Greetings, sports fans. We’ve just finished The Infinite Sea, sequel to The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey. If you haven’t read the first book and think you might, stop reading. I’ve got to give away plot points to talk about the second book.
Did we ditch the losers? Cool.
So in the The 5th Wave, we’re left with our protagonists blowing up the base where the aliens are brainwashing the humans to kill other humans. One of the alien infiltrators falls in love and is the reason the base got blown up. Everyone fleas.
The Infinite Sea is told in the same manner. Multiple points of view without telling you that the point of view changed. Usually, you can figure it out quickly, but it can still be obnoxious. Where it gets weird is that you have some characters who get longer stretches of time and others who get blips. The blips are important, but they’re blips that get marked off as sections. So you’ll start a section, but the section ends up being only one or two chapters in some cases. Pacing gets a bit weird because of it. And if you’re not really enthused by that POV character (or you’re really into one), you might mentally stall and come to a halt where you otherwise would have kept going.
The effect this approach has in The Infinite Sea that it didn’t have in The 5th Wave is the amount of time being covered. Like The Magicians books, the first book covers more time than the sequel. The first book tells a backstory and still takes place of days, weeks, maybe even months (it’s been a while). The second book seems to only cover a few days until the last segment. We rotate through multiple POVs and only cover a few days after the events of the last book. Unlike The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, the abbreviated timeframe isn’t a lot of action; it’s really a lot of talking punctuated with action. As such, you basically reach the same plot points in multiple directions. It’s interesting, but it’s not my favorite. This is the George Lucas prequel strategy: I’m going to tell you every little thing, and you’re gonna like it or else. Sometimes it works, but usually it just means you didn’t have a fully fledged story, and it read that way.
Where the book got interesting is when it deviated, which is the last section where more time is covered and none of the other POV characters can provide any perspective. Instead, we’re stuck following one character’s POV. I actually almost rated the book higher because I was still buzzing off the last section, forgetting that the first 2/3 of the book had dragged.
Which gets us to the spoiler free review: It was ok. You get a meh sentence for a meh book. I’ll probably read the sequel just to see what happens, but I’m also not queuing the finale in front of any of the other books I’m currently reading (4 at last count). If you read The 5th Wave, I’d say give it a try. If you haven’t, and the thought of alien invaders doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, you can skip the series. I may amend that statement when I finish the whole thing, but that’s my view right now.
One thing that needs to be discussed is how I read this book vs. the first one. The first one was a trade paperback. Those are my favorite to read because the fit the most comfortably in my hand, and I can bend back the covers for one-handed casual reading. The second book was on my Kindle, which made for a different experience. I don’t binge-read electronically very often. Usually I only do that with hard copies. Even as I say the second book dragged, I have to acknowledge this could have been influenced by how I was reading and not 100% the contents of the book. That’s just something to keep in mind as you consider this review.
I mentioned the changing characters, and I now I’m going to talk about them, so spoilers.
We have Cassie, Evan, and Ben/Zombie again. This time we also throw in Ringer and Poundcake. Poundcake gives use bits and Ringer gives two large chunks, including the last chunk that really made the book. She asks the good questions and gives us the plot that’s important. Everyone else gives us the angsty teenagers with feelings. Ringer has no feelings. Well, she has feelings, but it’s cooler to think of Ringer without feelings.
She’s a questioning character, and it would have been cool to follow her story for 300-400 pages instead of whatever chunk she got. In this book, she’s the interesting character. In the last book, she was a plot point. This is where I got brainwashed and almost rated the book higher than it really was when you consider the full experience. I’d had the best part as my final taste of the book, and it made me temporarily forget the trudging of the first 2/3 of the book. I’ll be interested to see her arc in the last book.