The short: 3.5 ✦. A somewhat short second novel that takes the problems of the first and tries to fix them with better characters and a more developed plot.
Judging by other people’s reviews, I think I’m practically alone in that I actually thought The Infinite Sea was better than The 5th Wave. They both share similar flaws, to be sure, but I found the second book to be far more enjoyable.
To me, it seemed like Yancey tried to fix all the plot holes and terrible character decisions from the first one. All the things I didn’t like about The 5th Wave were either downplayed or clarified. For example, I was totally not a fan of Cassie or Evan, and certainly not their pairing. In The Infinite Sea, the perspective is surprisingly – and refreshingly – focused on Ringer for the most part, though of course the others get their POVs, too.
I also liked how Ringer and Ben pointed out the illogicality of Evan and Cassie’s “love” (again, not a fan), with Ringer being particularly skeptical of the aliens’ plan to take over Earth, how the 5th wave really doesn’t make sense. We learn a lot more about that, though to be fair, it’s still a little confusing, even by the end. I’m only like, 85% sure of what’s happening, heh.
The book itself is a little short, and considering how little happens in the grand scheme of things, it probably could’ve been released as a couple of novellas or short stories and had the same effect (also, Yancey had far too much fun dropping the title in random places). I’m still not fond of Cassie, especially since her obsession with Evan supersedes everything else, even her own brother – though I’m probably a little biased, since I have a little bro of my own. Similarly, I hated the scenes that had to do with the suffering and manipulation of small children; not because of the writing (though it’s easy emotional manipulation), but it just made my heart hurt and so was difficult to read. And though I grew to like Ringer quite a lot, she still did quite a few stupid things, especially in regards to matters of the heart. (Seriously, I want more YA books with NO romance!!)
The Infinite Sea is very much a typical middle-of-the-trilogy book, meant to tide you over until the grand finale. It’s more about characters and backstory than advancing the plot, but I actually quite like this approach, rather than having everything shoehorned in at the last minute. So now that everything is (practically) clear and all the pieces are set up, I’m looking forward to The Last Star!
Header image: The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey, published September 16th 2014 by Putnam Juvenile.