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The 5th Wave - Rick Yancey 4.5*!!!

I didn’t read the book blurb prior to diving into [b:The 5th Wave|16101128|The 5th Wave (The Fifth Wave, #1)|Rick Yancey|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1359853842s/16101128.jpg|19187812]. What piqued my interest was seeing bloggers receive these awesome apocalypse survival kits (with actual tampons) along with their advanced copies. I read somewhere that the publisher invested over half a million dollars in marketing and all I could think of was: this better be good. And it was. Folks, believe the hype.

Some of my favourite books don't necessarily have original plots. It's usually the something new or the fresh take that the authors do to the tried and ordinary that makes those books remarkable. While the subject of alien invasions is something I don't normally get excited about, [a:Rick Yancey|3377941|Rick Yancey|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1267926830p2/3377941.jpg]'s beautiful and skillful writing made me keep turning page after page, at least, after the first quarter of the book. I guess I had gotten used to instant “connections” after reading contemporary romances back to back, so I found the beginning to be quite slow. But every solid structure begins with a good foundation, right? And that’s what we got. Cassie, our main heroine, narrates the events leading to the invasion and her experience throughout the different stages of human eradication, or what they call the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th wave. At that point she’s all alone and on the run, so all she’s left with are her thoughts and a few paraphernalia from her past. I personally know that I’ve hit the jackpot when I’ve shed tears in the first few chapters alone, when I haven’t even begun to care for the characters yet.

It finally gets interesting for me when a second character started narrating his experience of the invasion. Who is this boy whose imminent death from the pestilence was looming and what is his role in all this? What is this organization where he is brought to? And then we get this spine-tingling-holy-mother-revelation of revelations. Wow. Just wow.

We get two other POVs after that and I’m telling you, not one character was wasted. I had my theories, and I was right about one of them. I guess only the preceding books will tell if I am right about the other one. Let’s just say that it has to do with the parallelism between Evan and a certain other character.

So let me list what I loved about this book: First, the characters. I can’t say enough good things about Cassie. She is not a person whose heart has hardened from everything she has been through. She is sarcastic and funny, and she is so, so normal. I found it so hilarious when she and Ben finally had a chance to have a normal conversation together and she blurted out, “do you remember the babies?” She is average, yet she is special. She is determined but she still gets confused. I also adored the Zombie-Nugget relationship. How cute was that? My heart breaks every time I think of how young Nugget was, but it was inspiring to read about his bravery, determination and faith in his sister. And then we have Evan, the mysterious hunter who is ever kind and caring. When we finally discover who he is, I was all, "Nope. Don't care. I'll have your dual-entity babies anytime." And THAT line? "A shark who dreamed he was a man." Gut my insides more, why don't you, Mr. Yancey.

Second, I loved how mysterious and thought-provoking the book was. The fear and paranoia were so realistically presented through the narrators' voices that even I couldn't help but second guess everyone. I thought I knew who to trust, and then another circumstance tells me otherwise, and then it's flipped again and I'm thinking, "I knew I shouldn't have trusted that person." It was just WOW. Let's just take a moment to slow clap this out, shall we?

The questions that plagued my mind throughout my reading experience were: Who do you trust? If by staying you're screwed and by running you're also screwed, what's your plan of action? Are you willing to harm or kill an innocent person to assure your own survival? Do you trust the enemy who has helped you? Or do you automatically shoot everything that's considered an enemy by default? What is humanity and what makes one human? AAAAAAAGGGGHHHHH!!! The mental and emotional turmoil you'll feel is just whew! I don't even have a word for it.

This is exactly the kind of book that I'd recommend to both kids and adults alike. It has elements of sci-fi, apocalypse and romance, and not too much of each. It's a story of freedom, of resilience and the human will to do whatever it takes. I was sold from the writing alone and I will definitely check out Mr. Yancey's other works.