Ever since I finished The 5th Wave, the very thought of this sequel has inspired a reaction something like:
I really LOVED the first book. I read it in the middle of my college exam period and it was the only thing that kept me sane in between studying. The atmosphere was just right, the writing was engaging to me, and I thought each of the characters brought something important to the table. Damn, I even wrote a (not very good) song about it. Such love is hard to follow.
When I opened this book I was both excited and nervous. My expectations were so high that I knew it was dangerous. And, what can I say? I really needn’t have worried. While I don’t view this book as the same alien-wrapped perfection we got in book one, there is something so entirely compelling about Yancey’s writing that makes me think we would be great friends in real life.
This book has more faults, not quite as much eerie atmosphere now the big secrets are out, and more gory action… but, overall, it is a worthy sequel that didn’t fail to punch me in the gut numerous times. If you were a little worried that Yancey wouldn’t be able to pull out another good ‘un after The 5th Wave – don’t be.
“The world will burn for a hundred years. Fire will consume the things we made from wood and plastic and rubber and cloth, then water and wind and time will chew the stone and steel into dust. How baffling it is that we imagined cities incinerated by alien bombs and death rays when all they needed was Mother Nature and time.”
I think the first book is a quieter novel, which had different effects on different readers. I, personally, thought it was one of the book’s strengths. The Infinite Sea is a different kind of book. We finished the first after a huge climax of action and drama; the secrets were out, covers had been blown, we were suddenly dropped into the middle of a war that only escalated with this second book. Here things go from bad to worse; people are lost, distrust lingers between the characters, these kids have had to grow up faster than kids ever should.
To get the negative out of the way…
The biggest – or most annoying – fault of this book is Cassie. I am relieved that Yancey chose to write in a style that moves from perspective to perspective effectively because she might have driven me crazy otherwise. Yancey’s characters are so different and have so many layers that I don’t believe for a second that the author was chanelling his own beliefs through Cassie, but that didn’t stop me from hating the slut-shaming, self-righteous little… I can’t think of anything to call her that isn’t too offensive or British slang.
Her love for Evan is a little more nauseating in this sequel than in the first, but I am glad that this whole situation introduces us to a minor but fascinating character called Grace. This is her from Cassie’s perspective:
“a tall girl with a cascade of honey-blond hair and striking Norwegian-model-type features, piercing blue eyes, full, pouty, collagen-packed lips, and the willowy figure of a runway fashion princess.
“Hello, Evan,” Cosmo Girl said. And of course her voice was deep and slightly scratchy like every seductive villainess ever conceived by Hollywood.”
*eye roll* and then later…
“Why don’t you tell me,” I shot back. “You extraterrestrial slut.”
Allow me to point out that she is a “slut” because she used to be with Evan before Cassie came along. Cassie and Evan are like the Mary Sue and Gary Stu at the centre of this book who angst over each other with emo poetry. If these things bug you too you might be wondering how this book still manages to pull out a load of awesome and get a high rating…
Because – and I should probably stress this – Cassie and Evan are only a very small part of The Infinite Sea. This book is full of different characters and interesting little back stories that it’s easy to just ignore those two. As I said, we get to meet Grace who I found fascinating. We hear the back story between her and Evan so she becomes something more interesting and well-rounded than merely Evan’s ex who is being used as a tool to make Cassie jealous. And we learn Poundcake’s disturbing history and find out just why he never speaks.
But my favourite character? Ringer. She was rapidly becoming my favourite in the first book and this one just cemented my love for her. I love everything about her. From the rage that bubbles beneath the surface:
“My anger is greater than the sum of all lost things.”
To her flirtations with Zombie, her intriguing back story and the way she tells Cassie exactly how it is:
“Beats hanging around here waiting for your alien prince to come.”
Hahaha! You bloody tell her!
In the end, this was a really good sequel with plenty of action, drama, twists and turns. I didn’t reread the first book before I started and that surprisingly didn’t affect my enjoyment, I got sucked back into the world and story instantly. I feel like I’m just completely on the same wavelength with Rick Yancey because his writing always just works for me; he can be writing about action or characters or philosophical musings… and I genuinely enjoy reading it. Can’t wait for the next book.