The 5th Wave: Book 3 – The Last Star (Book Review)

The Last Star is the third and final novel in Rick Yancey’s 5th Wave trilogy for young adults.

…warning: potential spoilers for those not already familiar with books 1 and 2…

Check out my review of book one, The 5th Wave here, or book two, The Infinite Sea via this link.

Continue reading “The 5th Wave: Book 3 – The Last Star (Book Review)”

Advertisements

The 5th Wave: Book 2 – The Infinite Sea (Book Review)

The Infinite Sea is the second novel in the 5th Wave trilogy from science fiction writer Rick Yancey.

 

***warning: this review may contain spoilers for those not already familiar with book 1, The 5th Wave***

Continue reading “The 5th Wave: Book 2 – The Infinite Sea (Book Review)”

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey (Book Review)

The 5th Wave is a science fiction novel from writer Rick Yancey and is the first book in the 5th Wave trilogy to become a major motion picture, recently released in cinemas.

 

Wave 1 – An electromagnetic pulse that wipes out all of the planets power and electronic devices

Wave 2 – Destruction by tsunami

Wave 3 – Infection via birds

Wave 4 – Alien invasion

Wave 5 – We Fight Back!

 

The Rules:

1 – Don’t trust anyone

2 – To stay alive is to stay alone

 

Cassie Sullivan, a sixteen year old survivor of the first four waves of the alien invasion is possibly all that is left after she loses her family to this apocalyptic tragedy. She must remain alone if she wants to survive, because there is only one rule that can protect her now: trust no-one.

But when she meets Evan Walker everything changes. He saves her life, and she saves him by giving his life purpose and meaning. Together Cassie and Evan keep each other safe, and alive. But can she really trust him? Is he really who he claims to be?

Meanwhile, an army of uninfected children are being trained for the war.

 

Favourite Quotes:

Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vosch (quoting Stalin): “A single death is a tragedy; a million is a statistic.” (p128)

 

“We’re here, and then we’re gone, and it’s not about the time we’re here, but what we do with the time.” – Evan Walker, (p178)

 

The 5th Wave is a story full of courage and hope against the worst odds imaginable. Aliens have invaded Earth, their intention: to make our planet their home. But in order to do so, they must neutralise the human race.

The book begins at the end of the 4th wave and is a little confusing when it jumps back and forth between present day and the past, or between the viewpoint of one person and that of another. However, eventually we reach a period of cohesion and the story starts to make a bit more sense.

Unfortunately there are a few areas that to me don’t quite seem logical, though I am loath to discuss them here for fear of spoiling the story.

Despite those occasional little niggles that I am unable to comprehend I did enjoy this interestingly unique take on the invasion genre and give the book 4 out of 5 stars, but I’m not sure that the story actually reached any real conclusion. Maybe this was intentional in order for the author to release his story as a trilogy, but even separate novels should have some sort of cohesive end that fits the overall arc of the book.

Those interested can check out The 5th Wave on Amazon.co.uk here.

 

 

See also:

Book 2 – The Infinite Sea

Book 3 – The Last Star

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (Book Review)

Station Eleven is a science fiction post-apocalyptic survival story from Emily St. John Mandel. The premise is of a flu epidemic that rips through Toronto, Canada, very quickly and killing anyone who comes into contact with it.

The book begins with a riveting narrative (see sentence above) in which an actor named Arthur dies while performing a Shakespearian play onstage. It then follows Jeevan, a trainee paramedic and member of the audience as he discusses the flu epidemic via telephone call with his friend Hua, who works in a hospital. After that, the story becomes a jumble of different plotlines that drift back and forth and sideways, with no real direction or meaning.

There’s a Travelling Symphony composed of various actors and musicians, most of whom don’t even use real names, instead being called third cello, the clarinet, sixth guitarist etc. The book also narrates prior details of Arthur’s life before the flu epidemic, and brief accounts of his ex-wives and close friends during the early days of the outbreak. But things only begin to get interesting about 70% of the way through the book, and even then it’s just a temporary respite from the monotony.

Currently, I can’t quite remember what prompted me to read this book. I think I saw a review online, or a recommendation somewhere that piqued my interest. However, it wasn’t really worth bothering with. I persevered to the end, mostly just to see if the book improved or if the individual elements later came together to make proper sense. Sadly, this didn’t really happen, and there wasn’t any real conclusion as such. At 1 out of 5 stars I found the novel to be dull, disjointed and nonsensical. My advice, best avoided, however should anyone wish to check out Station Eleven you can find it on Amazon.co.uk here.

Hunger Games: Book 2 – Catching Fire (Book Review)

Midway through the year between the 74th Annual Hunger Games and the 75th or Quarter Quell, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark, the joint winners of the most recent event must now embark on the Victor’s Tour.

However, Katniss’s defiance in the arena which led to the Capitol announcing two joint victors for the very first time in the history of the games, is on the verge of inciting an uprising or revolt. President Snow has warned Katniss that she must use the tour as a means to quench the spark and convince the District’s that her actions were simply those of a terrified young girl in love, and not an act of rebellion.

Unfortunately, she fails in her task and as the 3rd Quarter Quell or 75th Annual Hunger Games approaches, President Snow has a shocking announcement:

 

“On the 75th anniversary, as a reminder to the rebels that even the strongest among them cannot overcome the power of the Capitol, the male and female tributes will be reaped from their existing pool of victors” (p128)

 

Katniss must now return to the arena and once again, fight for her life in the Hunger Games.

 

Catching Fire is the second novel in the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. In a similar manner to the preceding novel The Hunger Games, Catching Fire focuses its main bulk on the monotonous lead-up and preparations for the big Hunger Games event, as well as the uprisings or sparks of rebellion that Katniss Everdeen has unexpectedly ignited. As a result it takes over two thirds of the book for the actual games and of course the real action of the novel to begin. In truth, the hunger games are so brief that what entertainment value it provides is extremely limited, since it lacks excitement and also in what little confrontation and bloodshed that even the original Hunger Games novel failed to provide.

However, unlike last time we are actually introduced to the vast majority of the other competitors, including their names as well as detailed descriptions. While this is a huge improvement it is not enough to convince me that this is in any way a successful trilogy, especially not now that the story has mutated into one of pure war. My rating is just 1 out of 5 stars, however anyone interested can check out Catching Fire via Amazon.co.uk here, if they wish to do so.

 

See also:

Book 1 – The Hunger Games

Book 3 – Mockingjay

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Book Review)

By now most people are probably familiar with Suzanne Collins Hunger Games novels, and since I’m not exactly a fan of the movies I put off reading these books for a long, long time. However, I have always been a firm believer that novels can convey much more depth, detail and emotion than a feature film, and as such I have finally bitten the bullet and chosen to read these novels.

 

For those not already familiar with the story, the Hunger Games is a savage entertainment event hosted by a totalitarian Capitol, in which 24 tributes, one male and one female from each of the twelve outlying districts, are chosen by a form of lottery to compete against each other inside an arena until only one of them remains alive.

 

As already mentioned I watched the film, long before embarking on this novel, and my main gripe with the movie was that it took a very long time to reach the crux of the story, instead choosing to focus more on all of the boring background preparations that led to the event itself. Much to my immense irritation the book is even worse, as over a third of the entire novel is taken up by these same events.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, the whole novel is told entirely from Katniss Everdeen’s frame of reference alone. We are never formally introduced to any of the other competitors, or provided with much real information on them, including their names, and their deaths are just glossed over, as if they are pointless and irrelevant side-notes. As a reader we are given nothing to warm us to the other tributes, and as such we don’t really care much what happens to anyone except for Katniss. And maybe Peeta, thanks to the annoyingly fake romance that blooms between them.

Once again however, I find myself shaking my head at this crazy insistence that a good dramatic love story, is the best, and possibly fastest way to a great novel. Because, honestly, it’s really not. I don’t want to read The Hunger Games for its sappy romance, I want to enjoy it for the tense and exciting action. I want to care about the characters, I want to root for an unlikely winner, to bite my nails with the anticipation of what mayhem will happen next.

Unfortunately, The Hunger Games, aside from being a blatant, toned-down rip-off of the Japanese Battle Royale, is an extremely long-winded and incredibly boring romance novel, in which very little of relevance actually happens. Although slightly better than the film, at just 2 out of 5 stars I really couldn’t wait for this overly stretched out story to end, and in my opinion it should have ended with just one winner.

 

Those who haven’t already can pick up a copy of The Hunger Games via Amazon.co.uk, if they so desire.

 

See also:

Book 2 – Catching Fire

Book 3 – Mockingjay

Wayward Pines: Genesis (Book Review)

Genesis is a Wayward Pines Prequel by Steven Konkoly. Steven builds on Blake Crouch’s original Wayward Pines series, by crafting a story which aims to answer some of the burning questions left behind by the original trilogy. Mainly, how did David Pilcher create the fenced off town of Wayward Pines in the first place, with all those abbies surrounding the Superstructure.

 

Genesis begins with David Pilcher and his elite crew emerging from the suspension pods, to discover that they are all that is left of humanity. With the help of Adam Hassler, Pilcher begins his massive project to recreate the town of Wayward Pines, by constructing the 12 foot electrified fence that will eventually surround and protect the idyllic little town.

Steven Konkoly does such a great job with this novel that had I not read his name on the front cover of the book, I wouldn’t have known that Genesis wasn’t actually written by Blake Crouch himself. It remains true to the original series in every way imaginable, and is a fantastic addition to the world of Wayward Pines. This book is perfect for old fans already familiar with either Blake’s series, or the TV adaptation, as well as for unfamiliar newbie’s who are looking for an introduction to the story.

There were one or two points that I noticed didn’t correlate with the original novels, but these were extremely minor issues that most others wouldn’t notice, and which aren’t overly relevant. Otherwise, this is a great book, if a little short. At 5 out of 5 stars I would highly recommend Genesis, and you can pick up a copy from Amazon.co.uk here, if you so wish.

 

Those who haven’t already done so can watch the trailer for the Wayward Pines TV series here:

 

Or check out my reviews of Blake Crouch’s original Wayward Pines trilogy here:

Book 1: Pines

Book 2: Wayward

Book 3: The Last Town