BOOK REVIEW | The Last Star | The 5th Wave Series

BOOK REVIEW | The Last Star (The Third Book in The 5th Wave Series)
by Rick Yancey
Review by Mark David Major

(Book blurb begins) The highly-anticipated finale to the New York Times bestselling The 5th Wave series. The enemy is Other. The enemy is us. They’re down here, they’re up there, they’re nowhere. They want the Earth, they want us to have it. They came to wipe us out, they came to save us. But beneath these riddles lies one truth: Cassie has been betrayed. So has Ringer. Zombie. Nugget. And all 7.5 billion people who used to live on our planet. Betrayed first by the Others, and now by ourselves. In these last days, Earth’s remaining survivors will need to decide what’s more important: saving themselves… or saving what makes us human. (Book blurb ends)

Apparently, multi-character/first person narratives are a ‘thing’ now (A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones series, The Expanse series, the third book in the Divergent series, and so forth). I am not sure who is to blame for this literary trend. For the multi-character perspective, probably George R.R. Martin (A Song of Ice and Fire). However, this has blended with first person/female-perspective narratives (Twilight series, The Hunger Games series and so forth) into what seems to have become the dominant form of literature today. Of course, there is nothing wrong with first person narratives. They are great for deeper, more meaningful characterizations. The problem is multi-narrative/first person narratives is all-too-adaptable for covering gapping plots holes in a story under a mask of the relativistic, ego-centric perspectives of the characters.

In fact, this is the greatest accomplishment of Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave series. The particulars of the alien invasion in The 5th Wave series does not make sense. Almost every character discusses (either among themselves or using their inner monologue) at one time or another in the series how this alien invasion does not make any sense. Some readers will appreciate Yancey’s audacity in attempting to turn the fact of all-too-apparent-nonsense from a liability into an asset within the context of the story. It forces the readers into their own ‘fight-or-flight’ decision about the trilogy, i.e. ignore the plot holes, enjoy the characterizations – which are compelling, for the most past – and fight through to the end or give up and flee the series entirely. Yancey heavily relies on the fact that a lot of his readers will be anal retentive completists (like myself), who hate to leave anything (be it a book, job, etc.) undone. This means most readers will enjoy the journey that The 5th Wave – and its concluding book, The Last Star – take us on but we will not take much away because the plot holes are so gapping, which Yancey works so hard to distract the reader from them. In the end, this is an alien invasion story without any aliens (perhaps… maybe… not sure). SPOILER ALERT! Like the Veronica Roth’s Divergent series, Yancey’s protagonist in The 5th Wave trilogy willingly pays the ultimate sacrifice to set things to right. Also, like Veronica Roth’s Four in the Divergent series, Yancey realizes at some point that his chosen protagonist is not the most interesting character, which would be Ringer in these novels. Both books series struggle under the realization of both author and reader alike.

In the end, what is The 5th Wave story about? Love conquers all? We have seen the enemy and he is us? The soul of the universe can be found in the dead eyes of a teddy bear? I am still not sure. Even the book blurb above seems confused about the matter. More importantly, I am not going to worry too much about it. Mark’s Grade:

The Last Star (The Third Book in The 5th Wave Series)
by Rick Yancey
Paperback, English, 368 pages
Speak; Reprint edition (May 23, 2017)
ISBN-10: 0142425877
ISBN-13: 978-0142425879

You can purchase The Last Star by Rick Yancey on Amazon here.

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