I'm wavering between three and four stars with this one. I liked it, but I'm not sure it's going to match all the hype because it's not mind-blowing in any way. It doesn't really stand out in the still-growing market of post-apocalyptic YA fiction. It's, dare I say, a bit predictable.
The apocalypse has come by way of alien invasion. But not the alien invasion we have all envisioned (except we HAVE envisioned it in many sci-fi novels and movies, just not the ones alluded to in the book. It has, for example, obvious elements of The Host and The Body Snatchers and Ender's Game). First comes the first wave - a electromagnetic pulse and all electricity is out. Second is an enormous pole dropped from our upper atmosphere into a fault line, causing massive destruction on the coasts. Third is a plague spread by birds that is so terrible and gross I will describe it as Yancey-esque. Fourth is the drones, the alien snipers that search and take out the last survivors.
What is the 5th Wave? And where are the aliens?
Cassie, short for Cassiopeia, is the star of the 5th Wave, although it does have some notable secondary characters who carry scenes in either first or third person. The book unfolds as you read it, and can be described as twisty, though I don't think many of the twists are surprising. IN FACT, I was waiting for one big twist that never came (I was kind of hoping that the twist of the book would be an "it was Earth all along"/"the carousel is a lie" kind of scenario where there were no aliens and that it was some kind of human baddies carrying out the apocalypse, but looks like the aliens are real or I'm being duped by Evan's character) Anyway, the twists that come, the character reveals, the romance, and etc. are easily spotted by fans of the genre, and despite marketing efforts to convince me otherwise, the storyline is just not all that original.
But the layout and writing were well done. I like how the story is told and that we are kept at the same pace as the characters. There is a lot of action, but also time for relationship-building and a romance. (I've read other reviews say the romance isn't a big part of the book, but they're wrong. It's a big, major, honking part of the book; there's not much swooning, but it's there, like well, like most post-apocalyptic YA novels.)I like how the book ends. I believe there are sequels to come, but it would be interesting to end it just there, with kind of a play on what Cassie wants pre-apocalypse and what she gets post-apocalypse. Of course, I do want to know what happens next.