Book: The Infinite Sea
Author: Rick Yancey
Series: The Fifth Wave Trilogy (2nd book)
Publisher: G. P. Putnam’s Sons; Speak
Year: 2014; 2015
“That’s the cost. That’s the price. Get ready, because when you crush the humanity out of the humans, You’re left with humans with no humanity.
In other words, you get what you pay for, motherfucker.”
Well, Mr. Yancey, your first book, The Fifth Wave, hooked me and I came back for more. I’ve learned so much about your writing style thus far and this book took a little bit of a turn from the first book! First, let’s briefly recap book one:
“Cassie Sullivan, the survivor of an alien invasion, must rescue her young brother from the enemy with help from a boy who may be one of them.” (Synopsis from inside cover of book one: The Fifth Wave)
In book two, The Infinite Sea, we get to see 2,000% more of Ringer– and at first? I wasn’t here for it. She was bitter, cold and lifeless and I didn’t think I was interested to know more about her. Oh, how I was wrong. This book briefly takes us through an attack on the hotel where Ben, Cassie, Sammy and the rest of the gang have been hiding out after the attack on Camp Haven. Ringer leaves on a mission to scope out some nearby Caverns in hopes of finding better shelter to ride out winter. We meet a new face: Grace, someone from Evan’s past. And for the first time, we get to see inside Ringer’s mind, as well as some of our other characters like Dumbo and Poundcake. It’s insanely cool.
Unfortunately, I can’t say much past that without spoiling a whole lot of the book and it’s just too good for me to do that to you. So let’s hop right into my thoughts and critics for this one.
“Rage is not the answer, no, and not hate. Layer by layer, that which separates us falls away, until I reach the center, the nameless region, the defenseless stronghold, an ageless, bottomless ache, the lonely singularity of his soul, unspoiled by time or experience, beyond thought, infinite.”
Holy cow, where do I begin? The second half of this book touches into something absolutely gorgeous that, I have to admit, I didn’t totally understand until I sat and thought about this book for a good while. There’s an intellectual, deep, enchanting style that Yancey takes on– just for the second half. The first part is written much like the first: vivid and narrative and brave. The second is exactly that as well but with so much more figurative writing that borders on hard to understand. The thoughts Ringer has when she has her change (no spoilers, I won’t say what change!) bring about analogy and metaphor that is written as if Yancey dipped a rose in ink and wrote with a sharpened end on the stem. It’s gorgeous. Dangerously so.
I will say that the writing could potentially be a turnoff, just depending on what kind of reader you are and what you like in writing and reading! For me personally, at first, it confused me and I wasn’t sure why the writing changed so suddenly. But I promise if you follow through to the end and just think about it, it makes so much sense. This book made me fall in love with Ringer when I thought for sure she was forever my least favorite character in the series thus far. She’s, frankly, a badass and is so much stronger than 80% of female heroines that I’ve read about/from the point of view of. She’s brave, smart, calculated, fearless and, despite the vibes we got from the first book, absolutely caring.
“‘Because love is irrational,’ I tell Vosch. ‘It doesn’t follow rules. Not even it’s own rules. Love is the one thing in the universe that is unpredictable.”
There’s someone else we get to meet in this book: Razor. I can’t say much about him without revealing to you some major plot spoilers that are just too good to reveal. I’ll just say that if you thought you were in quirky, cute, brave heaven with Ben Parish– you are wrong. Razor is someone who’s going to absolutely tug your heartstrings– in the best and worst way possible.
So let’s talk some more about the writing style. Yancey is making use again of a tool that he’s insanely good at utilizing: repetition for drama and emphasis. He strings certain phrases and words throughout the book in a way that just takes my breath away.
“He stuffs a piece of bubble gum into his mouth. Taps his ear. ‘Popping’s bad.’ Jams the gum wrapper into his pocket. Notices I’m watching and smiles. ‘Never noticed all the crap in the world until there was nobody left to pick it up,’ he explains. “The Earth is my charge.'”
“Silhouetted in the opening, the boy and the child over the boy’s shoulder, and five thousand feet beneath them, the limitless dark. The Earth is my charge.”
“I stretch out my arms. I spread my fingers wide. I lift my face toward the line where the sky meets the Earth.
And coming off of that, you may have noticed some meaning behind that phrase, “The Earth is my charge.” perhaps. When I was reading, I picked up on a vibe from some thoughts and lines here and there that seemed to bring up the concept of the Earth and how we treat it. Yancey hints at maybe saying that humanity has failed to truly care for the Earth how we should be.
“It seems creepily symbolic, fitting somehow, for this to end at a concrete plant. Concrete is the omnipresent human signature, our principal artistic medium on the world’s blank canvas: Wherever we went, the Earth slowly disappeared beneath it.”
WHAT. A. LINE. Holy cow that sentence had me reeling when I read it. Insightful. Thought-provoking. Yancey really blew me away with The Infinite Sea.
A major complaint about the first book was that the means by which this invasion has happened made no sense: why were the aliens approaching everything in such a strange- counter-productive way? Thousands of years watching and they couldn’t think of something better?
HAVE NO FEAR, YANCEY IS HERE (to answer your question.)
This book really hunkers down and talks about this topic a little more. It addresses all of the strange nuances of the Others and questions why they haven’t just killed everyone off since they did it so easily with the first few waves. Vosch goes so far as to talk about the dinosaurs being wiped out by a meteor. If it was that easy, why haven’t the Others done it?
“‘What is this? That’s the central question. The only one that really matters: Why bother with any of it when all you need is a very, very big rock?'”
There’s something almost cinematic about Rick Yancey’s writing style. I can see a movie happening before my very eyes when I read his books and it’s so so cool! The first book was, in fact, made into a movie but it’s not my favorite thing in the world. If they make a second one I hope it really sticks to the book because if it does, they should have no trouble blowing everyone out of the water.
Guys, there’s so much more I could say but it would take days and more thinking to get all my thoughts down in words. This book blew me away in the best way possible. For me, this book was so much better than the first one. Please take the time to read it, it’s so worth it.
About the Author:
“Rick is the author of fifteen novels and a memoir. His books have been published in over thirty languages and have earned numerous accolades and awards from around the world. His young adult novel, The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp, was named a “Best Book of the Year” by Publishers Weekly and was nominated for the Carnegie Medal. In 2010, Rick received a Michael L. Printz Honor for The Monstrumologist. The sequel, The Curse of the Wendigo, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. His latest novel, The 5th Wave, the first in an epic sci-fi trilogy, made its worldwide debut in 2013, and will soon be a major motion picture for GK Films and Sony Pictures.”