here.

If you’ve read the book/don’t plan to read the book/are a weirdo who doesn’t mind being completely spoiled, please do head over to my rant post!

And have a lovely day!

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18 thoughts on “Review: The 5th Wave

  1. This sounds way better than I gave it credit for. I wasn’t really planning on reading it based on the movie trailer and the hype, but after reading your review, it sounds like it has more depth. Nice review!


    1. Apologies, I found this in my spam folder. Thanks, WordPress! *rolls eyes* Anyway, yes, I was surprised by the depth of this book. Definitely one that I would recommend. Not only is it entertaining, but genuinely meaningful thematically.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I haven’t read it yet, I am afraid the sci-fi might be too much for me. I am not a huge fan of the genre, but I only heard good things about it. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I’m a huge fan of sci-fi so I can’t tell you about its appeal to people who aren’t into the genre, but I definitely think it’s one of those rare books that actually lives up to the hype.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this review! I’ve heard a lot of good things about this book, so it must worthy of the hype. I kind of want to read your rant, but I also kind of don’t want to spoil it for myself, so I’ll bookmark the page and read it when I finally get round to reading the book. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So few books live up to the hype, so I was oh so pleasantly surprised by this one. There are a few things I did not like (which I talked about in my rant post) but for the most part? It was amazing. I hope you get a chance to read it someday so you can come rant with me. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Classics are my benchmark for everything because until recently they were almost all I read. That might be why I find so many things disappointing. I need to read more recent books and broaden those benchmarks. 🙂


      1. ha – yes, broadening is good. But you could also say that because you don’t limit yourself to stuff published within the last 5 years, you’re broadening your horizons that way too

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I hear you on that. For a number of years I never read anything published later than 1920. I really think it informed my ability to appreciate good writing, and helped me weed out nonsense. Although, maybe I’d enjoy the nonsense books more if I hadn’t. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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