Melissa’s Letter Essay #5: The Fifth Wave

5th wave cover

Recently I have finished the 460 page science fiction The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey novel recently. I really enjoyed this book because of the unique idea. The main character is a girl named Cassie (Cassiopeia) Sullivan, even though the perspectives change each part, all the other perspectives are very closely related to her and interact with her. So this is Cassie’s story told from many different angles. In Cassie’s story, there is an alien invasion but they don’t destroy the human race in one blow. They do it in waves, hence the title. The first wave knocked everyone off the grid. Anything that was electronic was no longer of any use. The second wave was geographical disasters. Tsunamis, earthquakes, etc. Then, plague. A disease that killed millions and slowly broke down the person until they went insane. Then the fourth wave, when The Others began to infest the humans and appear as the humans. No way to tell if they are humans or not. They kill the humans from the inside. Cassie has survived all 4 previous waves and believes she might be the one of the only human left on earth. Her father was killed by The Others and her mother by the disease that struck down the human race and her brother and all other children were taken by the remaining government in attempt to preserve the human race. Her only mission is to get her brother back before its too late. But who can you trust? Can you trust anyone?

I chose this book because I saw the movie trailer in theaters and i was interested when I heard it was a book so I wanted to read it before the movie came out. The movie is currently in theaters, by the way. I would give this book a 6 out of ten because it had a very good story line but the writing got very cheesy, but if you are looking for a relatively easy and interesting sci-fi book this could be a good option.

One passage that I thought was interesting was this one on page 3 of the book. I have a habit of always using the first few pages of a book as my passage for my letter essays but I always learn the most at that point.   In this scene Cassie is just beginning to tell the reader her thoughts.

“Sometimes i think i might be the last human on Earth. Which means i’m the last human in the universe. I know that’s dumb. They cant have killed everyone…yet. I see how it could happen, though, eventually. And then i think that’s exactly what the Others want me to see. So, i’m probably not the last human on the Earth, but i’m one of the last. Totally alone…and likely to stay that way until the fourth wave rolls over me and carries me down.

When i cry– when i let myself cry–that’s who i cry for. I don’t cry for myself. I cry for the Cassie that’s gone. And i wonder what that Cassie would think of me 

The Cassie who kills.”

I like this passage on the third and fourth page because it shows you a lot about what this alien invasion has done not only to the physical state of the earth but also what such isolation and loneliness can do to a young and no longer innocent and free of the stains of death and destruction, 18 year old girl.

I also liked the writing in this passage because its almost like your inside her head as she is progressing with this idea of being totally alone in the world, in the universe even! And also how fast she progresses into agree upon the fact that there is hope for other survivors and you see that although beaten, she still is optimistic.

I liked how the narrative voice shifts often but in no particular order and also doesn’t name them, you have to figure out who the speaker is based on the characters you know about. The genre is sci-fi but also has touches of realistic fiction and fantasy (Aliens and crazy needle sized spacecrafts? Don’t tell me that’s not sorcery). I wished that the author focused a bit less on the romance of the main character and more on the affects and details of the waves. Also i wish that the author did identify the perspectives because some are less obvious then others and it made it quite confusing.

That is my letter essay #5: The Fifth Wave

–Melissa Colasante

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7 thoughts on “Melissa’s Letter Essay #5: The Fifth Wave

  1. The name of the main character (Cassiopeia) stood out to me; I like irregular names in books as they seem to give the characters a more lively accent. I feel that authors too often try to use names that seem diverse to them but those types of names are also used by other writers that fancy the same types of names. I think that when I find an original name in a book that means something and has a sort of influence on how you think of the character it reflects greatly on the authors imagination. I too often read good books that are horribly boring because the writer picked a name like like Liam or Emma which, to me, seems too worn out or just boring. Also is it just me or is it funny that coincidentally her 5th letter essay is the 5th wave.

  2. Melissa-
    I read The Fifth Wave last summer and loved it. Your review does a really good job of captivating the reader and the quote you picked really showcases the kind of writing that is in The Fifth Wave. I also really appreciate the little bits of wit threaded throughout your review. Really good job!

  3. Melissa-
    I’ve been slacking on reading The 5th Wave, I have to admit. As it has become a seemingly popular book among my peers I felt compelled to try it, but then I saw the trailer whilst watching Star Wars and decided against it. I haven’t really thought about trying it again since then, but I think I might. Your passage had me really hooked. I have to agree with Sasha on the coincidence of your 5th letter essay being on The 5th Wave, but then knowing you it was probably not a coincidence and something you had planned all along. Anyways, I loved your letter essay and you did really well (as always).


  4. P.S. Mr. Jockers- I think that Cassiopeia is much more creative, plus the meaning behind the name is very interesting (Cassiopeia is a constellation named after a vain queen from Greek mythology), while Winston just means “joyful stone”. Also is it a coincidence that Winston Smith shares a name with former British prime minister Sir Winston Churchill?

  5. Melissa,

    This sounds like a really good book and I want to see the movie too. The concept is very interesting of the waves. Do you know if there are books before this that would explain the other waves? I really liked your letter essay and how you structured it. I might read this before the movie comes out.


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