Book Review: The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey
The action in this sequel to The 5th Wave is much more compact; the events for a little more than half the book take place over a few days with the timeline expanding in the latter portion. Yancey continues to write sections from various character's points of view. Overall, though, he uses events from the first half of the book to contribute to the character development in the second part of Ringer, a character we were introduced to in The 5th Wave. Surprisingly, I liked this second installment of the 5th Wave series more than the first book.
The opening scene is chilling. The grim tone makes me wonder about the possibility for human survival in this war, and question what the cost may be for the humans who survive the longest. What might they be willing to do to protect their own?
In addition to answering a key plot question about the alien use of children in this war, the toddler involved in the opening scene may be a relative of a named character. I think, perhaps, Yancey provides us with the information that the child is a male toddler in order for us to connect that toddler with information Poundcake will provide. The fact that Yancey keeps all these points vague makes me feel much more immersed in this world. I know as little as the main characters.
The next section involves Ringer, one of the teen soldiers who had been part of the 5th wave. She's clearly another strong female protagonist. Therefore, she butts heads with Cassie. When I read some of the verbal clashes between Ringer and Cassie, I groaned. Do we really need to read some girl versus girl argument? Seems stereotypical. However, Ringer was asking some logical questions, which Cassie had no logical answer for. Therein lies the key. Ringer has to learn a lesson about logic.
Finally, Yancey gives us Cassie's story. Thankfully, he tones down the teenage romance subplots. Instead he throws us into survival planning sessions. Cassie and the group of 5th wavers have escaped Camp Haven and they're trying to identify a real haven. While Ringer has left to scout out a possibility, the rest of the group has to deal with more than one visitor stumbling upon their location. Are these visitors really stumbling, though? Alien details get revealed here.
In the last third of the book, Ringer re-emerges. By far, this section enthralled me the most. I read the first two-thirds of the book in about three sittings, but this last section I plowed through in one.
Since I don't wish to spoil the book for anyone, I'll merely write a few vague observations.
Ringer has an edge about her born from family dysfunction. She didn't grow up with the same set of suburban problems that Cassie did. Through Ringer's storyline, several questions about alien motivations are answered. There was even a romance subplot...so minor that I didn't pay much attention to it. Until I realized how critical that romance was. And thank you, Mr. Yancey for writing a romance subplot that actually makes a point and contributes to moving your story forward both on a plot level and thematic level!
I'm truly looking forward to the next book in this series. And given the expansion of the point of view characters in this sequel, I think Yancey may continue to change-up which characters tell their story. When Margaret Peterson-Haddix kept rotating through several characters in her Shadow Children series, I loved the overall diversity. Her world felt that much more authentic because I knew so many people in it so well. I think Yancey may be employing a similar ensemble attitude toward his series.