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Kate Bond

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The 5th Wave

The 5th Wave - "The Passage meets Ender's Game" is a pretty bold way to market a new science fiction novel. Those are two of the best-written and -loved modern novels of the genre, and inviting comparison to them is... I don't know. This may have been a five-star book for me had my expectations not been set so high by the publisher's blurb. The storylines here aren't as brilliantly interwoven as those in [b:The Passage|6690798|The Passage (The Passage, #1)|Justin Cronin|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327874267s/6690798.jpg|2802546], and the comparison to [b:Ender's Game|375802|Ender's Game (Ender's Saga, #1)|Orson Scott Card|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1364033163s/375802.jpg|2422333] seems to be due entirely to the brutal training of children to battle aliens. This book lacks the crucial piece that made Ender such a tragic work of fiction--that punch-in-the-gut of a twist at the end.There are also some bizarre editing mistakes. I can't share most of them because they're super spoiler-y, but a good example of one that angers me because it makes me feel pandered to falls on page 97:Then everybody left, except one female soldier, who was kneeling beside the gray globe.Followed by, two paragraphs later:The remaining soldier stood up and trotted back to the Humvee. I watched him climb aboard.Him. I watched him climb aboard. The female soldier. The only female soldier shown up to this point in the book.There are also a few examples of people knowing things they could not possibly know unless they read minds (I'm not confused about Silencer or Wonderland), and while I can normally overlook that sort of thing, it's annoying when it happens in a book where there is a lot of built-in duplicity and A MACHINE THAT READS MINDS. It makes for an unfair mystery. Or WOULD make, I guess, if there were any surprises here at all. I feel a little weird about including spoiler tags in this review because absolutely nothing that happens in this novel comes as a surprise. The conceit of calling a character by a made-up name like "Zombie" and then revealing his real name at the end of the chapter might have worked if the real identity of the character weren't so patently obvious. And more than one section of the book is structured this way.I really did enjoy this novel; the characters are a lot of fun, and the plot follows the expected paths of the genre--but it never really rises above other recent alien invasion-themed science fiction offerings like TNT's Falling Skies.My hope for this series is that the next book will head somewhere completely unexpected and beautiful (I feel very invested in the fate of Evan in particular. I really grew to love him. Like, really a lot. I didn't understand the relationship between him and Cassie at all, but I liked him a lot. So.) , and that it will manage to pass the Bechdel Test, and that the author and editors will take the time to really get it ready instead of rushing it out the door, as it feels they did with this one. I'd also like to see this series do something plot-wise that I haven't seen in other science fiction offerings. Because it really is a lot of fun. An awful lot of fun. But it's no The Passage or Ender's Game, no matter what [a:Justin Cronin|45315|Justin Cronin|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1291156119p2/45315.jpg] says in The New York Times.