The Infinite Alien/Metaphor Hybrid

The Infinite Sea

I read The 5th Wave back in January and enjoyed it. However, it’s sequel, The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey, just didn’t seem to make the mark.

This sequel follows both Cassie and Ringer after the total destruction of Camp Haven. Ringer sets out to find a safer hideaway for the group before winter sets in, while Cassie stays behind with the rest of the group (Ben, Sam, Poundcake, Dumbo) in the hopes that Evan Walker, her alien boyfriend, will somehow come back to life after setting off the Camp Haven explosion. The novel is told through multiple points of view, but primarily through Cassie (1st half) and Ringer (2nd half).

This book isn’t bad, it’s just…a bit much at times. Which is saying something, considering that this series is about an alien invasion where the aliens implant themselves into human hosts and also trick children into becoming soldiers that fight against other humans. But in an attempt to answer questions brought up in the first book (i.e. What are they doing with the children under 5? How are the human hosts so enhanced?) Yancey seems to randomly come up with solutions that make almost zero sense (i.e. turning children into bombs set off by CO2; they’re not actually hosting aliens, but an alien-produced program). The action is great and the storylines (especially Ringer’s) are enthralling, but sometimes it’s a little out there.

It’s kind of weird. The things I enjoyed about this book were also the places where I found it the most troubling. With the above, I also had a hard time dealing with the point of view shifts. The writing was excellent and held my interest, but as it switched from character to character, the voice stayed relatively the same. Had this book been written in third person that would have been fine. But it wasn’t written in third—it’s in first person (for the majority of it, anyway). The voice should change with the POV, and it didn’t. Ringer and Cassie both narrated in similar styles with similar syntax and similar metaphors. In fact, they stressed the metaphors so much that each time one popped up, they made sure to comment on it, but never explain it. Infinite seas and rats and nothingness and a whole bunch of other metaphors that I wasn’t expecting in this novel about aliens. Almost like The Fault in our Stars meets Independence Day (although, in all honesty, I’ve never seen Independence Day and I’m going solely off the fact that all I know about it is that it has to do with aliens).

The Infinite Sea is an exciting book, that’s for sure. If you read The 5th Wave, you should definitely read its sequel. Just be ready to not like it as much as the original. It’s hard to make a sequel that’s better than the first, and this pairing proves the point. The Infinite Sea, metaphorically speaking, drowned in its own titular phrase. (That’s probably a metaphor, but I’m not really sure and I’m not going to try to explain it. Try to figure it out on your own?)

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