One of my biggest complaints about post-apocalyptic books is that authors often do not spend enough time developing the world in which their characters live. This certainly is not the case with The 5th Wave. Rick Yancey did an outstanding job setting up the premise of the story and explaining how the first 4 waves changed the world forever. The author was able to take an inconceivable event and make it feel real. The beginning of the story was awesome, wonderful, captivating....I could go on and on with the praise, so I'll stop now.
As far as characters go, however, I feel conflicted. I have a love/hate relationship with Cassie. Given the amount of death she has witnessed and the hopelessness she feels about the future, it is realistic that she feels sullen, bitter, and angry. One of Cassie's best qualities is her resilience. There is one point in the story when she is injured and instead of running away, she turns to face the danger lurking a short distance away. In a fight or flight situation, most people would choose flight. Cassie doesn't and I really like that about her.
What I don't like is her relationship with Evan Walker. He's creepy. Seriously stalker creepy. But Cassie needs to trust him for some reason, even though every instinct she has (rightly) tells her to get away from him. It's clear that Evan is hiding something. When she discovers what he is keeping from her, she refuses to kick his ass to the curb. Why?!? Because he's attractive and is the first guy to pay attention to her. He has chocolate brown eyes that would apparently melt the hearts of women everywhere. Whatever. A lot of people are good-looking. What other wonderful qualities does Evan possess? I cannot find a single positive thing to say about him. I don't understand why a tough, no-nonsense girl like Cassie could develop a romantic attachment to this guy. Please explain it to me because it doesn't make any sense.
Then there are the kids at Camp Haven.Ringer is an intriguing character. I think she and Cassie have a lot in common and their interactions together will be fun to read in future books. Cassie's brother, Sam, is a cute kid. My heart broke for him several times. It's hard not to sympathize with a five year old. He somehow retains his innocence, which seems somewhat unrealistic given the horrors he has seen. For Cassie, he represents what remains of goodness and hope in the world. I didn't care for Sam's limited narration, but I like this kid a lot. Finally, there's Ben Parrish, who is one of the other dominant narrators of the story. I honestly don't have much to say about him. I don't dislike Ben, but the verdict is still out on his character. The one thing connecting Cassie and Ben is their mutual desire to protect Sam. A romance could develop between them, but a huge part of me hopes it doesn't happen. While I'm not Evan's biggest fan, I'm not too sure I understand Cassie's childhood crush on Ben either. Ben is another hot, vain, and self-absorbed boy. I see a pattern here and I don't like it one bit.
My ramblings are somewhat negative, so I want to reiterate that I liked this book. It's not perfect and the story dragged on a bit during certain sections, but the world-building is stellar and the plot engrossing. I'm glad I read it.