Learning about Forecasting from ‘The 5th Wave’

Author Rick Yancey

This post contains no spoilers and you probably won’t learn what the book is about either.

Genre – Young Adult Dystopian

The 5th Wave is not a lighthearted read.  If you are looking for something more uplifting, maybe check out the obituaries in your local paper and go to a random funeral.  Yes, this book is oozing despair, longing and fear; it has some humour, albeit dark.

The contrast of the tone and humor is best illustrated by the following two quotes:

First line –

‘Aliens are stupid.’

Best line –

‘And it occurs to me that there’s no real difference between us, the living and the dead; it’s just a matter of tense: past-dead and future-dead.’

IMG_0105Interestingly enough, the paperback version has no book blurb at all.  I guess when the book is already a New York Times Bestseller, and a well publicized movie based on the book is about to be released, you really don’t need one especially with reviews like these.

From what I could find on the internet, the earlier versions didn’t have any blurb either.  Just quotes from the book.  Interesting marketing tool…

The book is written in the first person point of view (POV) of two characters, mainly. There are other times the author slips into supporting character’s POVs but not often. This technique was effective, especially since he was able to give each a distinctive voice.

The first 100 pages is seen through Cassie’s eyes, so when the first switch happened, I was confused, but for only about half a page then I understood we were seeing the action from someone else’s POV. I won’t tell you who the other main character is–no spoilers.

I enjoy books that have strong, capable female characters.  Cassie is one of those with a sarcastic tongue. A survivor who sets a goal and will do anything–even really dumb things–to achieve those goals. Since she’s a teen, she has all the insecurities and bad decision making abilities of that age group.  This of course makes it an even more interesting read.

As a writer, I admired the author’s use of forecasting. You could just feel the ‘dread’ level inch up when you knew something really, really bad was going to happen, but you just didn’t know what.

Yancey does it through Cassie thinking back to what happened:

There was only one reason I could think of that he’d do that. And when I think about it, if I think too much about it, I start to hate my father. Hate him for distrusting his own instincts. Hate him for ignoring the little voice that must have been whispering, This is wrong. Something about this is wrong.

Yancy continues to include these snippets of hindsight to ratchet up the tension. It was very well done.

Unfortunately, I found the main characters, even with the author using first person POV, kept at a distance. I never got to the point where I cared about either of them enough to want to yell ‘It’s coming from the house!’ type of thing. I felt like I was watching them on-screen instead of being in their head and living their life with them.

I think that can happen when you have an action packed book like this one. You lose some of the emotional connection with the character because you are waiting to see how they are going to get out of this one, instead of worrying about them.

Overall, I would recommend this book.

 

 

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