Why I am reluctant to finish “The 5th Wave”


Marissa Finger

“The 5th Wave” cover is more creative than the content within.

You’ve probably heard of The 5th Wave–the new movie that just came out in January and is about an apocalyptic sci-fi world. Well, if you have gone to see it or have been watching TV during commercials, you have probably seen it is also as a book by author Rick Yancey.


The 5th Wave follows Cassie Sullivan, Sammy Sullivan, and Ben Parish a few months into an alien discovery. The aliens, also named The Others, have arrived in the atmosphere of Earth and have sent four waves down to eradicate the planet of human existence: worldwide EMP strike, tsunami waves to take out the coasts, a disease spread by birds, and some humans are basically replaced with alien instincts and intelligence to downsize the population.


I decided to read The 5th Wave when my friends and I saw the movie previews while watching The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part Two. The movie looked good–I just made the assumption that an apocalypse with aliens would be a great concept. I’m not saying it isn’t, but I just feel like Rick Yancey didn’t portray the genre like he could have.


Romance was a large contributor to the plot. It seemed like the romantic parts were there to make the story good when it just stopped everything in its tracks and made me think I was reading some romance novel instead of apocalyptic thriller. A lot of the characters had to have a counterpart or a big, romantic interaction with one of the main characters: girl gets shot in the leg, girl gets found by the person that shot her, he saves her, later they kiss, she finds out, more smooching, and finally he decides his main priority in life is to be beside her. It all just seems too cliché.


A big factor of my reluctance to actually finish the last few chapters of the book is character development. Spoiler: there isn’t really any. Cassiopeia “Cassie” Sullivan may become this really kickbutt character, but she still thinks and acts the same before any of the extraterrestrial happenings began–just with added umph in her decision making skills.


Then, there is Ben Parish, who all in all says he changes into Zombie (his identity after the waves and after he is put into a military ‘boot camp’), but like Cassie his motivation doesn’t change. He is still a jock but with no team and he is still widely attracted to girls. However, he becomes more of a leader and I do like his character.


That brings us to Sammy. I do really appreciate this character. He’s really young so you can see his character actually change and develop into a small adult character.Towards the beginning half of the book, though rarely mentioned, he is as regular of a kid as they get. Slowly, the waves start to happen and he finds out what really is happening to the world around him. I think he really gets it during the third wave when people start getting sick and he loses someone close to him, but it is in a way that makes it easy to understand. He still has that little kid spirit and body but his mind opens up to the events and helps him progress as a character.


It isn’t that I don’t like the book or the concept. I’m just really scared to pick the book up and find one more romantic and unnecessary scene or another horribly decided decision by a character. I tip my hat to Rick Yancey. He’s a good writer, but maybe he should actually write science fiction and not romantic fiction in a apocalyptic world.