So, what did I think of The Infinite Sea?
I want to leave it at that, but apparently there’s some stupid word minimum for reviews.
Goddamn it. Anyway, a friend saw I was reading this and asked how I liked it. I said, “I’m about 2/3 of the way through and so far, nothing has happened to justify its existence.” She said, “High praise indeed.” But it’s true. The Infinite Sea fails to do what any competent sequel does, i.e. expand the universe and raise the stakes. Off the top of my head, here are some of the most egregious moments:
1) The title is meaningless. In The 5th Wave, “the infinite sea” was a crowd of child soldiers. In this book, it refers variably to snow, tears, unconsciousness, and blood. In the Harry Potter books, there were not multiple Sorcerer’s Stones scattered about willy-nilly. If you want to ascribe some importance to your book’s title, do not waste it on describing a field of wheat. (By the way, this happens in the prologue.)
2) Important characters like Ben and Sam have been reduced to cardboard cutouts in favor of Cassie, who is now the equivalent of nails on chalkboard. While I appreciated her will to survive and her morbid sense of humor in the first book, now she’s judgmental, self-righteous, catty, and possessive. Evan hasn’t changed much, which is to say he still has his annoying habits of speaking in enigmas and passing out whenever he’s asked a pressing question. Cassie and Evan’s infatuation with each other, which I was already puzzled by, is even more intense now. These two should just cake on some eyeliner and scribble emo song lyrics on each other’s skinny jeans.
3) Ooh, speaking of the lovebirds… I was wrong. There is no love triangle in this book. There is a fucking love hexagon.
4) A minor character dies in a way that just leaves me with this lasting bad taste in my mouth. To be clear, I’m not talking about the usual grief or shock. At least when J. K. Rowling killed off a character, she had some purpose behind it. This book has one of the most unconscionable, horrifying character deaths I have ever seen. The way this character was treated like a plot point throughout the book, and then the way their murder is framed as an act of love… No. Just, no. I can’t.
5) There is no new information as to why the aliens have taken over Earth and why they are using the waves. Their approach certainly raises doubts about their capacity for logic. Why do beings without physical forms need to occupy a planet? Why watch humans evolve over thousands of years when you can stamp them out right at the beginning? These questions are asked but are never answered, other than humans suggesting, well, maybe they just like to fuck with us. And you cannot propel your plot just by withholding information from your reader. It is frustrating beyond belief. I guess there is one revelation that could be considered a plot twist, if you stretch it, but to me it was just one more instance of the aliens’ sadistic mindfuckery.
So, I should end this rage-y review by saying something nice, namely what prevents me from rating this fucker one star. Number one, Poundcake. His backstory and the reason he never talks broke my heart. Number two, Ringer. She was the real badass of The 5th Wave and Rick Yancey should just hand over the rest of the series to her. She actually goes and gets shit done. Good for you book, I don’t entirely regret reading you!