Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave has gotten buzz. Lots of buzz. In fact, so much so, that it’s been likened to The Hunger Games. Now, besides having a 16-ish female protagonist, the two books don’t really have all that much in common in terms of plot. What is obvious, though, is that The 5th Wave is a book with mass appeal, just like The Hunger Games. I mean, it’s not a revolutionary tale, there’s nothing really innovative about it, but maybe it’s the type of book that comes at the right time, who knows?
I’m not going to give away too much of the plot here. Let it suffice that it’s like Stephen King’s The Stand (love this!!) meets Ilsa J. Bick’s Ashes. The Hunger Games also didn’t have the most original of plots and much of its success was because Suzanne Collins managed to fuse together some crucial elements to come up with this explosive story at the right time: the Harry Potter and Twilight wave had come and passed and now there is a Hunger Games wave that will eventually also pass. Will the same thing come true for The 5th Wave? Only time will tell of course, but I can say that it’s really obvious it was written to have that instant (not too critical) mass appeal (also marketing… seriously, I heard numbers like $750,000!!).
And even though I read the book in no time (Yancey of course is a gifted writer, so that should come as no surprise.), I can’t say, that I was wowed by this book the way I was after reading the Monstrumologist series. Monstrumologist had that something more, that indefinable thing in a book that you instantly recognize when you come across it, but that’s so hard to pinpoint. It had horror and humor, and there was Dr. Warthrop and Will Henry, character depth, great adventurous plots, and it was so refreshing, and there was a definite and clear mark of a very gifted author at work. And I knew that The 5thWave wouldn’t be The Monstrumologist, but I’d hoped to see that spark as well: maybe in the characters, or maybe in the writing, or maybe in the setting… but I can’t really say that it was there.
Again, don’t get me wrong, I liked reading it, but there were definitely a couple of instances where I went…ouch… For one, I wasn’t really sold on the multiple point of view narration. I thought it sort of took away the attention from Cassie’s story, who I was definitely interested in. Second, and probably more disturbing than the multiple POV thing was the love story setup… First of all, Evan: just no, he’s creepy, the way Edward Cullen is creepy, so: stalkerish. So that’s a definite no. But, second, there’s a whole love triangle being set up and I swear to god, WTF, get done with the love triangles already.
Anyway, I love a good Science Fiction story once in a while, and if you throw in deadly virus thingies, well, that’s fine too. I think Yancey did a fine job mixing together some classic (or cliché…po-ta-to, po-tah-to) SF tropes, ready to be adapted to the big screen in no time (seriously, that’s how it reads), but I think I’m more impatient to read The Final Descent than I am to read the next installment of The 5th Wave… (which I will also read, of course!).