The Infinite Sea (5th Wave) Hardcover – 16 Sep 2014
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Praise for The Infinite Sea"Heart-pounding pacing, lyrical prose and mind-bending twists . . ."--The New York Times Book Review "Impressively improves on the excellent beginning of the trilogy."--USA Today "An epic sci-fi novel with all the romance, action, and suspense you could ever want."--Seventeen.com *"This gut-wrenching sequel to The 5th Wave careens on a violent course of nonstop action."--Publishers Weekly, starred review *"A breathless, grueling survival story . . . . Yancey's prose remains unimpeachable--every paragraph is laden with setting, theme, and emotion."--Booklist, starred review "A roller-coaster ride of a sequel."--Kirkus Reviews "It doesn't just move the story forward, but even opens up new possibilities in the previous book." --Geekdad.com
About the Author
Rick Yancey (www.rickyancey.com) is the author of the New York Times bestseller The 5th Wave, The Infinite Sea, several adult novels, and the memoir Confessions of a Tax Collector. His first young-adult novel, The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp, was a finalist for the Carnegie Medal. In 2010, his novel, The Monstrumologist, received a Michael L. Printz Honor, and the sequel, The Curse of the Wendigo, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. When he isn't writing or thinking about writing or traveling the country talking about writing, Rick is hanging out with his family.
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In this book Ringer takes the lead role. She narrates most of the book especially the second half of it. We learn more about Even and Pound Cake as well. Ben/Zombie and Cassie are relegated to more support characters in this book. The still tell parts of the story but other characters have their time to shine, where as others others try to find answers to what are the Others actually after. Why the games/waves? Why not just wipe us out? I admit I was cheering along with a couple of moment in the books where characters would just not back down. This book starts with a bang and just keeps gaining momentum from there. The book also leaves the readers and characters with more theories and questions than actual answers. As much as I find some of the book disturbing, but definitely compelling.
"How do you rid the Earth of seven billion humans?
Rid the humans of their humanity..."
I adore The 5th Wave, the first book in this alien-invasion trilogy. It's damn near young adult perfection. The Infinite Sea is no slouch as a sequel, but it's a mixed bag. Certain parts are phenomenal with their content and execution, while others severely impact the story's flow and cohesion.
The post-apocalyptic landscape and atmosphere are both still there. The ongoing battle is still a smorgasbord of action, misdirection, and intimate insanity. New developments shift the overall understanding of the world, and the characters leading the way are fantastic fellows.
All in all, a solid, surreal sequel.
Synopsis (Not a copy from the book, but I always keep my interpretations close.)
Cassie, Sam, Ben and the squad are hunkered down, licking their wounds after their explosive assault of an alien compound.
But the war is far from over.
They haven't even made a dent.
Awaiting the return of an ally, the group tries to plan their next move, namely a way to survive the impending winter.
But distrust has been sown deeply into their hearts, and when the unthinkably heartbreaking happens, it sets off a series of events that'll rock the survivors to their core.
Everything they thought they knew is about to be destroyed and rebuilt.
Everything they've survived is about to look like child's play...
Plot - 3.5/5 Stars
The Infinite Sea gives us a mysterious start that transitions into a mind-blowing twist. It's rapid and unforgiving, setting the story up with aplomb. It easily sets the tone, driving home to the reader that themes of survival and morality are going to be massive parts of the journey ahead. And much like the previous entry, they are. Yancey nails the post-apocalyptic feel, surprising the reader with thoughtful questions that force us to face the reality of what we'd do in such a drastic landscape.
From there, though, things dramatically drop off. Whereas The 5th Wave has a slow, steady structure that is emotive and focused, The Infinite Sea tries too hard to replicate it while speeding things up a little. There are bouts of chaotic action that send your heart racing, only for long periods of contemplation and repetition to overshadow it.
It's also very stationary, spending large parts in static places. There are a few fantastic developments and twists, but not all of them build well.
We are treated to a nice, climactic, action-packed end that will no doubt have you running for the final entry, so the slow-burning elements aren't entirely useless.
Pace - 3/5 Stars
The Infinite Sea blasts off, then slows down, then, with intermittent scenes of chaos, blasts off. 3/4 of the way through left me infuriated, though. The pace ratchets down to a near stop, and while it does build an impressive climax, certain chapters can be a slog. It's this inconsistency that sometimes fractures the plot, helped along by things I'll elaborate on when it comes to the writing.
Characters - 4/5 Stars
I love this series' cast of characters. They're dark, haunting, and complex. Each is distinctive and engaging, whether you hate or love them. Cassie is my favourite. She's a wonderful protagonist that I feel is underutilised in this entry. She's funny, tough, intelligent, resilient and, despite her best efforts, vulnerable. The rest are integral too, offering the novel unique elements that are never wasted.
Development is a little murky across the board, and relationships, both romantic and platonic, don't really face anything they haven't already faced. But it's a strong collection of characters, so I'm hoping the final book does them better justice.
Writing - 3/5 Stars
Yancey's writing is lyrical. It's smooth and often beautiful, conveying scenes and emotions with vivid detail that rivets the reader. The philosophical aspects of the story provide some intense thought and comedy is portrayed with great timing and wit.
But, The Infinite Sea is a novel that sometimes loses itself in its own eagerness. It prefers to show rather than tell. A good technique, usually. With its lyrical prose and philosophical awareness, the reader is often left confused by what the author's intentions are. Answers don't always come easily and the nuance can be a bit extreme. The disjoint is further aided by the whiplash-inducing switches in character viewpoints. We also haphazardly switch from first-person to third, present tense to past, and while, overall, I'd say things aren't too badly affected, it can be frustrating.
Overall - 3.5/5 Stars
You can't argue with how exciting an alien invasion with a post-apocalyptic backdrop is, and The Infinite Sea proves that. Despite its flaws it's thoughtful, engaging, and emotive. There are worse middle novels to trilogies, and I cannot wait to pick up the final entry for this series.
I apologise if this review is all over the place, it's been a long day and I'm absolutely knackered. I was hoping I'd be more cohesive, but hopefully I've managed to express how I feel.
Until next time, folks!
A lot of the focus this time was on Ringer, fleshing her out and giving her more of a backstory and role to play. She was an interesting character, though I still think there’s more to be revealed about her. She acted like she didn’t care, but she actually cared a lot, I think. I also had a personal win moment with her when I guessed her heritage based on her real name (and then proceeded to picture the girl I went to school with who had that same name for the rest of the book). She had a really long part that was all mind games, and while it added to her character and the story’s long game, it was a bit of a slow read.
The weird thing about this book for me was that Ringer and Cassie were very different, but I was able to relate to both of them. Part of me is as pessimistic (we prefer to refer to ourselves as “realists”) as Ringer (basically me in real life), while the other part (the hopeless romantic reader part) wants to trust in love. I like that Yancey was able to create these complex and relatable characters that could represent different parts of ourselves.
The world-building was, as with the first book, very good. The book is pretty depressing, and Yancey crafted the setting and the mood so well to really put you in the same frame of mind, questioning what the point of it all is. I felt like I was right there in the scenes, witnessing and feeling the same combinations of anger, despair, apathy and fleeting moments of hope. I mean, I’m not even joking when I say I can completely understand the logic for the Others behind exterminating humans. When we move into a home, don’t we get rid of pests? Just saying…
The plot was fairly low-key for most of the book. To be fair, this was appropriate given that it played on human fears, anxieties and weaknesses more than cheap action scenes and gore. The point of this book was less about getting your heart pounding and more about completely messing with your head. The last 20% particularly screwed me up. So much was revealed that had me going to my best friend (who'd already read it) with unintelligible, all-capped exclamations.
Overall, I thought the book was slow in parts but ultimately a great read if you don’t necessarily want something happy and easy. Though I liked Cassie in the first book, I know a lot of people didn’t, in which case they might appreciate her relative sparsity in this book. The big reveals in The Infinite Sea have left me grasping for The Last Star, which has thankfully come out as of last month!