Series review: The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave 01) and The Infinite Sea (The 5th Wave 02) by Rick Yancey

Synopses (from Goodreads):

The 5th Wave

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.

The Infinite Sea

How do you rid the Earth of seven billion humans? Rid the humans of their humanity.

Surviving the first four waves was nearly impossible. Now Cassie Sullivan finds herself in a new world, a world in which the fundamental trust that binds us together is gone. As the 5th Wave rolls across the landscape, Cassie, Ben, and Ringer are forced to confront the Others’ ultimate goal: the extermination of the human race.

Cassie and her friends haven’t seen the depths to which the Others will sink, nor have the Others seen the heights to which humanity will rise, in the ultimate battle between life and death, hope and despair, love and hate.

My impressions:

I could have summed up those two parts of a three-part series (the last book is already available as far as I know but I haven’t read it, details below) in such a way: not bad but I’ve read better. Especially: I’ve read better texts penned by the same author. Which is a bit sad.

If you are following my blog for a shorter period of time you might not have had a chance to read my quite improper and gushing reviews of the Monstrumologist series. Appropriate links are added below so you can watch Ana salivating over a YA novel with your own eyes ;p. Perhaps a mix of history and fantastic creatures works for me better than a mix of futuristic dystopia and incorporeal aliens. Perhaps I am older now.

Ok, let me be succinct for a change and list things that worked for me and which I found not exactly great. The evident pro was the lack of any love triangle. I did fear I might encounter that one as they plague similar series (Twilight, Hunger Games and many derivatives). Fortunately the author managed to avoid it and I am very grateful for that. Also I admit the pacing and the narration were very skillfully done – each of those books I started and finished in one evening. Still bear in mind Yancey is hardly a rookie storyteller so I expected nothing less.

Now the cons. At first I liked the aliens; who wouldn’t like lovely owls peeking into your room, I ask you? Then I changed my mind. They proved to be as stupid as their victims, supernatural powers or not, and I did expect something far better. Similar thing can be said about Cassie (Cassiopeia) the main protagonist, a girl fighting to survive while protecting her younger brother, Sammy (Samuel) and his precious teddy bear. I should have been rooting for her but after the first part of the first book she became simply annoying with her ‘I-am-so-lonely-and-I-don’t-trust-anyone-but-I-have-to-trust-someone-and-Evan-Walker-is-gorgeous-so-why-THE-HELL-not? There was simply no character development in her case, just a healthy dose of whining. I do wonder – why? If she is supposed to be an example of the best, the brightest and the bravest kid who was able to survive several waves of apocalypse then really the humankind is better off extinct.

As I’ve already mentioned Evan Walker (SPOILER, highlight to read or skip) the humane alien extraordinaire who falls in love with Cassie because he couldn’t kill her, I must say he was the biggest disappointment of the entire series. Let’s face it: he could have been a real star. Heck, he could have carried the whole series for me. And yet he didn’t. He was reduced to a quite useless heart-throb, spurting out infodumps from time to time and saving Cassie and her friends when the situation demanded it. Because our intrepid heroine needed saving like all the time and of course it had to be done by somebody handsome *rolleye* and manly and wise *le sigh*. Preferably two someones. Yes, it was that close to a fortunately non-existent love triangle.

In the second part Cassie was superseded by another girl, Ringer (Marika). Did it change anything? Yes, for worse. Ringer was almost painfully schematic. After every twist and turn, even those really nasty ones (not spoiling, not spoiling) she somehow remained the same old Ringer. And of course she had to whine because, you see, her daddy used to be an alcoholic and he was dead because of her.  And of course, kick ass or not kick ass, she had to be saved by a manly-man teenage soldier called Razor. It was not even a bit surprising she and Cassie became all of a sudden similar and, as you guess, I wasn’t impressed. I mean what’s the point of introducing a new character with a new POV when you make her/him act, think, speak and reason like the old one? Just for the variety’s sake?

Add to that the fact that the second book ended with a cliffhanger constructed almost like the one from the first part (the same people involved, the same ‘will they survive?’ question left unanswered) and I bet you are not surprised I am not going to read the third, and the last installment. Without lovely owls I am not that curious what will happen to the humankind. In fact I might be rooting for the aliens now.

Final verdict:

After a nice, solid beginning with a lot of potential everything went south. I expected something better. MEH.

Rating icon. A hairless cat is wearing a santa hat and a sour expression. On the hat reads: meh.

Other, better books by Rick Yancey reviewed on this blog:

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6 Responses to Series review: The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave 01) and The Infinite Sea (The 5th Wave 02) by Rick Yancey

  1. blodeuedd says:

    And I planned to read it one day

  2. Carole Rae says:

    It was meh for me. Not horrible, but not the best thing I read. I do not plan on reading #2. So kuddos to you!

  3. heidenkind says:

    Hm idk. I was intrigued by the “beguiling and mysterious Evan Walker” part.

    • Imagine a character that could have been great but is being reduced to a personal bodyguard of one of the leads and a convenient source of infodumps when other characters have to know something more about aliens and you’ll get Evan Walker.

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