Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Mini-Reviews: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey & Fall for Anything by Courtney Summers


Title: The 5th Wave

Author: Rick Yancey

Rating: DNF/2 Stars

I didn't finish The 5th Wave, but not for lack of trying, mind you. I picked this book up with great excitement, determined to love it, and while the initial chapters were delightfully creepy, as were the opening and closing lines of the consequent chapters, the middle was disastrously boring. And I hear this gets better, but I can't read this anymore. And I honestly feel terrible for saying that, especially when I make a conscious effort to read at least half of a novel before I DNF, but after a hundred pages, I simply could not turn another page.

First and foremost, if you haven't read The 5th Wave already, then please go sample the first few chapters. If the writing style works for you, then, by all means, run out and buy this book. I guarantee you will love it. On the other hand, if, like me, you're struggling to keep reading, then do yourself a favor and drop the book at once. For me, Yancey's writing style was far too tedious for me to keep up with. And I don't mean tedious in the Dickensonian sense where he writes and writes and writes. It is tedious merely because the bulk of it is composed of flashbacks when all you're truly wondering is what is going on right now. Furthermore, there is just so much extraneous information. I feel as if Yancey was trying so desperately to help us build a bond with Cassie, the main character, but all that information didn't solidify anything. Instead, what really made me like Cassie were the one-liners on morality and how humanity had changed so much since the alien invasion. And, this is a little late, but if you didn't know, this book is about an alien invasion. Actually, I lied. It's about survival and humanity - which is far more interesting - but the way this book is written just makes it come across as dull.

And, really, that is my only complaint. Okay, scratch that, it's not. I didn't actually get to the romance aspect of this novel, but I know I wouldn't have liked it because I predicted it from the start and I (a) hate when I predict events in a book and (b) it was a very cliched, coincidentally convenient, and over-done romance trope. As a character, Cassie has little to offer and the detailed re-telling of her past life did little to move me. While I cannot deny that Yancey is bursting with creativity, his idea for an alien invasion one that is absolutely stunning, it is also poorly executed. I love that there is no black and white in this book, that so much of its strength lies in that exploration of the gray area that reveals the stubbornness but also the cruelty of humanity, but without a solid story to fall back on, the philosophy in this novel was lost on me. While I won't be continuing this series, I am still excited to pick up Yancey's debut trilogy in this hopes I have more success with it than I did this latest installment.

Title: Fall for Anything

Author: Courtney Summers

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Please, please don't make me talk about this one. I can't. Fall for Anything is the type of contemporary grief novel I have been clamoring for; the type of book that is a mere snippet of time. It sucks you in from the first page and leaves you just as easily suspended at the last. Fall for Anything unflinchingly leaves no answers. It explores suicide in a manner that is painfully striking; one that reminds us all that there is no answer to this type of death. And even more startling than that, there is many a time no answer to life or the actions we take. Each of the characters in this book are boldly drawn, in lines that leave them full and developed, but obscure like a stranger we may meet as well. We see them, we feel them, we watch their transformations and even understand some of their actions, but not all of them. Never all of them.

Fall for Anything almost seems like a photograph, achingly familiar and not at the same time. Eddie, with all her real, honest, and life-like characteristics is almost painful to read about, her narration ringing true with the parts of our own selves we find hard to label and distinguish. Even the glimpses of grief that reverberated within the other characters in this novel were striking. Fall for Anything is not the fist-in-the-mouth type of read that Summers usually delivers, but this quieter, more achier kind of novel with the whispers of the past and echoes of unanswered questions is gripping in its own light. Fall for Anything is not for everyone and the lack of answers will likely frustrate many, but for those who hunt for ambiguous endings, even in the dark, this will leave you hollow.

16 comments:

  1. Keertana, I think we're kindred spirits in regards to your comments on Fall for Anything. I love reading books that illicit such powerful, base human emotions...especially grief...and Courtney Summers has such a way with making you feel. I'm so glad you liked the book!

    On the other hand, I'm sorry to see you didn't enjoy The 5th Wave! I've heard both really good and really bad things about that one, so I think I'll continue to stay away from it until the hype is down. Brilliant reviews in both cases :)

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  2. Most of the reviews for The 5th Wave I've read have been fair to gushing, so it's really interesting to read a differing opinion Keertana! It's a shame the middle was so boring for you, there's nothing worse than being bored while reading. I hate when I find myself counting the pages just to see how much I've progress I've made in getting me closer to the end:)

    I've heard great things about Courtney Summers, I still need to read her!

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  3. I've been apprehensive about The 5th Wave, since I didn't like The Monstrumologist AT ALL. I'm glad to know that if I end up not liking it I won't be the only one.

    And wow your review of Fall For Anything is beautiful! I read it when it came out, but I might be revisiting it soon!

    -Taylor @ Reading is the Thing

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  4. Even for me, The 5th Wave felt a bit empty emotionally, and I ended up liking it quite a bit. I totally see your points, it's a hit-or-miss book, but I was fascinated by the grim world and I guess it suited my mood at the time.
    As for Courtney Summers, I'm not quite there yet. I'm just getting started with Sarah Ockler and Sara Zarr, perhaps one day I'll reach this level of emotional readiness. :) I'll remember Fall for Anything then.

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  5. There's been a wild amount of buzz around The 5th Wave, so it's extremely interesting to me that you couldn't even finish this one. Although it does seem like you have good reason to do so. The writing style seems weird to me, and the main character (nor the romance for that matter) seem pretty dull. Although I'm liking the sound of the exploration of the 'gray areas' that you mention. I think this is one I'm going to have to give a try, although with lowered expectations.

    I love a good emotional read, and Fall for Anything seems like a book I need to pick up. I've been aching for a read like this, something ambiguous.

    Stunning reviews, as always, Keertana! <3

    -Aneeqah @ My Not So Real Life

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  6. Aw... too bad 5th wave didn't resonate with you. I"m still on the fence with that one. I may try the sample chapters as you suggest.

    I don't know about the next one. Perhaps when I don't need something a bit more sunny but can go to the depths... the dark depths emotionally will I pick this one up. I love how you enjoyed it though!

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  7. I haven't tried the 5th wave because of all the hype..your review has me reconsidering reading it too because i don't like too much flashbacks either.

    Like the sound of Summers book though. Thanks for both reviews.

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  8. Sad to hear that The 5th Wave didn't work for you. I have read nothing but raving reviews and immediately ordered a copy. I'm hoping that I can love it as much as others did. But I also appreciate your honest review. Thank you!

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  9. I knew all that hype surrounding The 5th Wave was too good to be true, that it couldn't possibly be perfect for everyone. Although I'm sorry you have to be one of the people that it doesn't work for, I'm glad to know that it does contain some flaws. Weird, right? But knowing people are all over the spectrum helps me better formulate my own thoughts on books. Writing style is a big thing for me too - if I don't like it or get it, it definitely affects my reading experience overall. I just received a copy from the library, so I'm curious to see what I think of this!

    Gorgeously written mini review of Fall for Anything! I've decided that I need to read all of Summers' books eventually, so this is definitely on my TBR list. I'm glad you were able to enjoy this one so much! :)

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  10. I hate to say it but I completely agree with your review for The 5th Wave. It just wasn't the thrilling read I expected. Not only was it super slow, but the flashbacks just didn't do it for me, as you said. But I REALLY hope you like his debut series! I LOVED it and that was why I was so shocked by my dislike for The 5th Wave!

    And I need to read Fall for Anything. I'm glad you loved it, and it sounds like my type of read. Great reviews, Keertana! :D

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  11. I'm sorry The 5th Wave didn't work out for you, Keertana! I really loved it but not every book works for everyone.

    I don't think Courtney Summers book would work for me because I hate open endings. Glad to see you enjoyed it.

    Wonderful reviews! :)

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  12. We've talked a bit about the Yancey book, but I am so impressed with your ability to DNF a book that isn't working for you. I'm so bad at that! I keep expecting it to get better, and sometimes it does, but often not enough for me to LOVE the story. Sorry this one didn't work for you.

    I have to admit that I'm a little terrified of Coutrney Summers, especially THIS book. Though I appreciate that it is an honest and unflinching portrait of grief, and that it parallels death - especially a suicide - which is always heartbreaking and unfinished, though also final. I think I will read THIS IS NOT A TEST, but Summers first and see how I do!

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  13. Ooooh, I'm actually really excited to see that you DNF'ed 5th Wave (sorry? I suppose that's weird), because I love seeing someone's opinion completely diverge from everyone else's. I have The Monstrumologist queued up and ready to go soon on my ipod, and I'm interested to see how I like his writing style in a different series and via audio. I also did get 5th Wave at BEA, though I don't plan to attempt reading it till I've finished his other series.

    And stop using all of the beautiful words for Courtney Summers! I loved This Is Not a Test so much, and yet I've been lax about picking up another one of her books, though clearly I need to. Even if they scare me emotionally.

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  14. I agree that The 5th Wave's writing was a little difficult but the more I pressed through, the more I began to appreciate it. I can see why others wouldn't really enjoy this.

    Super reviews, hon! <33

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  15. Ahhh, Fall for Anything! We already discussed this, but that is my ABSOLUTE favorite Courtney Summers novel. I love it so much, and I'm not even sure I can speak coherently about how much I love it. I'm SO glad you liked it as well, Keertana!

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  16. i am actually really impressed by how hard you tried to get through the 5th wave. it can't be for everyone :) and you are not a lone, a lot of my good reading buds have also not felt anything for it.

    awesome reviews (as always)

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