Unpopular Opinion: The 5th Wave DNF Review

June 18, 2013 Review 38 DNF

Unpopular Opinion: The 5th Wave DNF Review
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey by Rick Yancey
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: Putnam
Source: Borrowed
Pages: 457
Release Date: May 7th 2013
Series: The Fifth Wave #1
Genres: Dystopia, Young Adult
DNF Stars
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 FIFTH WAVE was, hands-down, my most anticipated book of the year.  When I saw the book trailers (one for each Wave) I knew I had to have this. Needless to say, I was incredibly disappointed, and I know I am in the minority. *Dodges tomatoes* Here’s why I gave up around page 154:

You know the expression “it was more entertaining watching paint dry”? Well I didn’t have paint to watch dry, but I sure wish I did. Instead, I spent three hours at the car dealership waiting, and I still didn’t pick this up. Yes, I picked staring at a blank wall over THE FIFTH WAVE. It’s just that boring.

There’s a girl named Cassie, Cassie for Cassiopeia-remember that-it will only be mentioned like 1000 more times. Oh, you’ll also get a backstory explaining why she has that name, why she has that nickname, and all about the constellation Cassiopeia. In addition to this completely irrelevant, useless information, you will also get various other backstories and histories in the form of flashbacks that are done in the way you almost don’t know what is a memory and what isn’t.

Heck, let’s just say the first one hundred pages are about 98.5% in the past tense. Not to mention, once we switch POVs (which is also done in a way you can’t tell and in the POV of the weirdest characters [seriously just stay with Cassie’s next time]) you also get to hear their backstories.


And you know what made all those pages of flashbacks go from mildly frustrating to absolutely intolerable? Almost no dialogue. Because everyone loves to read books that look like a dissertation.

In addition to all of this, THE FIFTH WAVE also is completely predictable and cliche. Oh, yes. There are many tropes and such hiding behind all those clunky paragraphs. The major point of predictability here (and the major source of my anger for this novel) is a (highly predictable) SPOILER. Highlight here: The Silencer, yet another POV we are privy to, is Evan Walker, the love interest. He is an alien hiding in a human body.



What a twist. I didn’t see that coming, at all. In fact, in took me all of TWO pages into the Silencer’s POV to figure out who he was!! What is this-THE HOST? Seriously! How do people think this is an, original, amazing concept? It’s basically the definition of forbidden love. Not to mention the Silencer’s extremely awkward obsession with a girl who he is supposed to kill. It’s not romantic, it’s actually kind of creepy.

Speaking of Cassie, for Cassiopeia-don’t forget-her character seemed way out of the norm. I felt like Yancey was trying to be all “here, take this awesome YA heroine -she’s badass and not like Bella or Bethany or Ever because I wrote her that way.” Now, I’m all for an author writing a novel in the POV of their opposite gender. But I shouldn’t be able to tell that the author is trying to write in the POV of a girl. Because Cassie for Cassiopeia-I hope you didn’t forget-didn’t come off as strong and competent, but she came off brutish and manly.

The exact quote that made me give up on this book is below:

“He’s looked better.”
“Like most things.”
“I assume he’s talking about the world in general, not my body.”

One last final comment, authors-teenagers do not think in acronym curse words.
Yancey, give us an example:

“God, like WTF?”

Okay, I’m done.

image image

Some of my favorite reviewers sing their praises for this book to the heavens, so I respect the fans of this book and your opinion, just as I expect you to respect mine.

Rating Report
Overall: 1.2

38 Responses to “Unpopular Opinion: The 5th Wave DNF Review”

  1. Kezia D

    Aww this is like one of my most anticipated books this year too! I’m sorry that you didn’t like it… This is actually the first negative review I ever read for this book. I’d always heard that Cassie is a kickass character… Not a manly girl so I think I know to hope for the best and expect the worst when I finally read this. I don’t like a huge chunk of paragraphs without any dialogues too, it usually makes me skip a few sentences :/

    Thanks for being honest Alise! Btw, love those GIFs!! I know this is completely off topic but where do you and Bec get those awesome GIFs? xD
    Kezia D recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday #4: Summer 2013 TBR

    • Alise

      The Intranets. Or, more specifically, the magical land of Tumblr :D

      A manly girl xD Well, I think there is a fine line there because I’ve seen so many kick ass heroines that still sound like girls. At least your expectations aren’t as high anymore lol

      • Kezia D

        Okay I may sound stupid but I’m not a native English speaker so I don’t really know what makes boys and girls talk differently in English…xD Um, in double POV cases, usually it just matters to me that their voices are distinguishable… Sometimes when I read a guy’s POV, it’s dirtier than girl’s POV so I know how to tell them apart lol. I googled this a few hours ago and found nothing so I thought I would ask you instead. I hope you don’t mind :3
        Kezia D recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday #4: Summer 2013 TBR

        • Alise

          Could have fooled me-you speak very well! :) Hmm, how to explain.. There is just more of a toughness, the voice is usually more to the point and less focused on emotions. They usually tend to sound more mature, at least in the way they tell the story-not in dialogue haha. There is just kind of an…essence I guess xD Hope that bad explanation helped :P

    • Alise

      I know what you mean, I also like to know someone out there might have the same issues with the book that I had.

  2. Kelley (Another Novel Read)

    Oh nooo! I started reading a chapter sampler of this and was enjoying it… but now that I know there’s a bunch more of the same backstory and unnecessary explaining throughout the rest of the book… argh. Don’t know what to do! Sucks that you disliked this one so much. :(
    Kelley (Another Novel Read) recently posted…Books Make Me Hungry

    • Alise

      I didn’t read the chapter sampler but if it is from the beginning of the book, just imagine those same pages continuing on for the next 100 pages. Still give this one a try-so many people like it!

  3. Mel@thedailyprophecy

    Haha, I’m sorry to hear it was so disappointing for you, but you did write an interesting review which made me laugh ;) I think some books just don’t work for us and it’s a shame when it’s a book everyone loves – and especially if you had high expectations. I’m not sure if I like the sound of this book based on your review.. I thought I would really enjoy this book based on the blurb, but I will keep this in mind. Thanks for the honesty :)
    Mel@thedailyprophecy recently posted…Review 167. Liz Coley – Pretty girl thirteen.

    • Alise

      That’s actually I good point I didn’t think of-you love it or you hate it. I didn’t realize that but you are absolutely right. Thanks for your comment :)

  4. Leigh @ Little Book Star

    LOL “Cassie, for Cassiopeia-don’t forget”! I totally get you when you choose over staring at a wall instead of reading a book that is with you.. I’ll probably skip The 5th Wave then. Knowing that there’s a bunch of flashbacks and irrelevant scenes and confusing switch of p.o.v. umm I’m pretty sure I won’t like this, at all. AND it’s so dumb explaining Cassie’s name repeatedly. That’s just redundant and UGHHHH >_< frustrating! Great review, Alise!!

    Little Book Star
    Leigh @ Little Book Star recently posted…Review: Catching Jordan (Hundred Oaks #1) by Miranda Kenneally

    • Alise

      I’d actually be very curious on your thoughts if you did read this :D If you ever do, let me know. Cassie’s name was described three times but only once in detail that I know of (I didn’t after all finish the book) :P

      Thank you!

  5. Danielle

    WOO HOO! Another person who felt like me! I was sooooo disappointed in this book! Ugh it was just so predictable, I seriously couldn’t understand the raves. I couldn’t even bring myself to rant about the book I was so un-enthused so I wrote a “It was…good” type of review just to get rid of the damn thing.
    Danielle recently posted…Cover Reveal: Immortals by Ednah Walters

    • Alise

      Yay! It’s not some lonely over here anymore lol. I’m more of a ranter so I had to get my thoughts across. xD Thanks for your comment!

  6. Bec

    I think this is the first book we’ve actually disagreed so significantly on. I really loved this. Though the relationship with Evan I didn’t like. And it was tedious reading through large chunks of back story. But I think the concepts and the thoughts it placed in my head, along with the action and revelations in the later parts overruled that for me.

    • Alise

      Yeah, I know :/ But it had to be done, we were becoming too much of the same person xD Ha. In all seriousness, maybe I would have liked it if I had continued but there were too many negatives to do so.

  7. Echo

    See, there are some things I have to disagree with. For one, I only saw the “Cassie-short-for-Cassiopeia” maybe a handful of times, if that, and it was usually interlaced with other stuff that directed attention elsewhere pretty quickly.

    For another, I think that Cassie coming off as “brutish and manly” isn’t a negative point. That’s like saying that because Cassie, a girl who just survived months of unspeakable horror, doesn’t immediately come off as the typical stereotype of a girl, then she was written incorrectly. That’s like saying that a girl can’t be a girl if she’s brutish and manly. I think the fact that she doesn’t immediately come off as a typical female is one of the best ways to show her for what she really is: a human being who doesn’t have to conform to modern day stereotypes to be correct. There are later moments where she acts like a typical 16-year-old would act, which I think were also important to help ground us with the idea that she’s not a seasoned war veteran. The overall theme I got from the book was “What is it that makes us human?” not “Here’s a young woman being kickass and “defying stereotypes” by in and of herself being a stereotype of a kickass young woman.”

    I can wholly understand the frustration with the writing style, like the backstories and the long periods without dialogue (frankly I enjoyed them, but admittedly there were huge sections later on that I skipped because nothing drew me in), and to each their own with that. The thing I find troubling is simply the “Well, I think there is a fine line there because I’ve seen so many kick ass heroines that still sound like girls.” Why does she have to “sound like a girl” to be kick ass?

    I’d rather relate to a heroine, or a hero, by their virtues and vices of being a person, not a man or woman (because what makes a man a man and vice versa tend to be based on gender roles and stereotypes anyway). I’d rather my book characters be defined by what they do, not by the way they fit into typical gender assignments. And, if I saw a kickass heroine whose major defining point was that she was admirable simply because she’s a woman who is kickass (which insinuates that otherwise women are weak because being “kickass” is breaking away from the norm), I would respond with a simple “You don’t know how to not write a stereotype.”
    Echo recently posted…A Brief(ish) Book Review: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

    • Alise

      EDITED TO ADD: You are right in the fact Cassie for Cassiopeia is mentioned less than 1000 times, like I said. That was, obviously, an exaggeration that had more to do with my exasperation for the book than the reality. (Although it was mentioned exactly three times before I got to page 150 so that is two times too much for me because it seems quite irrelevant especially after we just had to listen to the long backstory surrounding her name.)

      Okay, I’m going to try and address every point that you just mentioned here with one major key point to keep mind: this review is an opinion. An unpopular one and one that under no circumstances other people have to agree with, I just asked that people respect my thoughts as I respected theirs. Some of my best bookish friends from the Internet loved this book, even my own co-blogger. She didn’t try to argue with any of the things I hated because she knows these are just MY thoughts and what issues *I* had with the book. After all, not everyone likes the same book and that’s why I review books on here.

      Now, if you are insinuating that I am misleading my readers by saying Cassie is brutish when she is just being a strong protagonist, I must disagree. Like I said: I have read so many genuine kick ass YA heroines that have true female voices and still sound like girls. By this I meant a kick ass character (in general) that sounds like a female because that is what they are. When I imagine Cassie as a male character, her voice seems much more real because her voice and attributes seem to better match a male character than a female character. I’m all about women being equals and kick ass, this isn’t about that. I’m not hating on female characters or wanting them all to be girly girls by any means. I simply want a character to have a voice that fits the mold the author has created for them. Yancey created Cassie as a female, and yet if we were never told she was a female, I’m not sure I would ever guess that she was.

      I never said I could not relate to Cassie. I never said that I can or can not enjoy a book more because of the simple fact of some anatomical differences-I am not that shallow and I hope no one else is either. In fact, I just mentioned above that she sounded more like a male. If she had actually been a male I think I would have found that worked better and more realistic.

      Just to be clear: It is NOT Cassie’s BEING a female that bothers me, it is the fact Yancey WRITES her more like he would a male. In fact, out of all the POV switches in this book I found that all the male ones sounded just like Cassie, which means to me that Yancey might have a hard time making Cassie sound like a true female character.

      In any case, I read your review as well, and I am glad you enjoyed it. No matter what anyone is reading, isn’t it just important we are reading at all?

  8. Sunny

    First off, I want to say that I applauded when I saw your comment above ^ I completely agree. It’s your opinion and it’s great that everyone is reading no matter what they thought of something. The other, I see what you’re saying. I haven’t read the 5th Wave and am really wanting to, but I can see that I would get annoyed at the same things. Too much backstory is frustrating, the fact that Cassie sounded like a male to you would be annoying, and while I don’t curse, I sure do know that people don’t really SAY the acronyms so that would get an eye roll from me. Also the predictability. I’m really glad I read your review because 1. I enjoyed it and 2. I like reading negative reviews because then I’m warned. Besides, at least I know that if I don’t like it, I won’t be the only one :)

    • Alise

      Thanks Sunny :) I curse in my head sometimes and it sure as heck isn’t in acronyms ha. I appreciate negative reviews as well, I know what I’m going into then.

  9. Aman

    I liked The 5th Wave though there were a lot of flaws it in, the major one being no dialogues. I was getting bored with the flashbacks, so I started skimming. Plus, I think they should delete the silencer pov because that is a huge spoiler and makes the book fairly predictable. Overall, I liked the Wave concept, it was clever. I’m not very excited about the next book, but I do want to know how it ends. Sorry you didn’t enjoy it.
    Aman recently posted…Review: If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch

    • Alise

      Yeah, I should have skimmed, maybe I would have more patience for it. You are completely right, I think the Silencer’s POV did more harm than good. Thank you!

  10. Eddie

    Ouch! You must have really disliked that novel!
    I saw this book in London Drugs the other day, and i’m glad I didn’t pick it up. I cant believe Yancey wrote a novel it past-tense! How are you supposed to get “in” to a novel if its barely written in the “now”.
    Are you SURE this isn’t Historical fiction?

    • Alise

      Ah, I should clarify. There were so many flashbacks to before the aliens took over in was almost all in past tense. The novel itself it written in the here and now. Haha, yes. It is a Dystopia.

  11. tonyalee

    OH, FINALLY! I have read many, many raving reviews a few “eh” and some indifferent, but NOT ONE that didn’t like it. *high five for honesty*


    I am still undecided if I will pick it up– at least now I can go in expecting more than “JUST AWESOME”

    Great review Alise :)
    tonyalee recently posted…Review~ Untraceable by S.R. Johannes

    • Alise

      Thanks :D What I find is so weird is people either give this five stars or one star, no real in-between, and that makes me wonder if some people are just getting too caught up in the hype. Definitely still give it a shot!

  12. Bella's Shelf

    I am listening to it now & Ill be honest, I said to myself “whats the hype?” IDK if I need to focus better or I am just a dork who doesnt get it, but I dont get it. lolz.
    I am..lost. I have the book too so I may read it in print to see if I can figure out where its going wrong for me.

    Here’s my quicky recap: Beginning was dragging a bit, action scenes galore, getting interested..POV switch..HUH? Go back to Cassie! Who is this guy? Zombie? I thought they were aliens? HUH?

    Now, I have been a tiny bit distracted, but I am not THAT distracted. I wont give up, yet.

    I LOVE hosted WP Alise! Once I get the Image Alignment down Ill be happy. I cant get them to go side by side unless I use a program like PicMonkey first.
    I am considering using this Blogger Plugin I saw on Nose Grazers blog. I got the free plug in. There are so many plug ins too! I cant figure out what half are for, but the ones I have I like. Overall I am very happy I switched. I got a fab deal for hosting which prompted my switch (2.99 month) granted I am on the “Eco” plan. I have a limited monthly bandwidth. After some consultation I realized I wont even use HALF my limit per month. If I was into videos and podcasts and a lot of images, then I would of gone to the 2nd package.
    GoDaddy helped me with the domain switch, setting everything up on the host acct, etc. They are 24/7 & were a phenomenal source of support for my switch last week.
    The blog and page loads faster too. Putting the blog and posts together are extremely easy. I’d tell everyone to go for it. I am loving learning about how WP works too.

    Have a great weekend & thanks for stopping by :)
    Bella’s Shelf recently posted…Inspired by Books…

    • Alise

      BAHAHA! It’s so nice to have someone who understands. Honestly I would have thought the audiobook might have been better than the print but it appears not xD Beginning was dragging a WHOLE lot. The POV switch was pretty much my last straw. Argh.

      I have issues with the image alignment as well although if you go into add media and click on like four pictures, they will show up side by side with a space in between.

      I love all the plugins as well, makes everything so easy. I passed on the GFC plugin because I’m trying to ignore numbers and just blog for the fun of it now.

      GoDaddy did it for you, no way! I had to pay someone else to switch it for me $99 including deluxe hosting for a year. Asdfghjkl ugh. Wish I had known. Glad to hear our host has good customer service though :)

      I think mine loads a bit slower, but that might be because of the plugins, I don’t know. Did you think loading time was fast on this page?

      Thanks! You too!

      • Bella's Shelf

        I did not know there was a GFC plug in! I don’t want it! I swear that thing was stressful.
        I agree with you 100%
        (When I said blogger plugin I didn’t mean “GFC” or “Blogger”. I love “BlogLovin” actually. Plus if someone wants to they can sub by email too)

        Your page loaded fast for me. When I was just browsing around your blog I got around quickly. I am on Firefox. Normal Windows 7 laptop. I used to use Chrome but it became super laggy.

        I have 11 plug ins. I had a few more but they were a bit confusing or were not what I wanted.
        I want to set up a slideshow in my sidebar of most recent posts, books currently reading, or books read in month of June, etc. I have the image slider at the top of my homepage so I dont want a slider over-kill thing going on.
        Like a blog with 200 buttons staggered around the L&R sidebars and they either say “image deleted by Photobucket” or are 5 year old contest buttons..lolz..

        I paid for 1 year upfront (32$), I bought a WP theme for 70$, paid 15$ for install, and that’s it. GoDaddy truly went above and beyond with guidance and setting up my hosting acct. What they couldn’t physically access in their computers, they stayed on the phone with me and guided me until it was done.

        My initial hosting acct. was set up on “Windows” VS “Linux” & that made everything screwy! They sorted it out at 2am for me. lolz. The first week of the transfer I was up LATE or early working on it.

        I want to get a fancier theme, but I am getting situated & want to shop a bit. I saw one I adore but IDK yet. I may get a pretty header, grab button, and see how that works out for me.

        I want something pretty but clean/neat looking. Ya know? Not too cartoon-y. Simple but pretty font, a simple but pretty design, etc.

        Anywho. I gotta work on a few posts and see if something is good on HBO tonight.
        Bella’s Shelf recently posted…Inspired by Books…

        • Alise

          Oh, that’s good news. Maybe it’s all in my mind O.O

          I have 12 plugins but I also want a slideshow or slider. I don’t think it would be too much going on if you had both, as long as the currently reading one wasn’t that flashy. I think your site looks great right now! Love your big slider.

          Yeah, I used to load up my sidebars with all the buttons lol.

          I didn’t like my original theme either so after TONS of searching I think I found one I really like :) I always have the urge to change up my blog.

          Yeah I know what you mean, that’s why I do my own stuff lol

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